This comment was made by Pham Sanh Chau, Head of the Foreign Ministry’s Department for External Cultural Affairs and UNESCO, at a meeting with the press in Hanoi on Dec. 6.
Playing the role of Chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Vietnam has undertaken to organise a host of activities highlighting the group. These have not only enhanced mutual understanding among ASEAN member countries but also promoted Vietnam ’s image to the world, Chau said.
Noteworthy were the walks for the ASEAN Community of Peace and Prosperity, the publication of a collection of stamps featuring ASEAN, ASEAN culinary week and artistic performances held at gala dinners at the end of the 16 th and 17th ASEAN Summits.
Referring to cultural and artistic activities marking the 1,000 th anniversary of Thang Long-Hanoi, Chau noted the UNESCO General Director’s handover of a certificate recognising Thang Long-Hanoi Citadel as a world cultural heritage on the first day of the ceremony, as a gesture to promote images of culture-rich Hanoi .
He said the organisation of Vietnamese days in a number of countries –including Germany, Russia and China ¬– to mark diplomatic ties with these countries in the event year was significant to the country’s cultural diplomacy.
Chau highlighted efforts made by diplomats to win UNESCO recognition of the Thang Long-Hanoi Citadel as a tangible cultural heritage, Giong festival as an intangible cultural heritage and 82 doctor laureate steles in Van Mieu (Temple of Literature) as historical documentary heritage, making Hanoi the first city in the world to have its three heritages honoured by UNESCO in a year.
In the year, Vietnam also won UNESCO recognition for Dong Van Stone Plateau in the northern province of Ha Giang as a member of the Global Network of National Geoparks (GGN).
The country now boasts a total of 13 world heritages, including two natural heritages, four cultural, five intangible, and two historical documentary heritages. It is also home to eight world bio reserves and one global geopark.
According to Chau, in 2011, the cultural diplomacy work will be further stepped up via the deployment of an action plan to implement the Strategy for Vietnam ’s Cultural Diplomacy toward 2020, the acceleration of establishment of a fund for cultural diplomacy and the organisation of Vietnamese days and weeks overseas.
The Department for External Cultural Affairs and UNESCO will work with relevant agencies to seek UNESCO recognition for the Hat Xoan singing genre (Phu Tho province), Ho dynasty citadel (central Thanh Hoa province) and woodblocks engraved with Buddhist sutras of Vinh Nghiem pagoda in northern Bac Giang province./.