Bridging Vietnam - Argentina cultures

WVR - Pham Lien has been a Vietnamese-Argentine pharmacist and martial arts teacher for more than 40 years. For a long time, she has continuously worked to build cultural bridge, contributing to promoting Vietnam - Argentina relation.
Ms. Pham Lien (second from right) in an exchange and cooperation activity in Argentina. (Photo: Pham Lien provided)
Ms. Pham Lien (second from right) in a Vietnam - Argentina cultural exchange activity in Argentina. (Photo: Pham Lien provided)

Following her family, Lien went to Argentina at the age of two. She said: “For the beginning, living away from home was not easy. I grew up in completely different cultures with different languages and ways of thinking as well as earning a living".

In her opinion, the most difficult thing was the lack of support because the Vietnamese community in Argentina was quite small at that time. However, "I still feel lucky because I can learn many good things from two countries: Vietnam, my homeland, and Argentina, where I have grown up", she said.

Manage to integrate into two cultures

Lien believes that being Vietnamese gives her strength and intelligence from within, motivating her to achieve the goal of becoming a martial arts teacher and completing a PhD in pharmacy while Argentina provides a sense of her own value and of home belonging.

It is the Vietnamese Embassy in Argentina that helps her become closer to homeland.

In 2012, Lien and her colleagues established the Vietnam - Argentina Center which was renamed Asia Center - Casa de Asia in 2015, with the main mission of promoting relations between Argentina and Vietnam as well as Asia.

Through promoting culture, gastronomy, trade and tourism exchanges, she believes that connection between the people of Vietnam and Argentina can be enhanced.

For Lien, Asia is a region with many cultural and historical values that Argentines have not known much about. She hopes that the Asia Center will help people come closer together through activities to further develop economic, trade and investment relationships between Asian countries and South American ones, especially with Argentina, thereby promoting the development for common prosperity.

Ms. Pham Lien was honorably one of the typical representatives of the Vietnamese community attending the meeting with National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue in Buenos Aires. (Photo: Pham Lien provided)
Ms. Pham Lien was honoured to be one of typical representatives of the Vietnamese community attending the meeting with National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Photo: Pham Lien provided)

Bonding the two countries

Many events promoting Vietnamese culture, trade and tourism have been held at the Center since its establishment.

Besides programs introducing Vietnamese cuisine and Ao dai performances, the Center regularly organizes seminars on trade and business opportunities in Vietnam, along with tourism promotion activities to introduce famous Vietnamese destinations such as Ha Long Bay, Nha Trang beach or historical landmarks such as Cu Chi tunnels, etc.

There are some outstanding activities of the Vietnam - Argentina Center and the Asia Center-Casa de Asia, including the Vietnam-Argentina Official Forum (September 2013); participating the Argentine business delegation at the Da Lat Business Forum, Vietnam (August 2013); meeting with Argentine entrepreneurs to access the Asian market (July 2013); presenting the project of opening a commercial advertising office of an Argentinian entrepreneurs in Hanoi (March 2013)...

In recent years, the two centers have jointly hosted many cultural events to promote Vietnamese cuisine, ao dai and tourism; coordinate with the Vietnamese Embassy in Argentina to organize business seminars and conferences with Asian partners in Pehuajó, La Pampa, Casa de Santa Fe, Tucumán...

In April 2023, Lien was honorably one of typical representatives of the Vietnamese community attending a meeting with National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue in Buenos Aires on the occasion of his official visit to Argentina.

At the meeting, the Chairman of the National Assembly commented that, though with small quantities, Vietnamese people here are always attached with one another, obeying local laws and looking towards the homeland even though they are far away from the country. On that occasion, the Chairman of the National Assembly showed his touchedness to see Mr. Gip Ayock, Head of the Vietnamese community’s liaison committee in Misiones province, despite of his very old age, traveled more than 1,000 km to Buenos Aires to attend the meeting, and Lien, despite being away from Vietnam since the age of two, still speaks Vietnamese fluently.

Ms. Lien shared that she and the Vietnamese community were very happy when the Chairman of the National Assembly affirmed the consistent view of our Party and State regarding the overseas Vietnamese communities as an integral part of the Vietnamese people.

Conclusion No. 12-KL/TW of the Politburo on overseas Vietnamese affairs in the new situation emphasized strengthening the Vietnamese language teaching, organizing the Day for Honoring Vietnamese language, supporting programs, books and Vietnamese teachers; strengthen the construction of cultural institutions in areas with favorable conditions to create a common home for people far from home.

Her plan in the coming time is to continue organizing several annual events to strengthen the connection between the two countries. She wishes to have more resources and support to further promote cooperation and cultural exchange projects.

She said: “Even though Vietnam and Argentina are two very different cultures, they share similar emotions and values. I really feel like I am living and growing in two cultures”.

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