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Dec 16, 2023 / 06:29

People-to-people exchanges: Priority in Vietnam-South Africa ties

There is a mutual interest in advancing cooperation in areas that yield practical benefits to people, such as education, cultural exchanges, and efforts to combat hunger and poverty.

Vietnam and South Africa have agreed to work together on initiatives aimed at bolstering the amicable relationship between their respective peoples, thereby reinforcing and advancing bilateral cooperation.

 VUFO President Phan Anh Son (r) and Humile Mashatile, spouse of Deputy President of South Africa Paul Mashatile, at the meeting. Photo: Communist Party of Vietnam online newspaper

The view was shared at a meeting between the President of the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organizations (VUFO) Phan Anh Son and Humile Mashatile, spouse of Deputy President of South Africa Paul Mashatile on December 14.

At the meeting, Son highlighted the official establishment of diplomatic ties between Vietnam and South Africa in 1993, although the two nations had a longstanding relationship before that.

The first encounter between Vietnam and South African delegations took place at the 1955 Asia-Africa Summit in Bandung, Indonesia, fostering positive sentiments between the two peoples.

“Both countries share a common vision for national development,” said Son.

Over the years, Vietnam-South Africa relations have flourished in various domains, including economics, trade, and technology. Despite this progress, there remains untapped potential for cooperation in tourism, cultural exchanges, arts, education, and mineral exploitation.

He added that VUFO, in collaboration with the Vietnam-Africa Association for Friendship and Cooperation (VAFCA) and the South African Embassy in Vietnam, has organized numerous activities such as commemorating anniversaries, hosting conferences and seminars, and facilitating visits by South African delegates to Vietnamese localities.

Son expressed optimism that Mashatile will facilitate and encourage South African agencies and organizations to strengthen friendly relations with Vietnam. He advocated for the establishment of a South Africa-Vietnam Friendship Organization and the introduction of potential partners to VUFO and VAFCA.

Mashatile, for her part, stated that the delegation's visit aims to build upon the outcomes of Vice President Vo Thi Anh Xuan's visit to South Africa in September 2023. During the discussions, both sides explored cooperation in politics, security, economy, education, and culture.

Given the historical similarities between Vietnam and South Africa, there is a mutual interest in advancing cooperation in areas that yield practical benefits to the people, such as education, cultural exchanges, and efforts to combat hunger and poverty, she noted.

 Humile Mashatile and students at the Vietnam Women's Academy. Source: phunuvietnam.vn

Promoting equal opportunities for women

The previous day, Mashatile paid a visit to the Vietnam Women’s Academy where President of the Academy Tran Quang Tien briefed her on the institution's history, development, strategies, and goals.

Mashatile expressed her delight at the warm and respectful welcome she received from the Academy. She showed a particular interest in the Academy's areas of training, research, and development.

During the visit, she had detailed discussions about the distinctive features of the Vietnam Women's Academy in comparison to other universities. Topics included graduate placement, community contributions, and the Academy's role in social development, with a specific focus on promoting gender equality.

Tien elaborated on the philosophy of Comprehensive Education, Quality, and Equality at the Vietnam Women's Academy. He helped Mashatile better comprehend the superior education model, which aims for the holistic development of all students and strives to advance equality within the social community.

Notably, he emphasized that the Academy prioritizes the goal of equality by integrating gender equality knowledge into its training programs.

 The spouse of the Deputy President of South Africa expresses her commitment to promote gender equality.  

“Students from the Vietnam Women's Academy are equipped with a foundation of gender knowledge, positioning them as pioneers in advocating for gender equality and parity across all segments of the social community,” Tien said.

On this occasion, Mashatile visited the Academy's traditional room, and practical facilities, and interacted with the staff, faculty, and students. She expressed her admiration for the vibrant and dynamic student generation at the Academy.

Particularly, in line with the Month of Action for Gender Equality and Prevention and Response to Gender-Based Violence (from 15  November to 15  December), Mashatile wrote slogans and wishes on the hand symbol for the elimination of violence at the Academy's exhibition area. Through this gesture, she reaffirmed her commitment to support and strive for an equal future for women, stating: "We continue to strive to ensure equal opportunities for women!"

Concluding her visit to the Academy, Mashatile extended her gratitude and conveyed best wishes to the Vietnamese Women's Academy. She expressed her hope for the continued development of the Academy to fulfill its unique mission.