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KOTO Foundation and Social Enterprise is excited to announce that one of our most meaningful events – KOTO GRADUATION CEREMONY 2018 of class 11, 28 & 29 took place on the 11th of June 2018 at the Pan Pacific Hotel, 1 Thanh Nien Road, Ba Dinh District, Ha Noi. Pan Pacific has kindled sponsored us the elegant venue, great food and beverage and also luxurious rooms for our singer Pham Hong Phuoc and speakers.

The KOTO Graduation Ceremony is an annual event highlighting a very important milestone in each trainee’s life when completing an intensive 24-month hospitality-training program at KOTO. It marks the beginning of a new journey with promising opportunities and challenges ahead; however, we hold a firm belief that our trainees are well-prepared to overcome any obstacles and prove to themselves that they can succeed. It was also an occasion when KOTO and all graduates can express their deep gratitude to the sponsors and partners who have accompanied them over the past 19 years. Without their substantial support, there would not be a successful KOTO today.

The theme of the KOTO Graduation Ceremony 2018 conveys a powerful self-affirmation message “This is ME” - “With Confidence, Love, Knowledge, Empowerment and Skills, I am now brave enough to rise on my own”. The ceremony took all of the guests and trainees through an unforgettable night full of emotion, from uplifting speeches by the Australian Ambassador to Vietnam - Mr Craig Chittick, our founder Jimmy Pham, et al., to delightful performances by UNIS students, SINE and well-known artists Le Cat Trong Ly, Pham Hong Phuoc and Trang Trinh. Beyond a night of graduation, it was a recognition and huge encouragement for KOTO graduates to confidently continue their steps in their career path and life.

The KOTO trainees were accompanied on the piano by the famous pianist Trang Trinh.

"It is that time of the year, where we hold our breath for the most anticipated event of the KOTO calendar: The KOTO graduation. This year's theme "This is Me" is about how these individuals went from poverty to security, from low self-esteem to empowerment, from hopelessness to a future of endless possibilities. This fully sponsored graduation ceremony was full of surprises, tears and validations: This is them, our 69 graduates ready to embark on a new journey and a new chapter" - Jimmy Pham, KOTO founder.

Mr.Jimmy Pham gave a speech in the graduation ceremony.

“This graduating class of 69 outstanding young Vietnamese men and women enter a hospitality industry that is booming, and is eager for the world class skills that KOTO – and its Australian training partners – deliver.

The Australian Embassy in Hanoi – and the Consulate-General in Ho Chi Minh City – have been proud KOTO supporters since day one. I recall from my second visit to Vietnam in 2002 that Australian Embassy functions were exclusively catered by KOTO in its early days. And I certainly recall my first KOTO meal back then after a hot morning at the Temple of Literature. We see those graduating here today as Australian alumni, and you join the more than 60,000 Vietnamese who are, in a sense, part of the “Australian family”, congratulations”. – Craig Chittick, Australian Ambassador to Vietnam.

Mr. Craig Chittick gave a speech at the graduation ceremony.

“After 2 years of study at KOTO, I have totally changed. Before I was very timid and felt low self-esteem, but now I am confident, full of life purposes and ambitions. I believe that other friends of mine at KOTO feel the same way. I have been trained to work front of house, I love my work and my customers every day. From gradually increasing experience, I know how to serve them well and when they are happy, I feel happy. Thanks KOTO for giving me the opportunity to develop and become mature.” – Huong Giang, a Class 29 student, one of 69 graduates this year.

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