History & Purpose
The Harvard Vietnamese Association (HVA) was founded in the early 1990's.
Initially, HVA was an outlet for Vietnamese students to socialize with one another and to learn more about
Vietnamese culture. In 1993, the board unanimously voted to rewrite the constitution to allow for more flexibility.
The President at that time, Dat I. Tu '95, believed that the changes would "give the president greater responsibility."
Tu also pointed out that the organization was "moving away from its traditional non political stance" so that
"we can express our interests if we want to." "In the past it was different, we had no voice on campus," Tu said.
Over the years, HVA has continued to promote culture, community, and educational/political awareness at Harvard.
It has become a vibrant voice on campus for Vietnamese and Vietnamese Americans and maintains a strong dedication to
the needs of the greater Boston community.
In 1992, the board promoted Vietnamese culture through food festivals. Today, HVA's annual Southeast Asian
night is a cultural extravaganza which sells out each year. Additionally, the Harvard Vietnamese Dance & Drama
Troupe (HVDT) was created as an opportunity for students to embrace Vietnamese culture through music and dance.
In the past, HVA has also invited numerous artists to speak and perform on campus. In 2005, the board invited the
poet-in-exile, Du Tu Le. In 2004, the board invited composer Pham Duy.
HVA maintains a strong commitment to building a warm community amongst its members.
We are known on campus for our friendliness and are often seen as a "family." To promote cooperation and bonding,
HVA hosts two annual study breaks each year - the Freshman study break and the Senior study break.
These study breaks offer the new class a chance to get to know each other and offers the old class a chance to
reminisce over a final project. Additionally, HVA hosts an annual HVA retreat for all members to bond with one
another. Past retreats have been picnicking at the Arnold Arboretum, apple picking in New Hampshire, and canoeing.
We also have numerous social events throughout the year including movie nights, parties, and meals.
While HVA has no official political affiliation, we host political/educational events to foster a greater
understanding of the issues facing the Vietnamese and Vietnamese American community. In 2003, the board hosted a
film series to discuss the works of Tran Van Thuy, a documentary filmmaker whose films are highly controversial for
their critique of the Vietnamese Communist regime post-1975. The Co-President at that time, Mai Anh Huynh '04,
stated that this "series of screenings is the first of its kind sponsored by the HVA." In 2006, the board
commemorated April 30th for the first time by displaying information posters in Loker Commons and the Science Center
for two consecutive weeks.
In recent years, HVA has modified its mission to incorporate Vietnamese American history and culture in addition
to Vietnamese history and culture. We recognize the importance of understanding emerging narratives about the Vietnamese
American experience and offer a means for the Harvard community to explore this culture. In 2005, the board hosted a film
screening entitled, "Forging New Identities" where we viewed films such as Saigon, USA (2003) and speaker Quang Tran '05
presented her senior thesis about the Vietnamese 1.5 generation.
Mai Chu '15
Kathy Tran '16
Viet Tran '16
Vincent Nguyen '16
Viet Tran '16
Andre Nguyen '16
Quynh-Nhu Le '17
SEA Coalition Representatives
Nhi Ho '16
Dylan Tan '17
Finalized by unanimous vote of the Constitutional Subcommittee on Feb. 28, 1993
ARTICLE I: NAME
The Association shall be known as The Harvard Vietnamese Association,
hereafter referred to as the HVA.
ARTICLE II: PURPOSES
The Association exists to provide an opportunity for the sharing of
Vietnamese history, culture, and experiences.
ARTICLE III: MEMBERSHIP
Membership in this organization shall be open to all students in good
standing currently enrolled at Harvard University, regardless of race,
creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, or physical disability. Members
must register with the Secretary.
ARTICLE IV: OFFICES
Section I: Executive Committee
All decisions concerning HVA shall be executed by the Executive
Committee, which shall be composed of a President, a Vice President,
a Secretary, and a Treasurer.
a. The President shall make sure that everything is in accord with the
b. The President shall be responsible for suggesting an activity
schedule for the Executive Committee, and shall lead the Executive
Committee in conducting and executing activities of the Association.
c. The President shall have the right to break ties in administrative
d. The President shall be in charge of public relations.
a. The Vice-President shall assist the President and assume her or his
duties when the President is unable to serve.
a. The Secretary shall keep a record of activities of the Association,
and communicate them to all members.
a. The Treasurer shall be responsible for the monetary affairs of the
Section II: Office Terms
Terms of offices shall be one year, effective the first day of the
Section III: Executive Restrictions
No Harvard Vietnamese Association officer shall be involved in
activities which compromise the purpose of HVA.
ARTICLE V: GENERAL RESTRICTIONS
In order to maintain the integrity of the University, the Harvard
Vietnamese Association must maintain local autonomy. HVA will not
endorse or advocate any political cause or objective not related to the
Association's purposes. HVA will always remain independent,
distinct, and separate from any other organization. All policy decisions
should be made without obligation to any parent organization.
Activities co-sponsored with non-Harvard organizations will require
two-thirds vote to approve participation in specific activity.
ARTICLE VI: MEETINGS
Section I: General Meetings
A general meeting open to all members shall be held at least once each
academic term or when called for by a simple majority of
active members. Fall term general meeting shall be held the week of
Registration day. A report of the Executive committee shall be
delivered; proposals of future activities shall be presented and voted
upon by all active members present.
Section II: Executive Committee Meetings
Meetings of the Executive Committee shall be called by the President at
least once each academic term, whenever necessary.
ARTICLE VII: VOTING PROCEDURES
Section I: General Voting
A voting member shall be any member who is already registered with the HVA Secretary at any publicized HVA meeting where an
issue is being voted on. A simple majority will constitute more than
half of these active members.
Section II: Executive Committee Elections
The Executive Committee shall be elected in the Election which follows
the spring term general meeting, under secret ballot by a
simple majority of members present at the meeting.
Section III: Executive Recalls
An executive recall may be initiated by any three active members, by
submitting the proposal in writing to the HVA Secretary.
Members shall be informed of such recall at the next HVA general
meeting, and a debate and vote on the recall shall take place at a
subsequent and publicized general meeting. A recall requires a
two-thirds vote of the meeting's active members to pass.
ARTICLE VIII: AMENDMENTS
Any three active members may propose an amendment. Members shall be
informed of the proposal at the next HVA general meeting, and
a debate and vote on the proposed amendment shall take place at a
subsequent and publicized general meeting. A constitutional
amendment requires two-thirds vote of the meeting's active members to pass.
The Harvard Vietnamese Dance & Drama Troupe (HVDT) puts on dance and theatre performances throughout the year
in order to promote Vietnamese and Vietnamese American culture.
We perform annually at the Bayside Expo Center Tet Festival, Harvard's Cultural Rhythms show, Southeast Asian Night
and Arts First. In 2005, HVDT was awarded "Best Dance Troupe of the Year" by the Intercollegiate Vietnamese Student Association (IVSA).
You do not need any experience. This is a great way to learn about Vietnamese culture through dance and music.
It is also a great opportunity to meet new people.
Please contact the board if you are interested in joining: Email us
To request our appearance at your event, please email: Minh Tran
For information about upcoming performances, please join our official mailing list: Subscribe