Christian Bourgoignie, head of the Wallonie-Bruxelles delegation, was presented the medal "For the Cause of Culture, Sports and Tourism" last Thursday for his important contributions towards strengthening cultural co-operation between Viet Nam and Belgium's French speaking community.
From 2012 to mid-July 2015, he worked closely with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to successfully carry out cultural projects as well as activities which aimed to promote co-operation between the two countries in different sectors of cinema, fine arts, museums and music, in addition to contemporary dance art and sculpture.
He talks with Bach Lien.
To sum up your three-year mission, can you share with us your happiest moment?
My greatest satisfaction was working with the delegation. They are four remarkable people who are talented and devoted. They know Vietnamese artists and the art scene in Viet Nam, and have connect them with artists in Belgium.
They have done a remarkable job helping the Delegation over the last 20 years.
This medal belongs to the whole team. One of the priorities of our project is to focus on co-operation and not just the promotion of Belgian culture. We have helped Vietnamese artists (dancers, musicians, graphists) exchange, share experiences and perform together with artists from the Wallonie region and Brussels. It's something we are particularly proud of.
Your work has been appreciated for your efforts to organise several training courses for Vietnamese students and experts in Belgium. Why do you focus on training?
We have focused on training mostly in cinema and media.
We have not shown many Belgian films here. I do not think it's necessary to promote our culture through film in Viet Nam. What is more important is to produce professionals work together.
We have sent several Vietnamese cinema students and professional filmmakers to Belgium for training.
We also invited veteran professor Jean-Pierre Verscheure to visit Ha Noi to help restore and preserve documentary films kept at the National Documentary and Scientific Film Production Studio. He will also help build a specialised facility for the preservation and restoration of old films.
Several Belgian journalists and professors have also visited Viet Nam to train local journalists.
Various cultural events have been organised in Belgium with the delegation's support. Is Vietnamese culture well known in Belgium?
No, it is not. Belgium is different from France. In France, people know more about Vietnamese culture because of your history.
In Belgium, Asia is Asia. People do really know the difference between the different countries. They know more about Africa because we had colonies there.
To promote Vietnamese culture, we need time. Viet Nam has a dynamic embassy in Brussels, which has tried hard to organise several cultural events. I think that Vietnamese culture will become more well known in Belgium in the near future.
You are leaving the country soon. Is there anything else you wish you could have done?
I regret not being able to speak Vietnamese because language is the key to everything. If you speak the language, it is easier to discover the country.
I will tell you a secret. I studied Vietnamese for two weeks, but it's a very complicated language and I do not have much free time. I regret that I gave up my studies so soon.
I am sad to be leaving the country. I will miss many good friends, but I hope I will meet them again soon in Belgium. — VNS