INASIA

Insights and Analysis

From Vietnam: Searching for Cultural Ambassadors

September 26, 2007

Recently, the National Library of Vietnam and The Asia Foundation launched a national essay contest to find three young ambassadors who will promote friendship and cooperation between the youth of Vietnam and their counterparts in the United States. The topic of the essay contest — open to Vietnamese students between the ages of 18-22 — asks each candidate to express his or her hopes for Vietnam’s future, which will provide a rich portrait of the expectations of modern-day Vietnamese while promoting a better understanding of Vietnam in the United States.

The three grand prize winners, one from each region, will embark on a 10-day trip to the United States to meet with American university students and civic leaders in San Francisco, Chapel Hill in North Carolina, and Washington, D.C. The U.S. visit will be coordinated and funded by The Asia Foundation.

During the trip, the young ambassadors will be accompanied by the Director of the National Library and a Vietnamese professor of American Studies. The three students will stay with American families to allow for a more holistic experience and a deeper understanding of the diversity of American life and culture, while allowing American families the opportunity to learn more about modern-day Vietnam.

Upon their return to Vietnam, these cultural ambassadors will assemble for two days in Hanoi to discuss their experiences in the United States, their impressions of American culture and society, and the impact the trip has had on them personally. Finally, the ambassadors will each give a presentation at the provincial libraries of their home communities.

Through the National Library of Vietnam’s network of provincial libraries, regional committees have been established to judge the essays and to select three finalists each from the North, Central, and South regions of Vietnam. The National Library will oversee the process and select a panel of judges to recommend the finalists. The nine finalists will be interviewed by a joint panel of representatives of the Foundation and the National Library in Hanoi to further gauge the candidates’ suitability as cultural ambassadors for Vietnam.

Related locations: Vietnam

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