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Nonprofit Student Leader becomes the youngest Fellow of the royal society RSA

Thrive Global interviews Le Dong Hai "DoHa" Nguyen FRSA, Founder and Executive Director of the Global Association of Economics Education. He was recently elected as one of the youngest fellows in the history of the prestigious Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce.

The Founder and Executive Director of the Global Association of Economics Education (GAEE), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and recognized International NGO, Le Dong Hai “DoHa” Nguyen was elected as a Fellow of the prestigious Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA). Just over the age of 17, Nguyen is one of the youngest people outside the UK to be awarded the prestigious fellowship of the RSA.

RSA is a 265-year-old, reputable royal society based in London, United Kingdom. Its current Patron is Queen Elizabeth II, and its President is Royal Princess Anne. Since 1754, RSA oriented itself as an elite enlightenment organization advocating for social progress and human knowledge. Fellows of the RSA have included well-known names, such as Benjamin Franklin, Adam Smith, Marie Curie, Stephen Hawking, Nelson Mandela and Tim Berners-Lee. Being part of the RSA is considered by many as a privileged status, as seen by the post-nominal letters ‘FRSA’ behind its fellows’ names. Now a fellow this prestigious organization, Le Dong Hai “DoHa” Nguyen FRSA will have access to the extensive RSA network across the globe as well as grants for social-changing projects.

“It is a humbling experience to be included here among so many exceptional figures,” stated Nguyen. Also being a member of the Royal Economic Society, an amateur journalist, software developer, scholar and a TEDx Speaker, he has devoted himself to social enterprises and economics science since early ages. Before studying in the US, he was commented to be “a popular face of our province’s volunteering campaign” by the Vice Secretary of his hometown Quang Ngai’s Youth Union, according to the Quang Ngai News. Founded GAEE a few years ago, Nguyen has been the chief architect of this fifteen-hundred-member network that operates across four continents. While being a completely student-led nonprofit, his initiative has garnered support from many institutions and corporations, including the CSO Partner program of the United Nations UNPP, Google for Nonprofit, Microsoft Education, Financial Times SSI program, AIESEC and the International Association of Economics. Last month, the organization held a series of workshops, conferences and training programs across the Southeast Asia region with the participation of thousands of policymakers, educators and scholars. “The fourth industrial revolution will severely impact the [Southeast Asia] region, which heavily depends on cheap labour. Our education system, therefore, needs to adapt to those fundamental shifts,” said Nguyen in a conference in Central Vietnam where more than 600 local educators, government officers and students attended. “We spent our summer vacation working closely with local government, teachers and students, as well as national advocacy groups in the region like the Vietnam Union of Science and Technology,” spoke Nguyen. He hopes that his organization’s month-long program with the theme “Education in the Industry 4.0” would help raise awareness of the new technological waves’ impacts on the region and galvanize reforms in education. This series of conference is a part of a visionary plan called “GAEE’s Silk Road Plan” that aims to connect 5000+ students in 18 countries by 2021, according to Yahoo! Finance.

When being asked what he would do when his nonprofit’s series of programs concluded this week, Nguyen told us that he would spend the rest of his summer vacation with his family before “rushing to the university admission ‘battle’ this Fall.” He is still a rising senior at a boarding school in Boston (USA), where school year will begin in just a few weeks. Clearly, this ‘glowing star of Asia’ is an over-achiever and social-changer, the type of people that are ready for any challenges of the new era. It seems that being the youngest fellow of a prestigious royal society and the leader of a global nonprofit also translates into massive responsibilities besides privileges and reputation.

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