These days, the Vietnam - USA Society is preparing for opening the 4th National Congress. It is more than 75 years from the day that the Vietnam - USA Society was born. That is a historical process that has presented Vietnam's desire and constant activities to build a prolonged friendship relationship and cooperation between two countries. Even in the war years, the endeavors for keeping the development of this relation have never been stopped by Vietnam Committee for Solidarity with the American people. And its consequence is that created a miracle of Vietnamese diplomacy - based on the reality of unifying and supporting of American people and the world people for Vietnam's fighting.

New Circumstance - New Opportunity

At this time, the Vietnam - USA Society and all Vietnamese citizens are living in an important turning point. The 13th National Congress of the Vietnamese Communist Party has just ended, opening a great strategic period towards building a developed Vietnam in the middle of this century.

Together with all the Vietnamese people, the diplomatic organizations need to thoroughly grasp and make every effort to contribute to the implementation of the Party's Resolutions in the new circumstance. The 4th National Congress of the Vietnam - USA Society must be a new milestone in terms of awareness and determination for all members. The Vietnam - USA society must be a pioneer organization on people-to-people diplomacy to join with other foreign forces, striving to make a worthy contribution to the country's development. It also mobilizes as much as possible external resources for building and defending the country in the context of many different advantages and disadvantages that are very difficult to predict.

The Party Congress's instruments emphasized that diplomacy plays a pioneering role in the country's peace and development. In these two large fields, there are both advantages and disadvantages to coexist as marking a turning-point in this age. Revolution 4.0 has been quickly developing with applying the modern scientific and technological achievements in all fields of life. Even with the raging Covid epidemic, people have gradually found a way to fight back and adapt; have determined new ways to protect our life, to develope production, and cooperate in working. Recently, the world's productivity level is moving to a higher stage of development thanks to both opposing pushes - Science and Technology, and Pandemic, so the slogans including "produce anywhere", "work from home", "Lifelong learning and everywhere" become real. The initial achievements of the new technological revolution have been gradually changing people's lifestyles because of changing living means, working tools, and the way of action, especially in terms of communication and mutual impact between people that have become different in society. While the more significant the geographical distance decreases, the more value of time increases. Some people who regretted that Vietnam missed the country's developing opportunities in the previous periods, they warn that, in this time, if Vietnam does not give our best efforts, the nation will be left behind very far in the process of humanity's development. If the domestic country could not be strong, the foreign relations could not "ring the bell" as loudly as Uncle Ho used to say. Also, foreign affairs recently, have to contribute to making "big bells", not just try to be the person who tinkles the bell. 

Talking about the status of a certain nation in international relations today, it is possible to imagine that this system is a multi-center network, multi-subject, multi-partner, depending on mutually, and interplaying by many levels. The distribution of power and influence are intertwined, no longer mainly depending on political factions, bloc, and alliances. These international relations always exist in competitive and compromising models. Being a friend or finding who is opposing the targets, therefore, is not easy in a world that changes very quickly. Thus, in these conditions, it is important to strengthen the nation's independent posture coupled with dynamic and flexible policies to adapt.

More proactive, more creative

We can consider some common issues in such a “global” context, however, the work of the Vietnam - USA Society should be discussed in detail. Hopefully, Congress is a chance to exchange possible matters even though in the short term everyone is somewhat affected by the epidemic. Recently, although there are not many opportunities to directly send delegations to and from the previous time, the Society's activities have initially been timely adapted to the new circumstance such as organizing online seminars with American friends, increasing the use of the network to maintain exchanges to increase the number of partners, sharing the two sides' viewpoints of the 25-year experience of normalizing relations between the two governments and the people of two countries; cooperating on issues related to environmental risks, dealing with issues of the Mekong region, Vietnam's sovereignty in the East Sea, and continuing to exploit resources for overcoming the consequences of war. The Vietnam - USA Society's electronic bridge with the outside world - the Vietnam-US Magazine, has been "Reinforced", for sure. The Society has needed more initiatives and proposals to be more proactive to expand exchanges and cooperation in effective ways in the integration period.

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Celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Vietnam

 

The new requirement is essential because the Vietnam - US relationship has reached the level of the "Comprehensive Partnership". The activities in a collaborative frame have just been in the beginning period since 2013. In the party Congress, we have advocated the strong development of comprehensive diplomacy. It means that promoting people-to-people diplomacy is as important as other diplomatic channels. Thus, from now on, there is no longer any area where the people of the two countries cannot cooperate. Geographical areas and spiritual space of this relationship have been expanded than ever before. The need to diversify the exchanges between Vietnam - American circles, classes, and areas, from here on, is much larger than before.

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President of Vietnam - USA Society Nguyen Tam Chien received the VFW delegation.

 

While it is not yet possible to do many things because of the covid-19 pandemic, we have more time to prepare well for many other plans. Being careful in preparing these missions means that we get more than half success. And we should start with collaborative ideas in both countries' priority areas, including environment, research, and fostering technological exchanges of marine farming, online education, and cultural exchange, etc. The important thing is that to find new ways of implementing those ideas in the “Covid-4.0” era. Based on people-people cooperation, the Vietnam - USA society has the conditions for building a partner network from the focal points, and it helps us to take advantage of the proposals of the United State's individuals and private organizations as well as cooperative ideas of our country's member, people and organization. The people's creativity in society, especially from businesses, young people, scientists, and social activities about communicative and cooperative mechanisms is very abundant. However, the important thing is the Association's encouragement and coordination for these activities. If the internet has created an environment where "people and things can be connected and interacted", folk relations and activities have been also lived in the most flourishing conditions.

Also, the driving force for the people-to-people cooperative programs and projects in the coming time must be based on that "mutually beneficial" for both sides. Therefore, it is fundamental to understand the interest of the US partners as well as the US friends, individuals, organizations and localities. Vietnam has a lot of experience in cooperation with many non-governmental organizations (NGOs), foundations, humanitarian and charitable activists, so, the research on the US partner's interests for developing cooperation should be multiplied in the coming years.

Contributing to the socio-economic development of the nation in new circumstances is the Vietnam - USA Society's highest political mission. However, for our country, the continued consolidation of peace, sustainable security, and economic security are also facing many challenges that differ from before. Taking advantage and avoiding issues that may happen because of changes in domestic politics-diplomacy and international relations to gain those purposes are still a significant task. Our country could not have the conditions for rapid development in the past due to many wars. Vietnam's peace and stability, in coming years, will continue to be affected complicatedly and multidimensionally by different developmental trends in the region and the world, especially the process of economic integration and globalization, and changes of geopolitics in competitive and compromised relations between the big countries and the world's centers.

Not just an "aiming at men's hearts" diplomacy

Our Party and State's policies on foreign affairs in general and the relation to the US in particular, have reached a consensus in the country and have been supported and implemented by all Vietnamese people. Looking back on the history of people-to-people diplomacy, we can say that our experiences in mobilizing the world people's political support are an outstanding achievement in which president Ho Chi Minh was a genius in "aiming at men's hearts" diplomacy. Thus, in the new period, it is no less important to strengthen other countries' solidarity and support for Vietnam.

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    The book launching ceremony on Vietnam – US exchanges prior to 1946 was introduced to the public at an event held by the Vietnam-US Society

 

However, the situation has changed so dramatically that if we do not renew our minds about the partners/objects, interactive content, and ways for gathering forces, it will be difficult to mobilize friends' supports in the world. This reality will lead to happen difficult situations in dealing with issues related to the promotion of developed cooperation or efforts to consolidate peace and stability but just stop at "strengthening friendship and understanding". How do we have more supporting voices for Vietnam's stance and policies on disputed settlement in the East Sea, on strengthening multilateral cooperation in the Mekong issue; agreeing as much as possible with Vietnam's domestic policies including building the laws and a democratic society that is all for the sake of people, and agreeing with an independent foreign policy for common peace and prosperity? While increasing the arguments and speech's persuasion in propaganda, it is impossible to forget to exchange with friends and partners about parallel benefits, and the cooperation based on mutual benefit in all fields. Paralleled with the country's growth, Vietnam has increasingly been able to satisfy friends' interests in many fields and issues, thus, the international exchange and cooperation have more and more foundations for sustainable development. Through international activities, people-to-people diplomacy shows lively that Vietnam is an active and responsible partner.

With a profound friendship are created, trust is built, and benefits are combined mutually, the friends' and partners' voices for supporting Vietnam are no longer one-sided, but even more weighty. Looking back to the period of the Vietnam war, if our country's fighting at that time was considered "the conscience of humanity", it is now, in Vietnam's new developmental context, the driving force to increase friendship, trust, and cooperation, especially, on politics, should be based on interests. Basing on the foundation of people–to–people relations, those benefits will become very specific and various. 

Vietnam has currently reached a significant position in the international community as a result of the country's huge political achievements that foreign affairs in general and people-to-people diplomacy in particular were built. Thus, we need to be radically promoted in the next time. The foundation of these achievements is all Vietnamese people's great and comprehensive efforts during more than 30 years of renewal, and the strength of Vietnamese traditional culture. The changes of times and situations have allowed us to take advantage of our geopolitical position in international relations, raising Vietnam's voice and perspective on dealing with the peaceful and developmental issues in regions and the world. This also reminds us about the days after the great victory in a "historic competition" in 1975, there was so much admiration that the people in the world gave Vietnam.

The time for holding the 4th national Congress of the Vietnam-USA Society is coming and also very important. All members have been working together to promote valuable foreign experiences in foreign affairs, especially the people-to - people diplomacy over the years, including identifying crucial issues, key activities, finding new and diversified modes of implementation that are both specific and suitable to new conditions, and participating in building great national events, worthy of the oldest and largest friendship association of Vietnam. 

President of the Vietnam - USA Society
Ambassador Nguyen Tam Chien