The Vietnamese Intellectual Society (VIS) in the UK and Ireland held a ceremony on May 6 to announce its honorary chairman, Professor Sir Jonathan Van-Tam.
He has step down as former Deputy Chief Medical Official (DCMO) for England at the end of March to take up new role as Pro-Vice Chancellor for the faculty of medicine and health sciences at University of Nottingham.
VIS Chairman Nguyen Xuan Huan spoke highly of Jonathan Van-Tam’s role as honorary chairman. He affirmed that Professor Jonathan Van-Tam’s support will help VIS fulfil its mission of promoting connection and cooperation among members, as well as strengthening cooperation between Vietnam and the UK in important fields such as science, technology and economy.
At the ceremony, Vietnamese Ambassador to the UK Nguyen Hoang Long expressed his belief that Jonathan Van-Tam will make effective contributions to the association’s activities.
The Ambassador affirmed that education is an important pillar in the bilateral cooperation as the UK is Vietnam’s leading partner in the field of education, especially higher education.
He pointed out that with a network of members who are professors, PhD students and intellectuals in the UK, VIS plays an important role as a bridge to promote educational cooperation between the two countries.
The Ambassador said that the Vietnamese Embassy in the UK will do its best to support VIS’s activities to develop the Vietnamese intellectual community in the UK and the educational cooperation relationship between the two countries.
For his part, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam expressed his honour to assume the position of honorary chairman of VIS. As a British of Vietnamese origin who has worked for the British Government for a long time, he hopes to contribute to VIS’s activities as well as to promote collaboration between the two countries, which he believes has great potential.
At the event, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam shared information and experience in COVID-19 pandemic prevention of the UK, especially the role of science and vaccines in pandemic prevention and preparedness for future pandemics. He also talked about his reflections on carrying out his responsibilities as a government health official.
Jonathan Van-Tam, an expert on influenza, has been Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England from October 2017 to March 2022. He has played important roles in a number of different incidents, including domestic outbreaks of MERS and monkeypox, 2017 to 2018 influenza season and most notably the response to the novichok attacks and the COVID-19 pandemic where he worked on the Vaccine Taskforce and supported the development of treatments.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, he has become famous for his press conferences on the situation that attracted millions of viewers. The Sunday Times called him an “unexpected hero in the pandemic”.
Professor Jonathan Van-Tam has received a Knighthood from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for his contributions to the fight against COVID-19.
At the Vietnam National Day celebration in London in September last year, the Vietnamese Embassy in the UK honoured the professor for his provision of policy advice for Vietnam’s COVID-19 prevention and control.