With devotion and passion, women feel sparkling happiness even amidst worries!

WVR - What is happiness? Sometimes we are puzzled! For each person, and especially for women, it is difficult to define this concept clearly. Together with the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Member of the Central Executive Committee of the Vietnam Women’s Union Nguyen Minh Hang, let’s have a perspective on “happiness”...
With devotion and passion, women feel sparkling happiness even amidst worries!

Vice President Vo Thi Anh Xuan hosted a meeting in the northern province of Bac Ninh on March 6 with female foreign ambassadors and chief representatives from international organisations in Vietnam on the occasion of the International Women’s Day (March 8).

(Photo: Nguyen Hong)

Dear Deputy Minister, as a female diplomat who has been dedicated to the profession for over two decades, closely associated with the important milestones of the country’s foreign affairs during the integration process, how significant is the inner strength of women - the “steel in the rose” throughout that journey?

I came to the diplomatic profession as a predestined affinity. Choosing to study diplomacy and throughout my years as a student, I had opportunities to engage, learn, and experience the practical atmosphere of the country’s major diplomatic activities at that time, such as Viet Nam assuming the role of ASEAN Chairmanship for the first time in 1998. From this experience, my aspiration to become a diplomat increasingly grew. After graduating, passing the recruitment exam for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, I officially became a “brand new” diplomat in 2000.

Indeed, I joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the right time when the country was intensifying its economic integration after joining ASEM in 1996 and APEC in 1998. At the same time, I was also assigned to work in the core unit responsible for implementing international economic integration - the Multilateral Economic Department.

I still remember vividly when Viet Nam hosted the APEC Summit in 2006, assuming a crucial and complex multilateral position in the context of the country’s integration into the international economy, facing numerous challenges. Difficulties for the country and also difficulties for myself as a young official with only six years of experience and being part of the core team of the Multilateral Economic Department participating in APEC Viet Nam 2006. After all, APEC Viet Nam 2006 was a resounding success. I felt that before every important milestone, the country had “made it” and so had we. The country overcame difficulties to assert its capabilities, and I, along with the unit’s staff, also managed to overcome the challenges, sometimes even surpassing our own limits.

I’ve heard it said: Women are always women! The “rose” here perhaps symbolizes the feminine, delicate nature that every woman possesses. The “steel” here may represent the inner strength, resilience, perseverance, and determination to strive for passion, regardless of difficulties, coupled with compassion and a heart always desiring the best for everyone... On the path to realizing dreams and leveraging one’s abilities to contribute to one’s pursued career, hardships sometimes seem immeasurable. However, the above understanding of “steel” has helped me overcome challenges and I believe I have a passion for the profession I have chosen.

With devotion and passion, women feel sparkling happiness even amidst worries!
Deputy Foreign Minister Ha Kim Ngoc congratulated Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Minh Hang on the occasion of Vietnamese Women's Day on October 20, 2023. (Photo: Tuan Anh)

If you were to ask our reporters about Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Minh Hang, the impression would be of a gentle, graceful female diplomat, yet also firm, determined in multilateral diplomacy; a “rose” silently behind many economic diplomatic campaigns serving development, including the glorious vaccine diplomacy touching the hearts of millions; an “energizer” always full of energy, initiatives, good ideas... If sacrifices and efforts were needed, what would they be?

Thank you very much for your good impressions, but I think I am just a part of the collective of the units I have worked for, under the guidance of the leadership of the Ministry, to make very small contributions to each assigned campaign. If to say I am an “energizer” always brimming with energy, many people would describe me that way too! I myself always feel an endless source of energy pouring out when working, dedicating and contributing to common work. This energy source is generated, “charged” from the passion for the job, so it can be said to be endless, lasting until the task is completed. When there is a new task, the process repeats!

Balancing work, family, life inherently has no universal formula. For women, this problem is even more complex, requiring more thorough consideration, perhaps no duty is holier than the duty of a mother, no role greater than that of a daughter, a wife. Howeve, there is also no happiness greater than the dream of life, living fully with aspiration. I think, at different times, there could be different priorities, accepting different sacrifices. There is no glorious victory without silent sacrifices, but those private sacrifices that bring value, happiness not just for oneself, are the ones truly worthy of giving!

I still can’t forget the business trip when my heart was heavy with worries as my younger son fell ill the day before I had to leave for the airport, and my elder son had to call a car and take his brother to the hospital for a check-up. There were times when one of the dearest people in my life needed me by side, but the relentless pace of work still swept me away, leaving me often pondering with the words “if only, if only at that time...”

If it’s said that women have to exert more effort than men, it’s not entirely accurate for me. “Mission” to nurturing, keeping the “fires burning” in a happy family while pursuing aspirations for career dedication often leads women to juggle multiple concerns. However, perhaps they feel happiest amidst those very worries. I am fortunate to always have the support, empathy from my family as they understand the nature of my work, comprehend my passion, and are always there when I need them most.

With devotion and passion, women feel sparkling happiness even amidst worries!

Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs was one of five outstanding collectives honoured during a programme entitled “Vietnam Glory”, held in Hanoi on June 4, 2023.2 (Photo: Tuan Viet)

Whether it’s 1 Ton That Dam, 2 Le Quang Dao, or any office anywhere, the lights are always on regardless of the time, long business trips regardless of boundaries, female diplomats, from a certain perspective, have they chosen sacrifice or do they have good balancing skills?

General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong has emphasized at the 32nd Diplomatic Conference that the diplomatic sector is a bright spot in the country’s overall achievements.

To achieve those proud accomplishments, “busyness” is perhaps a “specialty” that any diplomat can clearly feel. Behind the success of every high-level visit, bilateral and multilateral events is the spirit of work regardless of time by diplomats, from the leadership of the Ministry to unit leaders and staff. Many units have their own countdown clocks reminding them to always be in a “race” against time.

Personally, I feel that every success of the diplomatic sector has the contribution of generations of female diplomats (with nearly 50% female officials currently). Throughout the nearly 80-year history, we cannot enumerate all the diplomatic “victories” with the presence of women. All comparisons are not absolute, however, once female diplomats undertake a mission, they are ready to dedicate themselves. Whether they have had to sacrifice or have achieved good balance is correct; when needed, they always prioritize responsibility and love for the profession above all else. In female diplomats, there is both “rose” and “steel”, and their beauty lies in the combination of the gentle, traditional traits of Vietnamese women, with a touch of “innovation” from the “warriors in integration time”.

Currently, the number of female diplomats is increasing, reaching about 45.85% of the total number of officials in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The proportion of female officials participating in management and leadership positions in the Ministry and its units is also increasing, with a rate of approximately 13.6%. Female officials of the Ministry are extremely proud that at the same time, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has two female Deputy Ministers, who are Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Le Thi Thu Hang and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Minh Hang.

If there is imbalance, overload, or pressure, from their own experiences, does the Deputy Minister have any advice to help them firmly carry on the flame of passion?

First of all, I would like to convey to you all to have faith in the path you have chosen, always be passionate and give your best effort.

Especially, I hope you can feel the happiness in sacrifices and worries. That truly is happiness, not merely pressure to overcome difficulties in life and in the profession.

With devotion and passion, women feel sparkling happiness even amidst worries!
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Do Hung Viet posed for a group photo with Vietnamese female diplomats on the occasion of International Women's Day, March 8, 2023. (Photo: Tuan Anh)

We all share the choice of the diplomatic home, choosing a profession full of challenges but also glories and pride. Imbalance, overload, and pressure are emotional states that seem to affect everyone to some extent in life, but I believe in having strong faith in the chosen path, in giving our best to overcome hardships, knowing that happiness and rewards await at the end of each journey.

The tradition of female diplomats over the past decades has laid the foundation, and that “torch” will illuminate our path. Personally, I have always learned and been inspired by the “pillar” female diplomats in multilateral diplomacy.

In addition to upholding the 8 golden words tradition of Vietnamese women: “Heroic - Indomitable - Generous - Reliable”, let us still confidently equip ourselves with the tools of modernity to enter the era of digitization that is clearly shaping, which is confidence, independence, strength, and integration. Investing in ourselves is also very important; only when we love ourselves can we have enough physical and mental strength to live fully and completely.

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