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Mr. Vu Mao: A preeminent activist of people-to-people relations

10:24 | 04/06/2020

I received a heartbreaking information of Mr Vu Mao's saying goodbye to us forever at 5:30 am. In many of my generation's thinking, Vu Mao remains an image of both a big brother, great teacher, a sincere friend and a passionate comrade.

mr vu mao a preeminent activist of people to people relations Cambodian Ambassador sends a congratulatory letter to the VUFO President
mr vu mao a preeminent activist of people to people relations Vietnam, Cambodia hold land border search, rescue drill
mr vu mao a preeminent activist of people to people relations Pay attention to the people, implement tasks from local level

He is well-known as a seasoned political activist, the big brother of many generations of youth union officials and legislative activists who have always been at the forefront of reforming parliamentary activity, also an amateur musician and a poet ...

I was fortunate and predestined to work all time under his direct leadership, with his cooperation and assistance during 42 years in the field of people-to-people relations, from working in Central Committee in 1974 to my retirement in 2016 with 3 periods as Youth union's official, the 4-session National Assembly's delegate and at the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organizations. I can decisively say that besides the important contributions to the Party, the State, the Youth Union in many different fields, Mr. Vu Mao is also supposed a preeminent activist of people-to-people relations devoting a lot of his meaning to our country's foreign affairs.

mr vu mao a preeminent activist of people to people relations
Mr. Vu Mao (far left) and author of the article (next). Photos taken on a business trip in the Soviet Union (old).

During his time at the Central Committee of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union, the first Secretary of the Central Committee of the Youth Union had taken many innovative directions for the Youth Union's foreign affairs. It was unprecedented in the history of Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union, at the 4th term, to set up the separate secretariat structure on foreign affairs undertaken by comrade Ho Anh Dung (previously the foreign affairs work was usually held by one Secretary in charge of other tasks concurrently). The international activities of the Youth Union, the Youth Association, the Student Association and the Ho Chi Minh Young Pioneers were all promoted, the Central Committee of the Youth Union's international department was strengthened and developed, the officials became well-skilled and have been bravely sent to international organizations of youth and students in the world, getting both trained and bridged the movement to unite the world's youth and students with Vietnam's in a new and closed situation, contributing to the world's youth and student movement.

Mr. Vu Mao often placed high demands on the contingent of young cadres working in the Union's foreign affairs. The international activities prepared for that time from bilateral, multilateral, and especially for the regular meetings of the Youth Union's First Secretary in socialist countries required us to work day and night for document preparation on the international situations, each country's situation as well as Vietnam's, the Vietnam youth's movement situation, our proposals to the international organizations to promote the solidarity movement of Vietnam support in the world's youth. There were times he even asked us to be taught some folk or famous songs of each country through their embassies. Therefore, the international meetings and festivals held by him with his friends were both profound in the content, full of emotion, creating excited atmosphere and showing specific actions called for their support.

Under his direction, the Youth Union's international mision at that time had successfully completed the tasks of spreading information and mobilizing the younger generation, the youth organizations, the world's students to unite and support Vietnam in building the country after the war, understand the noble international mission of Vietnam and Cambodia, simultaneously speak up to protect Vietnam in the struggle to protect the country's sovereignty and be vigilant against its enemies that time. Under his direction, our Youth Union mobilized tens of thousands protective helmets and clothing for the Communist Youth Construction site to build Hoa Binh Hydroelectric Plant, many young experts from Soviet and Socialist countries had helped Vietnam rebuild the country after the war, forming a united front of the world's progressive youths and students to support Vietnam in the new situation, paying attention to internationalism education and friendship between young people in Vietnam and other countries.

In 1982, Vu Mao and the First Secretary of Soviet Union's Central Communist Youth Union V.M.Misien placed "the Letter to the next generation" on concrete slabs on the Hoa Binh Hydroelectric Plant 's construction site. 62 years from now, the future generation of Vietnam will open this letter to learn about the heroic working spirit of the Vietnamese youth bringing electricity to the country and the fair-minded assistance of the Soviets standing side by side with Vietnamese workers for this century's site. This letter plays as a vivid symbol of international friendship enabling us to overcome invading enemies and develop the country. The world youth and student festivals at that time always placed the solidarity with Vietnam at the highest priority position, making the solidarity and support for Vietnam spread among the young people in the continents and countries worldwide.

When going on business with him, I noticed that he always took notes, asked to go to friend countries' attractions, historical sites and museums, and stayed himself up late at night writing diaries or poem outlines. Only later did I learn that in each country, he devoted his love to write poems and songs about the friend's country. In recent years, I have known that Vu Mao had been awarded the Vietnamese record for writing the most songs about countries in the world. It is also a precious example for cadres working in foreign affairs of the people-to-people relations to study.

When returning to work in the Vietnam National Assembly as the Secretary General of the National Assembly, Head of the National Assembly Office and Chairman of the National Assembly's Foreign Affairs Committee, Mr. Vu Mao was very interested in developing parliamentary diplomacy in associating with people-to-people relations. He proposed the policy of connecting the activities of the Vietnam National Assembly's Friendship Parliamentary Union with the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organizations and the Bilateral Friendship Associations. Accordingly, many leaders of the National Assembly, the National Assembly's Committees, members of friendship parliamentarians, National Assembly deputies directly participated in people-to-people relation activities of the VUFO to be the leader or a key member of the bilateral conferences of the VUFO and countries around the world. That tradition has been still developing up till now, playing its great role for the combination of our country's parliamentary diplomacy and Vietnam's people-to-people relations.

mr vu mao a preeminent activist of people to people relations
Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Men Sam Ol and Mr. Vu Mao, President of the Central Vietnam-Cambodia Friendship Association, signed the working minutes for 2018-2020.

In 1983, Vu Mao was introduced to be the President of the Vietnam - Cambodia Friendship Association when he was working as the First Secretary of the Central Youth Union. During that period, Cambodia was under very difficult situation, our noble international mission used to be misrepresented by outside forces. The Cambodia's Cambodia-Vietnam Friendship Association activity was facing difficulties and almost ended. With his experience and enthusiasm, Mr. Vu Mao, for the past 37 years, had led the Vietnam-Cambodia Friendship Association to make a worthy contribution to the strengthening of friendly relations for Vietnam and Cambodia's people.

Enlisting his relationship with the King, Prime Minister Hun Sen, the CPP Party, with National Assembly Chairman Heng Samrin, Senate President Chea Sim and Monk King Tep Vong for gradual campaign of persuading Cambodian friends to re-establish the Cambodia-Vietnam Friendship Association led by Ms. Men Sam Ol - CPP Standing Member of the Politburo, Standing Deputy Prime Minister of the Royal Government of Cambodia as the Chairwoman, rebuilding the Friendship Association at all provinces and cities directly under the central government of Cambodia.

In Vietnam, Mr. Vu Mao had directed the establishment, both strengthening the Central Association and developing local Associations throughout the country, in all provinces bordering with Cambodia, Vietnam- Cambodia Friendship Associations had been established. 41 out of 63 cities and provinces had set up the Vietnam-Cambodia Friendship Association at the provincial level. The Association's Central Executive Committee was strengthened and gathered with famous Vietnamese activists in the fields with representatives of experts, veterans who fought in the Cambodian battlefield, Vietnamese entrepreneurs doing business in Cambodia, cultural activists, educators, religious dignitaries ... in all branches and levels. Yearly, the Vietnam - Cambodia Friendship Association is the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organizations' member implementing the most meaningful activities. Under his direction, the Association has repeatedly donated to support Cambodian people and Vietnamese compatriots (including overseas Vietnamese in Cambodia) in times of natural disasters, organized medical examination and treatment in Cambodia, organized exchanged and twinned activities with border localities, and took activities to promote commercial investment for Vietnamese businesses in Cambodia. In particular, Mr. Vu Mao and the Association's leaders have carried out the project "Nurturing seeds of Vietnam-Cambodia friendship" to sponsor and help Cambodian students studying in Vietnam to serve the religion kingdom later for years. He mobilized sponsors for even hot water thermos, bicycles, warm clothes and fans for Cambodian students in difficulties, encouraging and motivating poor Cambodian students to overcome difficulty for well-studied achievement, launching activities such as "The Song of Friendship" for them to learn about the bilateral relations' history and deepenedly understand the blood-tie friendly relationship in fighting together between Vietnam and Cambodia. He repeatedly proposed to Cambodian leaders for the care and support of overseas Vietnamese in Cambodia to overcome difficulties, facilitated for community integration and legal status having to contribute to Cambodian development.

The Vietnam-Cambodia Friendship Association is the only one among all friendship associations across the country setting up its funds to support its members in difficulties. Many houses of gratitude, savings books and charitable activities have been handed over to former experts and veterans being in difficult circumstances. The Vietnam-Cambodia Friendship Association chaired by President Vu Mao over the past 37 years have implemented many significant activities to promote the two countries' friendship relationship got highly appreciated and many noble awards by the Party, the State of Vietnam and Cambodia's State leaders and the Cambodian King. It is said that Vietnam - Cambodia Friendship Association is the best association in operation of the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organizations and plays an example role for other associations to follow.

Its experiences, motto in activities, organization of activities, promotion of initiatives, long-term projects and daily life activities connecting people and friendship between the two countries for long-term and sustainability are the precious lessons for bilateral-friendship organizations of the VUFO to follow. With his seasoned vision and experience, his frankness, Mr. Vu Mao had repeatedly suggested thoughtfully opinions in contribution to the Party's guidance on people-to-people relations, connecting forces conducting people-to-people relations throughout the country, ensuring conditions and policies for the people-to-people relations to continue developing. He stays really a source of inspiration, a great example, an encouragement, a spiritual support for all of us who work for people-to-people relations.

Vu Mao, Goodbye and wish him peace!

mr vu mao a preeminent activist of people to people relations Marching towards national salvation – A valuable and factual documentary (Part 4)

May 20 marks National Day of Remembrance of Cambodia (Khmer: ទិវាជាតិនៃការចងចាំ) to remember the tragic memory of the Khmer people in the document entitled «Marching towards National Salvation".

mr vu mao a preeminent activist of people to people relations Marching towards national salvation – A valuable and factual documentary (Part 3)

May 20 marks National Day of Remembrance of Cambodia (Khmer: ទិវាជាតិនៃការចងចាំ) to remember the tragic memory of the Khmer people in the document entitled «Marching towards National Salvation. ...

mr vu mao a preeminent activist of people to people relations Marching towards national salvation – A valuable and factual documentary (Part 1)

May 20 marks National Day of Remembrance of Cambodia (Khmer: ទិវាជាតិនៃការចងចាំ) to remember the tragic memory of the Khmer people in the document entitled «Marching towards National Salvation. ...

Author Mr. Vu Xuan Hong - Former Secretary of the Central Youth Union, Former President of Vietnam Union of Friendship Organizations

Translated by Tarah Nguyen