Armenian Ambassador Vahram Kazhoyan: Tourism and Education Cooperation Being Most Favorable

On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the National Day of the Republic of Armenia (September 21, 1991-September 21, 2021), in an interview with Vietnam Times, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Armenia to Vietnam Vahram Kazhoyan said it was time for two countries to cooperate in tourism and education.
September 21, 2021 | 09:36

The Republic of Armenia after the proclamation of its independence on September 21, 1991, pursued a peaceful, bilateral and multilateral policy and established diplomatic relations with almost countries in the world, including the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, with which diplomatic relations were established in Moscow on July 14, 1992. Armenia then became a member of the United Nations on March 2,1992. After that Armenia also became member of many other international and regional organizations and specialized agencies, including the OSCE, CIS, CSTO, EAEU, etc.

Armenia-Artsakh-Diaspora cooperation had been established since the early 1990s and in that framework, the role and support of the Diaspora Armenian individual benefactor and charitable organizations, was invaluable in the opening process of Diplomatic and Consular Missions of the Republic of Armenia in a number of countries. This support was even more valuable in the framework of international recognition of the Armenian Genocide and the Republic of Artsakh independence.

-Could Ambassador tell about cooperation achievements that Vietnam & Armenia have achieved in the past time, please?

A number of agreements have been signed between the Governments and different ministries of our two countries since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Armenia and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam on July 14, 1992. Armenian-Vietnamese political relations are currently at a brilliant level. The opening of the Embassy of Armenia in Vietnam in 2013 gave a new impetus to the relations between the two countries.

Culture, tourism, IC technologies, education and trade-economic relations are of mutual interest for both countries, and development of cooperation in those spheres will largely contribute to the further strengthening of the already existing friendly relations between Armenia and Vietnam.

There are interesting facts about Armenian merchant ships that used to sail towards South-East Asia since the 12th century. A strong Armenian presence was established in Tonkin in the 13-17th centuries, where many Armenian merchant vessels started docking and as a result a number of Armenian trading houses were established in the North-Eastern part of Vietnam. As a result, Armenians had a high esteem among the local Vietnamese people. The documents of that period tell us that the Armenian maritime flag was used even by the European nations in order to avoid difficulties when entering the harbour cities, which had a dominant Armenian presence.

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Armenia to Vietnam Vahram Kazhoyan.
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Armenia to Vietnam Vahram Kazhoyan.

Next important phase of the Armenian-Vietnamese friendship is well demonstrated through the support of Armenia to the people of Vietnam in their struggle against colonial rule and during the American war. A number of Armenians, among other peoples of the Soviet Union brought their assistance to the people of Vietnam. It later continued in the form of providing higher and technical education to almost 2000 Vietnamese students who studied at the Universities and Colleges in Armenia in the period of the beginning of 1950s until early 1990s. Many of those students have kept fond memories of the times of their studies in Armenia. Nowadays, they comprise the core of the Vietnamese-Armenian Friendship Association (VAFA), headed by Mr. Nguyễn Văn Thuận, with whom our Embassy has established close relations, since the creation of VAFA.

One of the important dates in the Armenian-Vietnamese relations is certainly the visit of President Ho Chi Minh to Armenia, on July 21-23, 1959. During the visit President Ho Chi Minh had official meeting with the leadership of Armenia in Yerevan, including with Suren Tovmassian, the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Armenia, who later became the ambassador of the Soviet Union to Vietnam. President Ho Chi Minh visited also many places in Armenia and wherever he went, the people of Armenia wholeheartedly welcomed him and enjoyed meeting with him.

-How’s Ambassador’s impression, assessment of Vietnam? Specific an activity, a field, event…?

First time I visited Vietnam in December 1992, as a member of the first Armenian Delegation to Vietnam, headed by the Vice-President of Armenia, on an official visit to Vietnam. Little did I know back in 1992 that one day I will have the honour and the privilege to Represent Armenia in Vietnam as my country's Ambassador.

I must confess that when I arrived with my family in Hanoi Noi Bai airport in July 2019, I immediately realized the immense changes and the development that has happened in Vietnam since my first visit in 1992. Even during the two years of my stay in Vietnam, I have witnessed not just the development and the changes, but also the fast speed of those changes. Vietnam's record in the poverty eradication is absolutely astonishing. Vietnam's fulfilment of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals was one of the best results among 193 UN Member States.

It is impossible to speak about Vietnam and not to mention country's rich history, absolutely stunning natural and man-made beautiful sites, and most importantly Vietnam’s people – hard working and hospitable, who love their country.

-During your term what goals has Ambassador set for the relationship between 2 countries?

I would like to underline with satisfaction that the cooperation between the two countries in the political sphere is at a high level, especially within the framework of international organizations. I am confident that the opening of the Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in Armenia can give new impetus to the further development and deepening of political, trade-economic relations, expanding tourist exchanges, as well as contribute to the further promotion and development of direct bilateral trade between the two countries.

My sincere wish was, and still is, to establish weekly direct flights between Hanoi and Yerevan and I believe that Vietnam Airlines, as a member of Sky Team, is perfectly suited to carry out this task, Yerevan being a transit stop on the flights to one of the European capitals.

-According to Ambassador, to strengthen people to people ties between 2 countries, what tasks and activities should be focused on?

In order to strengthen the people to people ties, it is necessary to promote and develop those relations which are directly involving lives of people, such as, tourism, culture, education.

The Embassy of the Republic of Armenia has reached preliminary arrangements, prior to the outbreak of the COVID-19, for reciprocal visits by representatives of Armenian and Vietnamese travel companies and agencies to explore the two countries' sights and tourism capabilities, and promote tourism cooperation.

The Embassy of the Republic of Armenia, had also been discussing the possibility of the opening of direct flights between Yerevan and Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh with the Vietnamese side, which in its turn would increase the trade turnover between the two countries and increase tourist flows in both directions.

The Embassy of the Republic of Armenia has also initiated and discussed the issues of establishing sister city ties between Yerevan-Hanoi and Gyumri-Ho Chi Minh City.

In the field of education, it is necessary to increase the number of scholarships for studying in the higher and secondary educational institutions in Armenia and Vietnam.

Thank you very much!

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