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Institute of politics: 30 years of construction and development

Assoc.Prof., Dr. LUU VAN QUANG
Institute of Politics,
Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics

(PTOJ) - Over the past 30 years, the Institute of Politics, under the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics, has undergone a process of construction and development in all aspects. Basically, the Institute has effectively performed its assigned functions and tasks during each development period. The article reviews the development process of the Institute and its outstanding achievements in recent years in areas such as cadre training and fostering, scientific research, international cooperation, and other activities.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the model of Real Socialism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe collapsed after an acute and prolonged crisis. After this event, the study of political research was initiated for the remaining socialist countries in the world, including Vietnam. Aware of the critical role of political knowledge in political leadership and governance, the Institute of Political Science was officially established in September 1992 under the Decision of the Director of Nguyen Ai Quoc Academy (now the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics) on the basis of merging the Department of Politics (founded in September 1991) and the Institute of Scientific Research (founded in September 1987). In August 2006, the Institute of Political Science was renamed the Institute of Politics to match the name of the major.

Following the establishment of the Institute of Political Science, regional academies founded their own faculties of politics one after the other, namely the Faculty of Politics, under the Academy of Politics Region I (Hanoi), was established in June 1993; the Faculty of Politics, under the Academy of Politics Region II (Ho Chi Minh City), was founded in November 1993; the Faculty of Politics, under the Academy of Politics Region III (Da Nang), was established in January 1994; the Faculty of Politics, under the Academy of Journalism and Communication, was founded in January 1994; and the Faculty of Politics, under the Academy of Politics Region IV (Can Tho), was established in April 2009.

The advent of the Institute of Politics in that context not only reflected the need to renovate the content of the Academy’s training curriculum but also marked the beginning of new thinking towards the theoretical development of this highly sensitive field - analyzing and studying Vietnamese political life. It is the systematic, objective, and scientific view and analysis of political life in the spirit of looking directly at the truth, properly assessing the objective truth, determining the scientific and practical basis for consolidating the theoretical foundations of Marxism - Leninism and Ho Chi Minh Thought, and creatively applying them to Vietnam’s renovation practice.

The Institute of Politics is primarily responsible for cadre training and development, scientific research, and providing policy advice. Regarding cadre training and development, the Institute of Politics participates in the training and fostering of cadres of all classes in the program of the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics; postgraduate training in politics; and the development of knowledge and methods of research and teaching in politics.

Regarding scientific research, the Institute studies political issues, which helps improve the quality of planning, perfecting the Party guidelines and policies as well as the State laws and policies, combating erroneous and hostile views, positively contributing to the dissemination of the Party’s ideology. It coordinates with central and local agencies and organizations to study and summarize the theoretical and practical issues in politics; to conduct research to develop curriculum and its contents; to organize the compilation and revision of syllabuses, study materials, and reference materials on politics; to advise the Director of the Academy on the programs and content of the training, fostering, and scientific research on politics; to guide the content and methods of teaching, learning, and research on politics for the teaching staff of the Academy, the political schools of the provinces and the cities directly under central authority, and the training schools for ministry, government branches, and central union cadres; and also cooperates with organizations in Vietnam and abroad in political research and training in accordance with the law and the Academy’s rules.

Throughout its 30 years of construction and development, the Institute of Politics has achieved the following outstanding achievements:

1. Cadre training and fostering

Since its inception 30 years ago, the Institute of Politics has dedicated itself to studying and developing the fundamentals of the major in the field of politics, as well as the contents of new modules, gradually approaching and adapting them to the development of world politics. Currently, the Institute is involved in teaching and training in all classes in the Academy, such as classes of advanced political theory, classes for bachelor’s degrees in politics, classes for postgraduate and doctoral students, classes of training and development, etc., and has received numerous examples of positive feedback from its students.

Over the last ten years, from 2012 to the present, the Institute has been involved in teaching classes in advanced political theory, political university classes, and the Academy classes for leaders, middle managers, and senior managers from the central government, as well as from the localities. The Institute has also participated in teaching refresher classes and retraining classes organized by the Academy and in implementing the training program of the syllabus of advanced political theory for lecturers at the Academy. Some Institute cadres have directly taken part in compiling lectures or directly teaching the 12th Central Preparatory Training Classes, as well as the Preparatory Training Classes in localities, ministries, and in other branches.

In terms of postgraduate training, in the past 10 years alone, the Institute has trained 495 postgraduates and 35 doctoral students who have successfully defended their dissertations. In addition, research and teaching cadres at the Institute have taken part in postgraduate training for other disciplines and majors in the Academy (like in the field of Party and State Government Construction, Studying of Ho Chi Minh Thought, Sociology, etc.) and training institutions outside the Academy such as the Vietnam National University in Hanoi, the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences, and so on.

According to statistics, there are many masters and doctors of politics who are holding management and leadership positions at both the central and local levels in many different industries and fields in Vietnam. More importantly, this workforce has contributed significantly to the renovation of the political system and the improvement of policies.

In terms of cadre training and development, the Institute of Politics has gained numerous achievements in training students and foreign postgraduates. In recent years, the Institute has attracted many postgraduates who are also cadres of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party (LPRP). In the last 10 years, from 2012 until now, the Institute has trained 116 postgraduates (accounting for 23% of the total number of postgraduates at the Institute) and 5 doctoral students (of which 2 have successfully defended their dissertations) for Laos. In addition, the Institute also participated in teaching the courses for training and fostering LPRP cadres, organized by the Academy.

This international task requires the Institute staff and lecturers to work hard and conscientiously in the teaching and learning process. Basically, the trainees’ feedback on the quality of their training is quite positive. After getting master’s and doctoral degrees in political science from the Institute and returning to Laos for work, the LPRP cadres have effectively utilized and promoted their competence qualifications, making themselves useful to their country. Many of them have held important positions in Laos’ political system. Not only training cadres for Laos, but the Institute has also had one doctoral student from Australia and two postgraduates from the US work there as interns.

To better perform the mission of teaching, training, and fostering of cadres, the Institute staff have actively participated in studying and compiling the syllabuses, regularly updating knowledge, and adjusting the curriculum frameworks of all kinds of classes according to the spirit stated in the 13th National Party Congress, as well as updating the reality of political movements and transformations of our country and the world.

Through the teaching and training program, the Institute has contributed significantly to the provision of knowledge on politics and modern political leadership, equipping the leadership and management staff with analytical skills of political life and shaping their thought, vision, and leadership styles.

The Institute always maintains the orientation of harmoniously combining theoretical issues with practical political issues in subject development, meeting the requirements of building the basic research abilities of its staff and contributing to solving practical problems. Some content, such as the handling of political situations, political system reformation, power control, and so on, have made politics more appealing because they address urgent practical issues of political life and issues directly related to cadre contingent leadership and management.

In addition, through their teaching work, the Institute staff and lecturers have participated in protecting the Party’s ideological foundation and combating erroneous, hostile viewpoints in the new situation. This content is thoroughly disseminated in each lecture, especially in the advanced political theory training curriculum.

2. Scientific research

In line with the teaching and training missions, scientific research is considered a key mission of the Institute. Over the years, the work of scientific research conducted by the Institute has focused on some fundamental political subjects such as those listed below:

1) Political ideologies of Marxism - Leninism and President Ho Chi Minh: From its research perspective, the Institute has studied the development logic of the political ideology of Marxism - Leninism, its main contents and the core values of Marxist political theory, and the values of Ho Chi Minh’s political ideology.

2) Political ideologies and political theories: Regarding this content, the Institute has expanded the scope of studying political theories and the histories of domestic and international political ideologies. Along with increasingly clarifying Vietnamese political heritage, the Institute also gradually introduced modern political theory knowledge into the research and teaching programs. Among others, the basic theories of politics, namely power and power control, political systems and institutions, democracy and democratization, socialist movements around the world, development models, and so on, have been given special attention.

3) Comparative Politics: This subject is built with the main approach of studying the organizational and operational experience of political systems, as well as the realities of political lives in countries around the world. This study makes an important contribution to the process of perfecting our political institutions, especially in the process of expanding democracy and building a Socialist Law-ruled State.

4) Political culture and politicians: The Institute has also pioneered studies in political culture and lecture development for postgraduate programs, in part for the advanced political theory training program and undergraduate political programs at the Academy. In addition to developing studies on Vietnamese political culture, the Institute has also conducted research and introduced important ideas and theories on political cultures around the world.

5) Theory in Behaviour Analysis: This theory is widely used in analyzing all spheres of social life based on the actual evidence and actions of the subjects involved. This field of study provides methods and tools to analyze and explain the choices and activities of subjects in their political lives, especially during the electoral process as well as the process of making decisions and policies.

6) Policy research and Leadership studies: The Institute has established the initial theoretical foundations for the development of the subject on public policy, and its studies have absorbed the global achievements of public policy science, with particular emphasis on the development of knowledge and evidence-based policy analysis tools.

Regarding leadership science, it is the content derived from the science of management, leadership psychology and politician studies. The Institute’s research findings on Leadership studies and public policy science were one of the important bases for the establishment of the Center for Leadership Studies and Policy Studies (now the Institute for Leadership Studies and Policy Studies).

7) Theories of social conflict management and the handling of socio-political hot spots: The development of this subject comes from the reality of political life in our country, as well as from the position, role, and functions of the Academy. The Institute’s cadres were the pioneers in conducting surveys, researching socio-political hot spots in our country, and establishing initial theoretical foundations for practical lectures at the Academy. Since then, the Institute has continued to expand the research scope and developed a general theoretical frameworks on Conflict and Social Conflict Management. These studies are highly applicable to solving current social issues.

8) Marxism in the world: In the past few years, the Institute has been studying Marxism, with a focus on its development around the world, especially from the early years of the 20th century to the present. These study’s findings are primarily used for the postgraduate training curriculum of the Institute.

9) Research Methods in Politics: As for this content, the Institute initially only focused on methodological issues and methods in research. In recent years, the Institute’s cadres have deepened their research on methods to conduct realistic studies, with an emphasis on both qualitative and quantitative research methods. These studies’ findings have been introduced in the postgraduate curricula and some refresher courses on scientific research methods at the Academy.

10) Vietnamese politics: Vietnamese politics is a topic of priority for the Institute’s research. The research focuses on the practical issues of Vietnamese political life, such as political system renovation, the construction of a socialist law-ruled state, power control, and the work of anti-corruption. Over the last few years, topics of interest to the Institute have been socialist democracy, democracy with one-party dominant regimes, development models, the protection and development of the Party’s ideological foundation, social conflicts, and handling socio-political hot spots in the new context.

The Institute of Politics has always determined its studies based on the theoretical foundations of Marxism - Leninism, Ho Chi Minh Thought, and Vietnamese political realities. Its expansion of the study of political theories and realities of political lives around the world aims at the selective acquisition of the universal political values of humanity. This method of approach contributes to creating reliable bases for policy recommendations and proposals in accordance with the actual conditions of our country.

Over the past 30 years, the Institute has hosted and participated in hundreds of scientific research projects at all levels. Since 2015 alone, the Institute has presided over two state-level scientific projects, ten ministerial-level scientific projects, and 40 grassroots-level scientific projects, as well as hosted many institute-level scientific workshops and seminars. Some of the Institute’s research projects have received high praise and have made significant contributions to the development of the major, such as the following state-level scientific projects: Organizational and operational modes of the political systems of some countries in the world; The ruling Communist Party - the contents and methods of its governance; The management of social conflicts and socio-political hot spots in ethnic regions of our country; and so on.

The Institute’s research has contributed to summarizing the practice, developing the theory, providing the scientific arguments for the formulation of the Party guidelines and policies, the State laws and policies, and solving practical issues currently posed to our country.

Regarding international cooperation in scientific research, the Institute has also taken the lead in the specialization of some research and training programs with foreign partners. In the period from 1998 to 2001, the Institute, in collaboration with the Australian National University, launched a research program on public policy, paving the way for the establishment of the foundational contents of this subject. Subsequently, the Institute led research projects with the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung institution (FES) in Germany, collaborated with the Institute for Policy Research (Netherlands) on Public Policy research, coordinated with the University of Portland (USA) and Japanese partners on Leadership Studies research, and cooperated with the IDEA organization on Local Democracy research, and so on.

Over the past 10 years, Institute staff have also published dozens of monographs, reference books, textbooks, and hundreds of scientific articles in specialized journals, both at home and abroad. The Institute has also compiled and published two books, “The Common Sense of Politics,” with the goal of educating and raising the awareness of cadres, Party members, and the general public about organizations in the Vietnamese political system and the electoral system in our country today.

The Institute’s cadres actively participated in many forums to protect the Party’s ideological foundation and refute false, hostile views. Some Institute scientists have become familiar faces in interviews speaking about topics that are important nationally in the mass media. In particular, the Institute’s cadres and lecturers actively participated in the contest to write a treatise on protecting the Party’s ideological foundation and combating, refuting false and hostile views.

3. The work of developing cadre contingents and emulation movements

In the process of its construction and development, the Institute of Politics has undergone many organizational and personnel changes, as well as the adjustment of its functions and missions in each period. In October 2008, the Institute of Political Science received two departments, namely the Management Science department (from the Institute for Economic Management) and the Psychology department (from the Institute of Sociology). In the same year, it also received some additional cadres from the Institute of Marxist-Leninist Classics and was assigned the additional task of building and developing the content of the curriculum for the subject of Leadership and Management Science. Since March 2009, the Institute has been assigned another important task: researching and teaching the subject of Leadership and Management Science according to the strategic development orientation of the Academy.

Since November 2011, the Academy has established the Center for Leadership Studies and Policy Research, inheriting, and continuing to develop research content, as well as the existing Institute staff.

Since April 2016, the Academy has moved the Center for Strategic Security Studies from the Institute of Leadership Studies and Public Policy to the Institute of Politics, with the majority of the Center’s staff relocating to the Institute.

Over the past 30 years of great organizational and personnel changes, the Institute of Politics has so far developed a professional team of qualified researchers and lecturers. Its staff has not only met the requirements to perform the Institute’s professional tasks but has also provided key cadres for the Academy and agencies in the central and local political systems. The Institute has also attracted many scientific cadres from other agencies to occupy important professional positions. Currently, the Institute has 24 cadres, of which nearly 90% are researchers and lecturers, and 75% are doctors or higher.

With professional competence and enthusiasm, the Institute’s staff are considered to have fairly equal qualifications and are capable of taking charge and successfully fulfilling the assigned tasks. Some of the staff are senior experts in their field of expertise, highly appreciated both inside and outside the Academy.

In 2012, the Institute of Politics was awarded the Third-class Labor Medal by the Party and State for its achievements in 30 years of its construction and development. Many Institute cadres and lecturers have been awarded with Orders, Medals, Certificates of Merit, and Letters of Commendation from the Prime Minister and the Academy Director for their outstanding achievements in work.

In recent years, the Institute of Politics has always been recognized for the Good and Excellent completion of its tasks and for its enthusiastic participation in emulation movements launched by the Academy and its superiors. The Institute’s cadres have always been exemplary in implementing the Party guidelines and policies, the State laws and policies, and the Academy rules and regulations; in practicing “Studying and following Ho Chi Minh’s thought, morals, and lifestyle”; in emulating the implementation of the Party School culture, responding to the emulation movement “Cadres, civil servants, officials and employees of the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics emulate implementing the office culture,” and building the image of “Exemplary Party School cadres,” etc.

The Institute’s emulation movements are always conducted with a practical motto, associated with its functions and tasks. These movements also contribute to promoting, encouraging, and raising the sense of responsibility of cadres and lecturers in the implementation of the Institute’s political tasks.

The achievements of the Institute of Politics in the past 30 years are remarkable, contributing to establishing the Institute’s position in the national research and teaching system of political theory. The above accomplishments were made possible by the care, leadership, and direction of the Board of Directors and the Party Committee; the efforts and determination of the Institute staff; the attention and support of organizations in the Academy; the active contributions and cooperation of scientists, collaborators, scientific agencies and organizations of universities over many years.

In the coming time, the Institute of Politics, building on its achievements, will continue to develop itself into an organization that is strong in all aspects and prestigious in its specialized field in Vietnam. Specifically, the Institute will continue to promote the work of cadre training and development, especially among young cadres, to strengthen professional capacity and teaching methods and improve the quality of cadre training and development. In terms of research, the Institute will develop new directions of research in line with global politics studies, promote applied political research and link it to the realities of political life in the country, and contribute to the process of reforming the political system, building the law-governed socialist state, and improving socialist democracy in our country today.

The Institute will also prioritize the development of a contingent of successive cadres with sufficient qualities and capabilities to successfully fulfill the tasks assigned by the Academy.


Received: 4-10-2022; Revised: 9-10-2022; Approved for publication: 26-10-2022.


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