Trust in Intercultural Meetings between Vietnamese and Swedes - Swedish Experiences in The Bai Bang Project
This dissertation focuses on trust in intercultural communication between Swedes and Vietnamese through investigating Swedish experiences in the Bai Bang project - one of the largest aid programs in Swedish assistance history. A historical study including a literature review and individual interviews is employed to analyze how Swedish expatriates experienced trust in meetings with the Vietnamese throughout the project time from 1970 to 1995. The paper has three purposes: (1) To examine problems concerning trust in the project through looking at the chronological events; (2) To examine the major intercultural communication factors that had an influence on these trust problems and the solutions of the Swedes; (3) It also examines how Swedish experiences contributed to the 47 year relationship of the two countries after the project ended in 1995 and Sweden phased out their development assistance to Vietnam in 2013, leading to the two countries starting a commercial partnership in the same year. The aid program was based on the Swedish ethical considerations of the Vietnamese, yet a lack of basic trust in the beginning of the project led the Swedes to many cooperation problems with the Vietnamese. Nevertheless, the tones and limits of Swedish trust changed over the project history thanks to efforts made by both sides, such as the creation of the Bai Bang language and an attitude of "learning by doing," to improve communication. This is therefore one evidence to prove that Bai Bang is not a result of a "leap of faith."