Overseas Vietnamese work: Staying responsive to and working with the country in the new situation

According to Deputy Foreign Minister Pham Quang Hieu, Head of the State Committee for Overseas Vietnamese Affairs, overseas Vietnamese work in 2021 was conducted in line with the Resolution of the 13th National Party Congress.
Overseas Vietnamese work: Staying responsive to and working with the country in the new situation
Deputy Foreign Minister Pham Quang Hieu, Head of the State Committee for Overseas Vietnamese Affairs. (Photo: Nguyen Hong)

Mr. Deputy Minister, if you could pick one word to describe the overseas Vietnamese community, and overseas Vietnamese work over the past two years, which would you pick?

I believe that would be “responsive”! Being responsive helped us overcome challenges and forge a path forward over the past two years, particularly at a time when the entire world, including Viet Nam, was facing unprecedented challenges caused by Covid-19.

Domestically, the Party, State and Government of Viet Nam have made timely changes to flexibly adapt to the new situation, implemented a holistic vaccination strategy, and adopted the guideline of co-existing with the virus and effectively containing the pandemic. As a result, we achieved multiple goals outlined for 2021, sustaining economic development while containing Covid-19 and safely and effectively adapting to novel circumstances. At the same time, our fellow countrymen overseas have strived to resume business and production activities, return to their studies, ensure stability, and make meaningful contributions to their homeland.

On our part, as those in charge of overseas Vietnamese work, we have also made every effort to adapt to the new situation, so as to work with the whole nation to overcome this pandemic while successfully fulfilling our own mission.

And what were the outcomes of this responsiveness?

In 2021, the role, stature, and credibility of the overseas Vietnamese community, encompassing 5.3 million people, have been further strengthened. They have endeavored to adapt to the new situation, and resume their business and production activities. In the US, our community was among those of Asian origin with the fastest and highest rate of recovery, in comparison with local American communities and those of other migrants in 2021. Around the world, many young Vietnamese talents recorded great successes across numerous fields, thereby putting themselves on the global map.

The overseas Vietnamese community was still forging ahead, even amid great hardships. And it was against this backdrop that the affection for fellow countrymen and the tradition of supporting each other - invaluable values of the Vietnamese nation - were clearly showcased. Heeding the call for support by Leaders of the Party, State, and the Viet Nam Fatherland Front, last year, Vietnamese citizens donated over 80 billion VND and dozens of tons of medical equipment and supplies to Viet Nam in service of domestic pandemic control efforts, including to the Covid-19 Vaccine Fund. Many Vietnamese nationals abroad have provided active assistance via transfering technology for vaccine production and trial, sharing experience in pandemic control, dedicating their facilities in Viet Nam to the fight against Covid-19, and volunteering to serve at the frontline to contain this pandemic.

Numerous Vietnamese individuals and associations also contributed to pandemic control efforts at home. Dr. Ho Nhan, CEO of Nanogen (US) helped manufacture Nanocovax vaccines for Viet Nam. Mr. Tran Ngoc Phuc (Japan) supplied Viet Nam with ventilators, and was working on a facemask with better respiratory function. Dr. Nguyen Duc Thai (US) put forth several initiatives for pandemic containment in Viet Nam. Mr. Nguyen Hoai Bac (Viet Nam - Canada Vocational Training Center in Hai Duong) and Mr. Nguyen Ngoc My (Vabis International College in Vung Tau) offered their facilities in Viet Nam to relevant localities for centralized quarantine.

In many countries, overseas Vietnamese were actively working with their representative organizations to step up vaccine diplomacy efforts, and call upon local authorities to provide Viet Nam with vaccines and medical supplies and equipment.

Overseas Vietnamese work: Staying responsive to and working with the country in the new situation
The State Committee for overseas Vietnamese affairs under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs held a ceremony on September 20, 2021 to receive donations from overseas Vietnamese to support COVID-19 prevention and control activities in Viet Nam.

Associations, organizations, and networks connecting overseas Vietnamese entrepreneurs, intellectuals, youth, and students were further strengthened. They organized meaningful activities in their local communities, while actively participating, both physically and virtually, in events hosted in Viet Nam. Many Vietnamese experts and intellectuals established local innovative networks in the Republic of Korea, Japan, Australia, and Europe, among others, and expanded their operation in Viet Nam. Our community abroad also witnessed a wide range of initiatives and activities in such fields as advanced technology and innovation, thereby also making contributions to Viet Nam.

Despite the impact of Covid-19, in 2021, remittances to Viet Nam amounted to around 18.1 billion VND (according to the World Bank), a year-over-year increase of 5.2%. Viet Nam thus remained among the top 10 remittance recipients around the world.

Overseas Vietnamese work in 2021 was conducted in a synchronized and robust manner, in line with the Resolution of the 13th National Party Congress. Based on the proposal of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on 12 August 2021, the Politburo issued Conclusion No. 12-KL/TW on overseas Vietnamese work in the new context (KL12), so as to continue to effectively implement Resolution no. 36 and Directive no. 45 of the Politburo on overseas Vietnamese work.

On this basis, the State Committee on Overseas Vietnamese of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs put forth concrete plans and measures to fulfil its key missions and achieve breakthroughs. Such efforts included the project on further strengthening the great national unity, harnessing resources from overseas Vietnamese in the new situation, upholding the Vietnamese language, and assisting fellow countrymen abroad in disadvantageous areas.

The Commission also conducted a “Comprehensive Survey among Vietnamese nationals permanently residing overseas on relevant legal and administrative procedures.” The survey served to collect inputs from competent authorities and Vietnamese associations on challenges facing the implementation of legal policies pertaining to overseas Vietnamese. This laid the foundation for further advisory work on supplementing, amending and issuing regulations and policies with regard to overseas Vietnamese, thereby assisting Vietnamese nationals abroad to return to their homeland to live, work, and do business.

The Commission also actively and flexibly endeavored to mobilize overseas Vietnamese, thereby further reinforcing their ties with their homeland. The meetings between Leaders of the Party and State of Viet Nam with our countrymen abroad, hosted or co-hosted by the Commission, were vivid testament to the keen attention given to the overseas Vietnamese community by our Party and State Leaders. These meetings left excellent impressions among these communities, invoked national pride and the great national unity, and strengthened the connection between overseas Vietnamese and their homeland.

As the pandemic continued to evolve in a complicated manner, the Commission was flexible in organizing activities, both physically and virtually, to better connect overseas Vietnamese with their homeland. These programs were well-received among a wide range of overseas Vietnamese, leaving great impressions within the community. Notable events included Homeland Spring 2021, the virtual seminar on “Viet Nam Summer Camp with overseas Vietnamese youth and students”, “Overseas Vietnamese and Viet Nam’s seas and islands”, and a series of seminars, convened both physically and virtually, to make the most of the wisdom of overseas Vietnamese experts in domestic pandemic control efforts.

Efforts to assist Vietnamese nationals abroad were actively and timely implemented, bearing vivid testament to the sentiment and responsibility of the Party and State of Viet Nam in supporting the community. Amid the complicated evolution of Covid-19, the Commission managed to timely allocate the budget to support overseas Vietnamese who were facing hardships in 9 areas, including Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, India, Myanmar, Angola, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The Commission also continued to seek innovative and diverse means to assist overseas Vietnamese in upholding the Vietnamese language and identity. These measures included organizing a virtual training course on the Vietnamese language for overseas Vietnamese teachers, with around 400 participants, and bolstering cooperation with relevant authorities to adopt new approaches in teaching and learning Vietnamese for our countrymen abroad, including further training via virtual means.

In this connection, which breakthroughs will overseas Vietnamese work focus on next year?

To implement Conclusion No. 12, we drafted the Action Plan on overseas Vietnamese work for 2021 - 2026, which was approved by the Government. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also formulated the Action Plan to realize the Government’s Action Plan on overseas Vietnamese work for 2021 - 2026. Building upon this foundation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will take holistic action to fulfill the six groups of mission outlined in Conclusion No. 12. In such endeavors, we will focus on two breakthroughs, including building upon the great national unity and harnessing resources from overseas Vietnamese nationals in service of national development in the new context.

Thank you very much!

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