APDS Blogger: Zhaleh Boyd

Education and exchange have long been staples of U.S. public diplomacy efforts—longer even than the term ‘public diplomacy’ has been in use. Loyola University--Chicago (Loyola) has taken education and exchange diplomacy where no other foreign university has gone before: Vietnam.

While on the ground I have been meeting with various private and public sector officials to analyze the extent to which corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a priority for companies operating in Vietnam. Based upon the information gathered thus far, the answer appears to be yes, but with many shades of gray.

Addressing a conference in Hanoi on March 15 to review people-to-people diplomacy in 2010 and discuss activities for 2011, Truong Tan Sang...stressed the need for the diplomacy to focus on efficiency in external relations, particularly the ties with people in neighbouring and traditionally friendly countries and progressive forces around the world.

Cultural diplomacy is expected be taught as a subject in several major universities by the end of this year as part of a Government promotion strategy. The deployment of the strategy will be closely combined with overseas diplomatic activities. However, it will also be used internally to promote matters of national interest and importance.

In his meeting with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Ivanovich, Deputy PM Nhan said he hopes that the two countries will continue to implement bilateral agreements and conclude negotiations for the signing of an agreement on credit provision for Vietnam’s first nuclear power plant project.

An array of eight famous Japanese animated films will be screened at the National Cinema Centre on January 12-16. The event is being jointly held by the Japanese Culture Department, the Japanese Cultural Exchange Centre in Viet Nam, the Cinematographic Department and the National Cinema Centre.

I met Madame Thai Thi Lien, the doyen of Vietnamese music, this year in Hanoi during the Southwest Chamber Music’s cultural exchange held in honor of the 1,000th anniversary of the founding of Vietnam’s capital.

Vietnam’s successful cultural diplomacy in 2010 was reflected in activities dedicated to ASEAN and the 1,000th founding anniversary of Thang Long-Hanoi, and the effort to win UNESCO recognition of the country’s cultural heritages.