Nguyen Ngoc Bich

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BICH Nguyen Ngoc Bich The tireless anti-communist fighter, human rights activist, accomplished scholar, proud teacher and publisher of Vietnamese literature, culture, and history, and humble and loyal servant of both the South Vietnamese and US governments, died of a massive heart attack on a plane en route to the Philippines on March 3, 2016. He was to speak on behalf of Vietnam''s claim to the disputed Spratley and Paracel Islands in the South China Sea. Nguyen Ngoc Bich was born in Hanoi, Vietnam July 26, 1937 and subsequently migrated to Saigon with his family in 1947 to escape communism. After graduating from high school in 1956, he attended Princeton University on a Fulbright Scholarship (B.A. Political Science, 1958). Subsequent graduate work included Asian Studies at Columbia University (1959 to 1965), Japanese Literature at Kyoto University (1962 to 1963), and Bilingual Education and Theoretical Linguistics at University (1980 to 1985). Prior to the fall of Saigon, he worked in the South Vietnamese Embassy in Washington, D.C. followed by successive posts in the South Vietnamese government in Saigon (Director of the Foreign Press, Director General of the Press Agency, and Special Envoy of President Nguyen Van Thieu to lobby the US Congress for resumption of war aid in the waning days of South Vietnam. After the fall of Saigon, he settled in Springfield, Virginia where he was instrumental in the development of the Vietnamese community. He held several teaching positions in adult, elementary, and high school education in Arlington. Following these, he taught Vietnamese Culture and Civilization at Trinity College and George Mason University. He then had a stint as a teacher/trainer in Bilingual and Multicultural Education at Georgetown University. Mr. Bich served as the Deputy, then Acting Director of the Office of Bilingual Education and Minority Languages from 1991 to 1993 in the President George H.W. Bush administration. After joining a lobbying group to get Congress to begin Radio Free Asia broadcasts to Vietnam, he was selected and served as the first director of the Vietnamese Service at Radio Free Asia in Washington, D.C. beginning in 1997. For years he has run a publishing company and is the author of numerous acclaimed books in both Vietnamese and English about his Vietnamese heritage and lifelong fight against communism in Vietnam. Following retirement from public service in 2007, Nguyen Ngoc Bich devoted the remainder of his life to the Vietnamese people and issues with even more passion and energy. He helped unionize the rights of Vietnamese workers in Vietnam, worked in support of human rights, continued his writing and publishing, advised and aided young Vietnamese both here and abroad, and crisscrossed this country and the world attending numerous meetings and events in support of his lifelong dream of freedom and basic human rights for the Vietnamese people. At home, he could always be found in front of his computer writing, answering emails, and even teaching young Vietnamese English on Skype. He worked day and night in his efforts. He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Dr. Doa Thi Hoi; siblings Nguyen Ngoc Linh (Falls Church), Nguyen Ngoc Phach (Melbourne, Australia), Nguyen Ngoc Nha (San Jose, California), Nguyen Thi Ngan Schwankhaus (Maumelle, Arkansas), and Nguyen Ngoc Ho (Springfield), their spouses, as well as numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, etc. He will be missed for his generous heart, grand vision and steadfast devotion for a free Vietnam, his dedication to human rights, his willingness to work for any good cause, and his big smile. Funeral services were previously held at the National Funeral Home on March 12. Contributions in his name can be made to a .

Published in The Washington Post on Mar. 23, 2016
Arrangements under the direction of:
National Funeral Home
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