Gifts of Friendship

Gifts of Friendship

On these recent weekends, I received almost simultaneously two pieces of good news that provoked much thought.

On International Literacy Day (September 8), the Library of Congress in the United States honored Vietnam’s Intellectual House and Humanitarian Bookcase programs in the category of Excellent Practices for the 2023 Literacy – Knowledge Dissemination Award.

The Literacy – Knowledge Dissemination Award from the Library of Congress – the world’s largest library – was established in 2013 to raise public awareness about the importance of reading culture in promoting community literacy. The award also encourages increased cooperation between organizations to promote equal educational opportunities for everyone.

On the same day, the Commercial Drone Exhibition and Conference in Las Vegas just ended. A Vietnamese invention, Cameo Gimbal, a vibration damping frame for Hera drone cameras, was recognized by professionals as groundbreaking, far superior to similar devices, and Hera drone from this company has just been patented, with global value.

The achievements of the Intellectual House and Humanitarian Bookcase cannot be specifically measured in money or material, but the silent yet very persistent contributions of the program have great value in promoting reading culture and encouraging lifelong learning, contributing to creating generations of global citizens with intelligence and humanity.

To date, the program has deployed a network of 19,681 bookcases (over 1.1 million books) at more than 3,000 schools and residential communities in Vietnam. More than 2.2 million readers in 60/63 provinces and cities in Vietnam are facilitated to read books, creating a movement to contribute books, donate books to the community.

The famous World Commercial Drone Exhibition and Conference is a festival for US and global drone companies to display their latest inventions, products, technologies, and solutions. With an invention for drones, a Vietnamese company (with a workforce of 50 young Vietnamese engineers, mostly from Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology) was invited by Sony to bring Cameo Gimbal equipment to exhibit with Sony’s latest ILX-LR1 cameras for drones.

These good news came just before US President Joe Biden’s state visit to Vietnam. After 10 years Vietnam and the US became Comprehensive Partners, bilateral relations between the two countries have developed strongly in many areas such as trade – investment, defense – security, health, climate change response, energy, education, culture, space, technology… US Ambassador to Vietnam Marc Knapper said he hoped President Joe Biden’s visit would deepen all aspects of cooperation, helping Vietnam build a high-tech-based economy and innovation-oriented.

During her visit to Vietnam in July, Finance Minister Janet Yellen also made clear one of US policy priorities is diversifying supply chains, especially high-tech products from Vietnam. She assessed Vietnam as an important hub in the global high-tech goods supply chain. The US is also ready to support Vietnam to improve production capacity for these items.

The Hera Drone and Cameo Gimbal are perhaps beautiful examples of Vietnamese-American collaboration, not achieved overnight, but through long-term mutual support. It’s a combination of investment with foresight, looking towards America’s future, and the Vietnamese spirit of overcoming adversity and resourcefulness.

From the Fulbright seed sown in 2002, a Vietnamese rose, graduated with a doctorate from the world’s top school UC Berkeley in the US, then returned to Vietnam, founded and ran Real-time Robotics, a start-up with notable inventions in the global drone industry. Thanks to the intellect and creativity of the team of Vietnamese engineers, these inventions turned into designs, manufacturing drawings, and finally commercial products in a short time. This team has realized the belief that “Vietnamese people are capable of inventing and manufacturing world-class products”.

The gift planted from friendship has circulated into a cycle. High-quality drone products have returned to serve the US market – emphasizing data security reliability and supply chain safety.

High technology is just a typical example of mutually beneficial cooperative relationships between two countries. Vietnam is increasingly becoming an attractive destination for American investors. According to data from the Foreign Investment Agency (Ministry of Planning & Investment), the US ranks 11th among countries and territories investing most in Vietnam.

Deeper down, I see that the increasingly profound friendship cooperation between the two countries is not only counted by aid packages, investments or import-export turnover… but has actually entered cultural and economic life through promoting reading culture, lifelong learning spirit for people or sharing knowledge, technological knowledge.

The commitment to sustainable cooperation today is clearly not just numbers but really deep-rooted values for the development process of both countries.

Vũ Kim Hạnh

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Gifts of Friendship

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