Vinh Nguyen holding a framed picture of his mother

Nguyen holding a picture of his mother in a Thai refugee camp that he found while researching Southeast Asian refugees  

A Waterloo literature professor has been awarded a prestigious Polanyi Prize this year for his research that challenges traditional narratives of the refugee experience. Vinh Nguyen, an assistant professor of Diaspora Literatures and East Asian Studies at Renison University College, examines how refugee stories shape public perception and policy. Nguyen, who fled Vietnam as a child refugee, researches how former refugees stand in solidarity with other refugees.

The John Charles Polanyi Prizes were established in 1987 to honour the achievement of John Charles Polanyi, a 1986 Nobel Prize Laureate in chemistry. More information about Nguyen’s story can be found in the Waterloo Magazine feature story.