On December 3, 2008, the Secretariat of the 10th Party Central Committee decided to designate November 17, 1950, as the traditional day of the Viet Nam Union of Friendship Organisations (VUFO).
Over the past seven decades, VUFO and its member organisations have joined forces to work in people-to-people diplomacy, making significant contributions to mobilising the world’s support to Vietnamese people’s struggle for national independence and national reunification as well as to their process of Doi Moi (Renewal), construction and defence. Their operations have also contributed to strengthening peace and promoting friendship and cooperation between the Vietnamese people and the people of other countries in the world.
Soon after the success of the August Revolution, President Ho Chi Minh and the revolution’s leaders actively and positively implemented external activities, particularly people-to-people activities, in order to consolidate and protect the fledgling revolutionary government and expand international support for the Vietnamese people’s just cause.
During the tough period of the two national resistance wars against the French colonialists and the US imperialists, diplomatic activities of people’s organisations served as sharp and effective weapons, which not only helped to mobilise international solidarity in support of Vietnamese people’s resistance wars but also illustrated the solidarity between Vietnamese people with oppressed people all around the world.
On November 19, 1950, the World Peace Protection Committee of Viet Nam – the predecessor of the VUFO – was established at a Congress held in the Viet Bac revolutionary base, with President Ho Chi Minh as the Honorary President. This was an important milestone connecting the Vietnamese revolution with the progressive movement of the people around the world.
The following years witnessed the birth of friendship associations between Viet Nam and Laos, Cambodia, Cuba, and France plus hundreds of other solidarity organisations around the world.
People-to-people diplomacy has clarified the unjust nature of the colonial and imperialist invasion wars as well as the Vietnamese peoples’ heroic struggle for peace, independence, freedom and national reunification. It has contributed to creating a world people’s front which stayed united and showed strong support for Viet Nam.
After the reunification of Viet Nam, the organisations of peace, solidarity and friendship actively moved ahead and opened the way to break embargo, expand relations, and strengthen friendship with people of other countries while mobilising support of the world’s people towards the Vietnamese people.
During the country’s Doi Moi and international integration, people-to-people diplomacy has made crucial contribution to implementing the foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, peace, cooperation and development, diversification and multilateralisation. In particular, the VUFO has coordinated with people’s organisations around the world to carry out many peaceful and volunteer activities to support Viet Nam.
Since it was split from the Party Central Committee’s Commission for External Relations into a socio-political organisation specialising in people-to-people diplomacy in January 1992, the VUFO has gradually developed into a strong system with 116 member organisations, including 64 friendship organizations at the central level and 52 local friendship unions.
The Union has established cooperative relations with more than 1,000 national, regional and international organisations and hosts thousands of peaceful, solidarity and friendship activities every year.
The VUFO’s operation at regional and international multilateral people’s forums, particularly the ASEAN People’s Forum (APF), and Asia Europe People’s Forum (AEPF) as well as at the mechanisms of the United Nations and ASEAN, has affirmed the role and position of Viet Nam while enlisting the support of international friends for Viet Nam’s efforts in national construction and promoting peace, advocating observation of international law and multilateralism, integration, cooperation and development.
The Union has actively implemented the Secretariat’s Directive No. 38-CT/TW dated September 19, 2016, on continuing to renovate and promote its role and improve its quality and effectiveness in this new age, adhering to the motto “activeness, flexibility, creativity and effectiveness”, with the following focuses:
Firstly, exerting every effort to strengthen and expand the network of international friends, promoting solidarity, friendship and cooperation with the people of foreign countries, particularly neighbouring countries, ASEAN nations, and strategic partners, comprehensive partnerships, traditional partners, and foreign non-governmental organisations, thus facilitating the country’s development requirements and goals. Promoting the advantages of the people-to-people diplomacy, effectively supporting the Party and State diplomacy, especially in handling complicated and sensitive issues, and protecting the country’s development security interests.
Secondly, promoting the role of Vietnamese people’s organisations at regional and international multilateral people’s forums, advocating the observance of international law, and enhancing people-to-people cooperation in the fields of peace, security, environmental protection, climate change adaption, human health and security, food security, water security, and cybersecurity. Thus contributing to the joint efforts of international community to maintain peace and sustainable development.
Thirdly, renovating operations, actively applying IT to foster the cohesion and close coordination among people’s organisations and attract the participation of Vietnamese people both at home and abroad in people-to-people diplomacy. Building a strong Union with qualified staff members who possess solid bravery, enthusiasm, devotion, expertise and skills.
Following its achievements over the past 70 years, the Union will promote the traditions of previous generations, having earned its role as a key force in people-to-people diplomacy. It shall continue to nurture friendship between the Vietnamese people and the people around the world, and contribute to the world community’s common efforts for peace, stability, cooperation and sustainable development.
This article was originally published by Nahn Dan Online.