Cultural diplomacy promotes Vietnamese identity
Update: Feb 27, 2020
Building national brands through cultural diplomacy is the target of many countries. Many incentives and new methods have been put forward in implementing cultural diplomacy activities in various fields in order to promote Vietnam as a country full of vitality and dynamism.

Jovana Benoit, spouse of former Haitian Ambassador to Vietnam (second from left) cat-walking in an Ao dai (Vietnamese traditional long dress) at an Ao Dai Festival held at the Temple of Literature in Hanoi in 2016 (Photo: VGP)

Diverse and effective activities

Mai Phan Dung, Head of the Department of Cultural Diplomacy and UNESCO under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that since 2011, when the Prime Minister approved the National Strategy on Cultural Diplomacy through 2020, the work has been well implemented with more detailed and specific tasks being assigned to functional units. Cultural diplomacy has been promoted with more diverse and effective high quality activities.

The highlight of Vietnam’s cultural diplomacy in 2019 was a series of activities held abroad to honour President Ho Chi Minh, which received much applause and appreciation from international friends. The activities succeeded in popularising the Vietnamese leader’s ideology and personality but also his contributions to humankind’s development.

In addition, Vietnamese days and weeks were held successfully in many foreign countries, contributing to fostering friendship between Vietnam and foreign partners while increasing the understanding of people in the host countries about Vietnam’s land, culture and people.

Duong An, a Vietnamese married woman living in Malaysia, is the owner of a Vietnamese restaurant in Kuala Lumpur. She also owns a garden full of Vietnamese herbs and plants, with the seeds being brought from Vietnam when she returns her homeland.

An’s husband and children are such fans of Vietnamese cuisine that they can cook Vietnamese dishes very well. Whenever Tet (Lunar New Year Festival) comes, the family members join hands to make chung (square cake) and dua gop (pickled vegetables), two signature dishes of Tet.

Over the past few years Vietnamese culture has been promoted not only through its savoury cuisine but also through paintings, cinematography, music and literature.

For example, a programme was launched by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to send 60 Vietnamese painters abroad to present 100 paintings to Vietnamese representative offices. During their trip, the painters also visited museums and attended exhibitions and Vietnamese cultural days in the host countries. Their exhibits have enriched the galleries of the Vietnamese embassies and representative offices, contributing to the promotion of Vietnamese culture and painting.

Vibrant ways to promote Vietnam’s status

Stunning views from inside Vietnam’s Son Doong Cave featured in the latest music video “Alone Pt.II” by Alan Walker (Photo:

Breath-taking views from inside Son Doong Cave in Bo Trach District, in Vietnam’s Quang Binh Province, were featured in the latest MV “Alone Pt.II” by Alan Walker, a British-born Norwegian DJ and record producer, in December last year.

Within just 10 days from its release, the MV attracted 12 million viewers, thus bringing the spectacular scenes of Quang Binh to people worldwide.

Nguyen Chau A, CEO of Oxalis Adventure Ltd., the operator of Son Doong exploration tours, said that he and his colleagues had tried their best to gain this cooperation project with Alan Walker.

His team also succeeded in convincing Walker to identify the location of Son Doong with the title of the MV and to let the two key words of “Son Doong” and “Quang Binh” appear on scenes of his product.

Thanks to the ceaseless efforts made by Nguyen Chau A, his team and the local authorities of Quang Binh, the images of Son Doong and Quang Binh Province are widely known internationally. The number of visitors to Quang Binh in 2019 reached nearly 5 million, including around 270,000 foreigners, up 28% and 35%, respectively.

Son Doong Cave was recently listed among seven wonders of the world for 2020 by the renowned US-based magazine, Conde Nast Traveler.

In a similar attempt to advertise Vietnamese images, the cultural sector has worked hard to seek international titles and accolades for the country’s heritage and landscapes. To date, Vietnam has gained 38 UNESCO titles, which were granted to honour tangible and intangible heritages, and memories of the world.

Vietnam has successfully hosted a number of international art festivals, which have created opportunities for Vietnamese audiences to access diverse global culture and art while affirming Vietnam’s capacity in event organisation.

Greater efforts have been made by localities to develop their signature cultural and tourist products, including Hue Festival of Thua Thien – Hue Province, Da Lat Flower Festival of Lam Dong Province, and Da Nang International Fireworks Festival of Da Nang City. Such events have not only advertised Vietnam’s image more effectively to international friends but also fostered cultural exchange and trade promotional activities with foreign partners.

With diverse and vibrant activities, cultural diplomacy has proven its efficiency in promoting Vietnamese cultural identity around the world and lifting the country’s status in the international arena.


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