Thursday, December 8, 2016

Meet the 2017 ILR Vietnam Engaged Learning Team

The Students

Julissa Andrade (2018)
My name is Julissa Andrade and I am a junior studying Industrial and Labor Relations from St. Paul, Minnesota minoring in Law and Society and Inequality. My time abroad in the past compelled me to seek opportunities in which I can explore my interests academically in an international context and particularly in Southeast Asia.

As a prospective advocate invested in international issues, I am interested in exploring labor policy in Vietnam.  I am excited at the prospect of connecting with other students at Tan Duc Thang University and putting some of the theoretical concepts I have learned in my curriculum in practice.

Clara Chung (2019)
Hi I’m Clara Chung and I am a sophomore in the ILR School. I’m looking forward to traveling to Vietnam to explore important labor issues and collaborate with the students of Ton Duc Thang University.

I’m from New Jersey but my passion for examining corporate social responsibility practices in a comparative context has led me to travel to London and Korea. I look forward to assessing the efforts of Vietnamese corporations to implement business initiatives to benefit society. I believe that this opportunity will allow me to build on my academic experiences, which have focused on labor-management relationships, arbitration, and sustainability.

As for my extracurriculars, I am an active member of the Minority ILR Student Organization, which promotes diversity and inclusion for the Cornell community, the Financial Risk Management Club of Cornell, and the Cornell Alpha Fund.

Allison Considine (2017)

Hi, my name is Allison Considine and I am a senior in Industrial and Labor Relations, with minors in Law and Society, French, and Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. I am from Rochester, NY, and spent my junior year studying abroad in Paris, France.

My ILR education has focused on the labor movement and global and domestic organizing. I believe strongly in the importance of a global labor movement to ensure everyone has safe, dignified work and a voice in their environment. I have pursued this passion through coursework and through my involvement in the Cornell Organization for Labor Action, a student-labor solidarity group working on local labor issues as well as international anti-sweatshop campaigns. On campus I am also an Outdoor Odyssey leader, a student worker at Temple of Zeus Cafe, an ILR Peer mentor, a member of the cooperative living system and a student representative to the Licensing Oversight Committee. Most recently, I served as a student delegate to the COP22 in Marrakech Morocco, and am excited to continue my engagement with labor and globalization, particularly given the post-colonial connections between France, Morocco, and Vietnam.

I am thrilled to be able to meet with Vietnamese labor relations students and to connect with them and learn about the challenges and opportunities they see in their country, as well as the chance to visit apparel factories and to meet some of the stakeholders in this complex arena.  I am particularly interested in the role of women in grassroots worker movements. Lastly, I am excited to engage with Vietnamese culture, and of course, savor delicious food with new friends.

Samir Jain (2019)

Hello! My name is Samir Jain and I am a sophomore in the ILR School from Batavia, NY. Within the ILR School, my areas of academic focus are Organizational Behavior and Conflict Resolution. I am very excited to be a part of the Vietnam GSL team this winter!

My interest in Conflict Resolution and passion to learn about other cultures led me to the Vietnam program as it gives me the opportunity to immerse myself in a different culture while looking at conflict and labor issues in a new context. I am really excited for this new, and hands-on experience! Outside of academics, I am an involved member of Cornell Bhangra and Alpha Phi Omega. I would like to thank everyone who made this opportunity possible and I can’t wait to learn more about Vietnam and the conflict resolution systems in place.

Hunter Moskowitz (2018)
Hello, I am Hunter Moskowitz and I am extremely excited about traveling to Vietnam! I am a junior in ILR with a minor in history from Massachusetts.

My excitement for this experience and research project come from a combined interest in international issues and labor. Having taken classes at ILR and from outside work experience, I am passionate about finding examining labor issues, especially from worker’s perspective. In addition, I have always taken in interest in international and human rights issues, especially as an active participate in the Cornell International Affairs Society. I hope through this experience to gain a better understanding of how labor issues vary across countries through the lens of dispute resolution and labor conflict. I also am intrigued to hear from Vietnamese students and learn from their studies and experiences.

Aside from academics, I also play ultimate Frisbee, write for the blogs section of the Daily Sun, and participate in the Friends of Farm worker program.

Friday, April 15, 2016


Looking back to this photo, back before our departure, seems so long ago. We had no idea the amazing journey we would come to experience, the friends we would make, and the relationships we would build in such a far away place. Here, Dean Hallock celebrated our departure with a group photo.

It has been a wild journey and it's almost finished! We're wrapping up our papers and getting ready to graduate!

Sunday, January 24, 2016


Our last days are coming to a close. It has been an amazing two weeks. We met Helena and Joe, Ms. Vinh, and Dean Hoa. We crawled in the Cu Chi Tunnels. We learned in the Vietnamese classroom. We bargained in the markets. 

On Thursday, we had a celebratory breakfast of Dim Sum and ca phe su da. 
After breakfast, we went to the market and tried to buy a durian--a strong smelling fruit. 

Friday, we started the day with a group discussion on collective labor rights. Helena led the discussion and we collaborated on appropriate and beneficial solutions to collective conflicts-like remedies that go beyond the one instance and may address a larger problem. The Vietnamese students had insightful answers and we continue to learn a lot from them. 

After class, John and Chris went to pick up their hand-made suits. They made good friends with Kong, the tailor, even through a translator. 

The final closing ceremony was held in the English zone. Dean Hua and the students presented us with gifts and we sang. We each spoke about some of our most memorable moments and how we look forward to our continuing friendship. It was a lovely ceremony and a genuine closure to our excellent two weeks in Vietnam.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Factory Visit

Ms. Ha Dang, the co-founder of RespectVN and a Cornell alumna, led the group on a factory visit to Far Eastern Apparel VN (FEAVN).  FEAVN is Taiwanese owned and is a major supplier to Nike and Columbia, as well as other major sports apparel companies.  Since 2011, Ha has been working with the FEAVN human resources department in improving the communication between workers and management.  
(Left) Ha Dang and Mary Le, HRM & CS Department Manager at FEAVN.

Talking to a worker in the design-prototype room.  The women (all were female) are the highest skilled seamstresses, thus earn higher wages and work in an air-conditioned room. 
Meeting with the HR and CR Teams
We had an active Q&A, with the TDTU students, Vy, Phat, and Lucie, helping with translation for the ILR team.
FEAVN told us about many CSR practices for pregnant workers, including additional bathroom breaks and special parking. 
Temperature and humidity monitoring to ensure a comfortable work environment. 
The production floor.  The different colored shirts indicate distinct jobs on the floor.

Ha with the FEAVN union representative on the production floor.
We thank Ha and the FEAVN HR team for welcoming us!  We are especially grateful to Mr. Andy Truong, the CR Senior Chief, for arranging all of the details for this fruitful visit.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Amazing Weekend Outside HCMC

This weekend, we took a break from our academic schedule to visit some historic sites around Ho Chi Mihn City.

First, we went to the Cu Chi tunnels. They were started in the forties during the War with the French and expanded during the war with the United States. They are truly astonishing to experience. The tunnels solved such problems as bathing, cooking (which creates smoke), sleeping, and education. They even had a movie theater. 

We got the opportunity to test it out. John volunteered first.

This trip was not possible without our Vietnamese student partners. Left to right is Phat, Andy, Vy, and Nhi.

We are at Vy's house for lunch. 

On Sunday, we went to the Mekong Delta. The whole southern end of Vietnam is delta. We traveled to the south and took a beautiful tour of the river and local villages.

One of our stops was this traditional singing.

One of the most amazing parts was this small boat trip down the smaller delta rivers. Two women were rowing each boat. 

Fish for lunch!

Impressive development alongside some older boats and docks.

Our last stop was one of the few island. This is a coconut press that separates coconut milk and oil from the meat.

Getting off the boat, we got this photo of Liem, our awesome tour guide.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Meeting the TDT Students

This morning, TDTU planned a welcome ceremony for us and we met the students we will be working with for the next two weeks. Here are each of our groups

It was great speaking with Tam and Phat today. Both are 3rd years in labor relations at TDT. It was my first time meeting Phat, but Tam came out to pick us up the other night (absolute trooper, staying up until 3am at the airport with Lowell...) It was interesting to hear about their program: how tightly knit their cohort is; how their curriculum works. Compared to ILR, it's a smaller program. Other than that, we talked hobbies. We all had a good amount in common -- photography, sleeping, and eating. Talk about a small world.

I met my new friends Vy and Nghia. Both were incredibly friendly and wanted to know all about America. They seem to really enjoy their education and were very excited to get a job. One student used to bus two hours just to get to the university. 

Today I met both my TDT students, Hoai Thu and Gia Linh. Both are 2nd year labor relations students and it was so interesting to talk with them about their school work and the way that college is America is both different and similar to college in Vietnam. We also got to talk about their interests and I learned that Thy is an amazing singer - she even sang "Hello Vietnam" for us during the welcome ceremony- and Linh loves Vovinam. I look forward to seeing more of them and learning more about Vietnam from them!

Today I met two of my student peers. Giang is 20 and enjoys swimming. Nhi, also 20, loves anime and manga. After a tour of campus and a great lunch spent getting to know one other, we headed to Ben Thanh Market to brush up our negotiation skills.

I am paired with two students, Lucie and Thanh. Thanh had class today, but Lucie and I met and had great conversations about Vietnam, her view of foreigners and tried to share some experiences. Lucie loves school. She 19 and is interested in English Club, labor relations and trade unions conferences, and meeting up with foreign students to improve her English. I look forward to meeting Thanh and spending more time with them.

Here's our photos.

After meeting our students, we got a tour of campus.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

First Views of Ho Chi Minh City

Most of us arrived last night at 1:00am. Two students from TDTU met us at the airport along with Lowell. It was nice to see some familiar faces in this new place. It is beautiful and the trip to the University and dorms where we will be staying was filled with great views of the quiet city. 

Today we've been catching up on news and settling into our dorms. We met Joe and Helena who are here from the states teaching in the Labor Department. Conversation with them about TPP and the upcoming changes were very informative.

Here is our first daylight view from the top floor of our University. Most things are still closed due to Sunday and the Holiday.

Our funniest moment today was when Lowell was ordering coffee. He did a great job of saying "sau pham cafe su da" to ask for 6 coffees with ice and milk, but when the waitress responded with a long slew of Vietnamese, he had to apologize. Good luck next time.