In a meeting to celebrate Dr. Phát’s appointment, Dr. Ole Sander, the IRRI country representative to Vietnam, recalled the significant contributions Dr. Phát provided to IRRI when he was the minister of MARD. These include allowing IRRI to have an active role in the development of the rice restructuring plan of Vietnam, as well as helping strengthen the research and capacity building collaboration between IRRI and the Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences (VAAS).
“Dr. Phát’s appointment to the IRRI Board is an honourable and important position that comes with great responsibilities, especially in this time of many changes that will set IRRI’s direction in the future,” Dr. Sander stressed. “I am confident that Dr. Phát will be a significant contributor to IRRI’s mission.”
As a response, Dr. Phát expressed his utmost gratitude to IRRI for trusting him with this responsibility. In the presence of different key officials of MARD, Dr. Phát emphasized that he will perform his new role “to the best of my ability with the support of the Vietnamese core team”. He pledged to be “a strong advocate of rice research and development, not only for Vietnam, but for the world.”
To officially commemorate the appointment, Dr. Sander ceremonially handed Dr. Phát the new IRRI Strategic Plan, which promotes stronger collaborations with national partners and more product-oriented research.
Dr. Phát is a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam, and is currently the Permanent Vice-Chairman of the Central Economic Commission, a high level socio-economic development advisory agency of the Party. Aside from being the minister of MARD for 12 years, he was also elected as the Chairman of the 33rd session of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) General Assembly from 2006 to 2008.
Dr. Phát received his professional education on agriculture and economic development from the Belarusian Agricultural Academy and Harvard University. His experience and expertise revolves around agriculture sector management, particularly in policy-making and implementation. During his term as Minister of MARD, the agriculture sector of Vietnam achieved significant milestones, such as making the country a leading global rice exporter, the promotion of rural development, and the improvement of livelihoods in rural areas.
The IRRI Board of Trustees is composed of twelve members who are global leaders in their respective disciplines. The Board is responsible for approving the policies, operational plans, programs, and budgets of the institute, and to provide oversight for IRRI Management.