In 1995 Thang Dinh Tran invited an expert on traditional Vietnamese music to give a talk at the University of Connecticut (UConn). That summer, the distinguished Tran Van Khe, who taught at the Sorbonne University in Paris, visited the UConn campus.
His talk became part of UConn history. It drew an audience of more than 300, but one-third of them were protesters against Vietnam‘s communist government.
“They thought I invited a figure from Vietnam to propagandize communism,” recalls Mr. Tran, who then was a third-year mechanical engineering student and served as chairman of the Vietnamese Student Association.
The situation calmed down only when the school confirmed that the Vietnamese professor lived in Paris, not Vietnam, and that his talk was about music, not communism.