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Dec 14, 2022 / 23:10

UK-Vietnam: Building for the Future

Education, trade, and sustainability will be key to the future of both countries.

The UK-Vietnam relationship always looks to the future, British Ambassador to Vietnam Iain Frew said at the unveiling of the official logo to mark the 50th anniversary of UK-Vietnam diplomatic relations held in Hanoi today [December 14].

 British Ambassador to Vietnam Iain Frew at the logo launching ceremony held in Hanoi on Dec 14. Photo: British Embassy in Hanoi  

“This will only grow in importance as we face the challenges of the next 50 years together. Together, the UK and Vietnam are Building for the Future – and that is our key theme for our anniversary year,” he noted.

Ambassador Frew described the UK-Vietnam relations are at the time of “strongest partnership” and that he was at the center of excitement to witness. And “there are so many more possibilities.”

“This year ahead will be a chance for us to celebrate and showcase the strength of our relationship, all the while tapping into all those opportunities to further deepen our cooperation across all the areas of our strategic partnership as we look to the future,” the ambassador emphasized.

The celebration, themed “Building For The Future”, will be implemented through a focus on Education, Trade, and Sustainability – all of which are key to both countries’ future.

Next year, the two sides will host UK Festivals in Hanoi, Danang, and Ho Chi Minh City with cultural performances, exhibitions, and showcases that show the best the UK offers.

In addition, a high-level visit exchange of UK and Vietnam leaders is expected. The European country will hold trade shows and send trade missions to Vietnam.

It’s likely to launch plans to redevelop British Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City into a building fit for a modern financial center.

Notably, they will launch the first-ever UK-Vietnam People-to-People Dialogue to see businesses, academics, educational organizations, and others build and foster links between the UK and Vietnam outside the traditional Government to Government framework.

“The UK and Vietnam are closer than ever, and I am excited about the next chapter. Together, we can Build For The Future,” Ambassador Frew emphasized.

Ambassador Frew said, beginning the term in Vietnam as his first Asia posting, he felt fortunate to be coming to Vietnam at such an exciting and blossoming time that marks five decades of diplomatic relations, a newly refreshed strategic partnership, a UK-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement; the UK becoming an ASEAN dialogue partner; and becoming part of the CPTPP. 

  Official logo of the 50th anniversary of the UK-Vietnam diplomatic ties. Photo: British Embassy in Hanoi

Great idea

At the ceremony launching the logo for the 50th anniversary, Ambassador Frew expressed his satisfaction with the logo interpretation, demonstrating the strong partnership and the five-decade relations between the UK and Vietnam. 

Ngo Quang Trung, a 4th-year student at International University – Vietnam National University (VNU) Ho Chi Minh City, beat out many contestants nationwide. To win the logo design contest.

Sharing about the design idea, Trung said he chose Khue Van Cac (Pavilion of the Constellation of Literature) in Hanoi, a symbol of the educational spirit of Vietnam, and the Great Clock of Westminster in London, a symbol of the UK to depict the two countries’ most symbolic works.

“I want to make the logo instantly recognizable, and it conveys a strong message of the cooperation and mutual support for development over the five decades,” Trung shared with The Hanoi Times

The symmetric layout of the symbols shows the two sides’ efforts to stand together and support each other in the development of the nations. In addition, the number “5” on the clock illustrates five decades of the relationship.

Interestingly, the house motif merged into the logo represents sharing and growth, like “people in the same house” highlighted in a Vietnamese proverb, the author noted.

The design has gained good remarks from the jury and once again by high-ranking officials at the Embassy for its meaning. 

For the logo to have different layers of meaning while covering a prominent note, Trung took time to learn about the bilateral relations and pick up the most symbolic constructions of both sides. For that reason, he channeled his energies into the design to produce such a telling logo. 

 Ngo Quang Trung, the designer of the UK-Vietnam official logo, interprets his design. Photo: Minh Nguyen

50-year journey

Ambassador Frew said the two countries have already shown that they can work together to tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges as they supported each other throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

And now, the two countries continue to work on global issues such as climate change, following Prime Minister Chinh’s visit to Glasgow last year for COP26, where he made the historic net zero commitment. They have also been working on the Just Energy Transition Partnership.

The bilateral trade in goods and services reached US$6.6 billion in 2021, 12.4% on year, thanks to the UK-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA).

In terms of education, since 1993, the UK has offered Chevening scholarships to more than 500 of the brightest young minds in Vietnam to study in the European country for a year. Those students have gone on to be leaders in their sectors and professions and become living bridges between the UK and Vietnam.

In addition, around 15,000 Vietnamese students are currently in the UK, with many more students applying to study in the European country. Both countries have ever grown people-to-people links across a range of sectors.

Multilaterally, the UK has supported Vietnam in the UN peacekeeping missions for years, making them reliable, trustworthy, and long-term partners.

 Donna McGowan, British Council Country Director Vietnam, speaks at the event. Photo: Minh Nguyen

Education – key pillar in relations

The year 2023 marks three anniversaries, including diplomatic relations, the 30th year of the British Council operating in Vietnam, and the 30th anniversary of Chevening Scholarships in Vietnam.

The British Council is one of the leading providers of English language tuition in Vietnam and has created lasting bonds between the two countries by showcasing British Culture and teaching English to successive generations.

According to Donna McGowan, British Council Country Director Vietnam, at the heart of the British Council’s cultural relations mission globally are Seasons of Culture which provide high-profile platforms where they can celebrate and support greater international cultural and education collaboration.

Marking 50 years of UK–Vietnamese diplomatic relations and 30 years of the British Council’s presence in Vietnam, the UK-Vietnam Season will ignite new collaborations and build on existing partnerships that celebrate the best of UK-Vietnamese partnerships strengthen the connections between the people of the two countries.

The Season provides a wonderful opportunity to celebrate these hugely important milestones in the history and relations of both countries, elevating the wider bilateral cultural relationship and providing new opportunities for a whole host of UK and Vietnamese individuals and organizations to work together.

The UK-Vietnam Season, which will run from June until December 2023, embraces the British Council’s three main areas of work – arts and culture, education, and English language – these are sectors that are hugely important for both countries, and all of them are priorities for the British Council in Vietnam.

It includes two open Grant Calls for project proposals involving UK and Vietnamese partners. We have agreed on two themes for our collaboration grants: Climate and the Environment and Shared Heritage.

“Our Seasons are a springboard to new opportunities, which we hope will lead to new partnerships, which in turn strengthen the connections and build closer relations between the people, organizations, and institutions of both countries,” Donna McGowan highlighted.