Phát biểu của Đại diện UNESCO Hà Nội tại Hội thảo Quốc tế "Di sản Hồ Chí Minh trong thời đại ngày nay"
I am here today to fulfill the mandate of the resolution adopted by the General Conference of
UNESCO at its twenty-fourth session held in
The General Conference also considered him an outstanding symbol
of national affirmation since he had devoted his life to freeing
Based on these considerations, the General Conference recommended to Member States that they join in the commemoration of the birth of President Ho Chi Minh by organizing various events as a tribute to his memory in order to spread knowledge of the greatness of his ideals and of his work for national liberation.
They also requested the Director General of UNESCO to take
appropriate steps to celebrate his birth and to lend support to commemorative
activities organized on that occasion, in particular those taking place in
UNESCO’s decision was also based on contributions made by Ho Chi Minh in UNESCO’s five sectors. I would like to recall just a few of them:
In the Culture Sector, for example, we
find that Ho Chi Minh, in addition to being a poet, was concerned with
protecting and preserving heritage. Decree No. 65 dated November 1945 and
issued by the then President of the Provisional Government of the Vietnam
Democratic Republic, stipulated that preserving historical vestiges is a very
necessary task for the construction of
Protection and preservation are very important mandates in UNESCO. The Organization seeks to encourage identification, protection, and preservation of natural and tangible and intangible cultural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity, as embodied in the UNESCO Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage and in the UNESCO 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Another of Ho Chi Minh’s examples in keeping with this is the decree recognizing Hung Kings Festival, a patriotic event whose purpose is to bring to mind great deeds of long ago as well as to emphasize the spiritual strength of a unified nation.
Early on, Ho Chi Minh acknowledged the mixed nature of the Vietnamese culture. He said, “The Vietnamese culture is the outcome of the interaction between East and West.” He also believed that culture serves as a guide for nations in the sense that it helps increase public awareness, revive national vitality, and guarantee human rights, while asserting the people’s economic, political, and cultural rights.
He also paid special attention the relationship of culture, economics, and politics and furthermore believed that culture should permeate all of society and touch each member in order to tap their creative potentials.
In the sector of
Communication and Information, we see his role in developing the press. For
example, he created his
own monthly journal, Le Paria, which means "The Outcast" in 1921, and founded
Ho Chi Minh introduced a new style of journalism in the country: the nation and the population as main news topics. Writing for the working class, revolutionary newspapers had to describe real life events of working people and guide their behaviors and actions to help them improve their living conditions.
Some have said that Ho Chi Minh laid the foundation for Vietnamese journalism, a logical assumption since he was a journalist throughout his life. He wrote many types of literature and journalism: eye witness accounts, news stories, editorials, poems, and others. His articles, to the point and written simply, clearly, and concisely, were easily understood by his large readership.
The Vietnam Journalists Association was also established under the guidelines of the Central Party Committee and President Ho Chi Minh; at its inception, it counted on just 200 members, but that group has increased now to over 16,000.
I find interesting the fact that in 1946 Ho Chi Minh, as Interim President of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, signed an edict to create the Ministry of National Economy, which included a statistics division charged with gathering figures on the population, financial situation, economics, politics, and, even more interesting, culture.
Today, we are working with support from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics and the Vietnamese General Statistics Office and Ministry of Culture, Tourism, and Sports to develop a Framework for Vietnamese Cultural Statistics in order to support evidenced-based policy formulation and implementation, especially since culture is becoming a key factor in sustainable development.
Along different lines, I found evidence that throughout his life, Ho Chi Minh paid attention to women's issues. He believed that in order to help women participate in social activities, gender-based discrimination must be eradicated and that the government should introduce policies to encourage women to join men in production, economic management, and cultural activities. He also said in his testament that the party and government should work out practical plans to ensure more women participate in every area of work, including leadership, and that they should strive to advance themselves.
For UNESCO, gender equality is a fundamental human right, commonly shared value, and necessary condition for achieving international development goals, including all Millennium Development Goals. Ultimately, women’s empowerment and gender equality are political issues that require a political response and commitment by world leaders and policy makers.
In relation to Social
Sciences and under UNESCO-promoted concepts of
peaceful cooperation and world mutual understanding,
In relation to the Natural Science Sector, Ho Chi Minh showed early on his concern for issues relating to the environment and to a harmonious relationship between man and nature in the development of a nation. He is said to have advocated for the need to fight against natural disasters and to preserve and to protect natural resources and the ecology, emphasizing the importance of forestation, irrigation, and soil quality improvement.
His focus on tree planting and environmental improvement stretched across borders such that, during overseas visits or when receiving foreign guests in Vietnam, he would hold tree planting ceremonies and called these “friendship trees”, symbols of the relationship between Vietnam and the world and of a positive attitude towards the environment. I can easily understand why we are invited to ceremonies in which we plant trees. Even in his will, Ho Chi Minh recommended visitors plant memorial trees.
He furthermore appealed to everyone to “plant and protect forests, as if you were protecting your own home.” As an example, he created a wonderful natural environment around his house and took care of his trees, pond, and birds, stressing that the latter should be protected as they are the gems of the nature.
In the Education Sector, I find it interesting he believed that eradicating illiteracy meant forging a mass education movement. He pointed out that reading and writing could be done anywhere, using charcoal, the ground, or banana leaves as pens and paper. He wisely indicated that when a person has learned to read, he or she should continue studying because literate people can forget how to read if they have no reading materials. He stated clear that the government and the Ministry of Education have the task of furnishing books and newspapers suited to the each readers’ level.
Since its foundation in 1946, UNESCO has been at the forefront of global literacy efforts with such central programs as Education For All, essential for eradicating poverty, reducing child mortality, curbing population growth, achieving gender equality, and ensuring sustainable development, peace, and democracy. Moreover, it was interesting to read in the 1945 Vietnam Nationalist Official Gazette that the Ministry of Education was constituted almost immediately after Ho Chi Min became President of the Provisional Government of the Vietnam Democratic Republic.
There is somehow a correlation between Ho Chi Minh’s thought that “the ultimate goal of learning is to become a human in the real sense of the word”, and the four pillars of learning that were defined back in the 1990’s as fundamental principles for reshaping education by the International Commission on Education for the Twenty-first Century in their report to UNESCO. The Commission felt that education throughout life is based upon four pillars:
Learning to know which implies providing the cognitive tools required to comprehend the world and its complexities better, and to provide an appropriate and adequate foundation for future learning.
Learning to do which means providing the skills that would enable individuals to participate effectively in the global economy and society.
Learning to be means providing self analytical and social skills to enable individuals to develop to their fullest potential psycho-socially, affectively as well as physically, for an all-round ‘complete person’.
Learning to live together implies exposing individuals to the values implicit within democratic principles, intercultural understanding, and respect and peace at all levels of society and human relationships to enable individuals and societies to live in peace and harmony.
I would like to end my speech with the following thoughts:
For a sailboat that does not have a port to sail to, it does not matter which way the wind blows. It can arrive at any port. Knowing which port you want to go to means having a clear vision of where you want to get to. It means controlling the wind speed and strength to reach that specific port.
Having a national hero such as Ho Chi
Minh, who is considered so by many not only in
I now join the Vietnamese nation in commemorating the anniversary of a great personality who left an imprint on the development of humanity and in the history of this country. I wish you all a prosperous and peaceful future
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