Diverse Initiatives to Promote the Vietnam - Belgium People-to-people Friendship

Cooperation in vocational skills training for entrepreneurs, development of small and medium-sized enterprises, organization of cultural exchange weeks, expanding cooperation among friendship associations with Vietnam in Europe, developing signature products are among initiatives to promote the Vietnam-Belgium people-to-people friendship raised at the Seminar on People-to-people exchange: Initiatives and the future of cooperation between Vietnam and Belgium.
February 27, 2023 | 07:18
Diverse Initiatives to Promote the Vietnam - Belgium People-to-people Friendship
The seminar took place on February 23 in Hanoi (Photo: Foreign Trade University)

Proposals to consolidate the Vietnam-Belgium relations

Phan Ngoc Lan, Chairman of the Vietnam Business Association in Belgium and Luxemburg, a member of the Belgium-Vietnam Friendship Association, said: "Vietnam needs to consult other countries' experience on how to promote culture such as holding performances abroad, translating literary and art works into foreign languages, joining world-renowned cultural awards."

According to MSc. Trinh Dinh Long, Amica Business Development Solution, Vietnamese enterprises face difficulties in terms of capital, technology, equipment and facilities. The strengthening of cooperation, exchange of experience and technology between the two sides will contribute to the development of small and medium enterprises.

Nicolas Dervaux, Chief Representative of WBI Delegation to Vietnam said that Belgium welcomed Vietnamese people. From 1997-2021, 805 Vietnamese people received scholarships in Belgium, and 1998 experts were exchanged between the two sides. From 2022-2024, Belgium and Vietnam approves 27 projects in economic, scientific, social and cultural fields. WBI is Belgium's only representative office in Asia, which confirms the significance of Vietnam for Belgium.

Piere Grega, President of the Belgium - Vietnam Friendship Association, said based on the two countries' friendship relations, the Assocaiton will expand coordination with friendship organizations in Europe. It is expected that a congress among European friendship organizations will be held in Oct, 2023 to discuss directions to support Vietnam.

At the seminar, the delegates heard Nguyen Van Cuong, C-Brewmaster's founder talk about the process to develop the brand, the combination of the advantages of Belgian beer with the Vietnamese local flavors. "Belgium has thousands of beers with thousands of different flavors. I opened a brewery in Hanoi and used the knowledge I learned in Belgium to create beers using eco-friendly ingredients of Vietnam such as cinnamon, ginger, lemongrass, passion fruit, molasses, longan, lychee, creating Vietnamese indigenous beers," said Cuong.

The delegates proposed to create a new beer symbolizing Vietnam-Belgium relations on the 50th anniversary of the diplomatic relations. The recipe will combine typical ingredients of the two countries. With many new achievements and opportunities in cooperation, the delegates believed that the good relationship between the two sides would continue to be cultivated, consolidated and developed, meeting the aspirations and bringing practical benefits to the two peoples, and at the same time contribute to maintaining peace, stability and development cooperation in the region and the world.

Diverse Initiatives to Promote the Vietnam - Belgium People-to-people Friendship
Representatives of the two countries exchanged ideas (Photo: Hong Anh).

Expand cooperation opportunities

Speaking at the seminar, Nguyen Thi Thu Giang, Head of the European Department, Viet Nam Union of Friendship Organizations said: the good traditional friendship and people-to-people exchange cooperation between Vietnam and Belgium these years is further strengthened, which is contributed by the results of the activities of people's organizations such as the Vietnam - Belgium Friendship Association, the Belgium - Vietnam Friendship Association, the Belgium - Vietnam Union... However, in the new situation, people's organizations need to innovate contents, change methods to attract and mobilize more resources, better spead cultural exchange activities, deepen the cooperation between the people of Vietnam and Belgium.

The seminar is an opportunity for the two sides to exchange information, discuss, and come up with new and practical initiatives, ideas and methods to enhance mutual understanding, especially between the young generations of the two countries, maximize the potential and expand cooperation opportunities in many fields," said Giang.

Assoc.Prof.Dr. Bui Anh Tuan, Rector of Foreign Trade University, Standing Vice Chairman of the Vietnam - Belgium Friendship Association said: The two sides' upcoming cooperation programs focus on training, scientific research, consultation, intership and transfer. The programs are related to many areas that Vietnam is in need of, such as vaccines, logistics, cultural industries, and innovation. Among those, Belgium and Vietnam are interested in promoting innovation. Many universities have pioneered by establishing entrepreneurship activities for young people and students. These are new prospects for cooperation for the development of both sides.

According to Dr. Vu Thi Hanh, Deputy Director of the Centre for Foreign Economic Research Training and Consultancy - FERETCO, Foreign Trade University, member of the Executive Committee of the Vietnam - Belgium Friendship Association: the association will expand and develop its work in the key areas of cooperation between the two countries such as education, economy, and trade. It will gather Vietnamese organizations and individuals who have been living, studying and working in Belgium to promoting the bilateral friendship and cooperation. Through the Association's activities with its members, Belgian partners will contribute to strengthening and expanding the relationship of solidarity, friendship and mutual understanding between the two peoples; take advantage of the consensus and support of the Belgian people for the cause of economic, cultural and social construction and protection of Vietnam's sovereignty and territorial integrity of sea and islands.

The Kingdom of Belgium was one of the first Western European countries to recognize and officially establish relations with the Democratic Republic of Vietnam on March 23, 1973. During the 1970s - 1980s, the Government and people of Belgium gave Vietnam valuable support through aid projects, making a positive contribution to the renovation and development of Vietnam's economy and society.

Over the past 50 years, the bilateral relation has been continuously consolidated and developed in various fields, such as politics - diplomacy, trade, agriculture, education and training, science - technology, development cooperation... at the govermental, regional and community levels.

Belgium is Vietnam's sixth largest trading partner in the EU. Belgium has many investment projects in Vietnam with a total value of more than USD 1.1 billion, mainly in logistics and infrastructure development, which is a strength of Belgium. Vietnam and Belgium established a Joint Committee on Economic Cooperation in 2011, becoming each other's strategic partners in agricultural cooperation in 2018.

Vietnam and Belgium are putting more attention to promote cooperation in research and academic exchange between universities and research institutes of the two sides. Belgium has entered top 5 EU countries with a large number of Vietnamese students and researchers at bachelor's and postgraduate levels.

The two sides actively cooperate in science - technology, transportation and national defense and security, jointly solving global problems, especially in the field of climate change prevention and non-traditional security.

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