|Fundraising: Ambassador Chatsis presents the proceeds fromthe Maple Leaf Gala Dinner and Ball to a representative from the Blue Dragon charity. — Photo courtesy of Canadian Embassy
On the occasion of Canada Day, July 1, 2013, I send my warmest greetings to all Canadians, especially those who are living and working in Viet Nam.
This is a special year for Canada in Viet Nam as 2013 marks the 40th anniversary of Canada-Viet Nam diplomatic relations. Our Embassy in Ha Noi and the Consulate General in HCM City have been organising a series of activities to celebrate this important milestone.
Our celebrations began late last year with a logo competition. I was impressed with the quality of the competing entries. I was thrilled to present a BlackBerry Playbook, a gift from the Canadian company BlackBerry, to Pham Cong Tuan, a young student from Construction College Number 2. The design has been used throughout the year and represents the bright way forward for Canada-Viet Nam relations.
In May, we proudly presented one of Canada's most renowned pianists Alain Lefevre at the Opera Houses in HCM City and Ha Noi.
Lefevre's sparkling international career has involved appearing as guest soloist to many of the world's top orchestras and performing in close to fifty countries worldwide. He is extremely dedicated to bringing classical music to the young and pursues his cultural mission by meeting thousands of students at all levels every year, all over the world, when on tour or at home.
During his visit to Viet Nam, he met with piano students at the Viet Nam Academy of Music, inspired them with his passion and talent and encouraged them in their pursuit of a professional career in classical music.
On June 15, we held a very special Maple Leaf Gala Dinner featuring some of Canada's best from the world of food and culture. Guests enjoyed Canadian food specialties including oysters, maple syrup, beef, seafood and wine.
At the same time, a performance by Canadian director Jerry Snell and a group of Vietnamese performers from Viet Nam's Circus Federation was a concrete demonstration of the dynamic people to people relations between our two countries.
A highlight of the performance was the use of the Cyr wheel, popularised by Canadian Cirque du Soleil artist Daniel Cyr.
The next six months promise to be equally exciting.
In August, we look forward to launching a photo exhibition of the Arctic and Aboriginal people of Canada.
This year, Canada assumed the two-year Chairmanship of Arctic Council. Canada is proud of the leadership the Arctic Council is taking on issues of importance to the people of the North. Through this exhibition, Vietnamese people can learn about Canada's role in the Arctic while experiencing the region's unsurpassed beauty.
The fall will be busy as usual with a lot of activities. We will have the annual Canadian Education Week with the participation of top schools from Canada, which will share information on studying in Canada with students and parents in Ha Noi, HCM City and Da Nang.
We will once again participate in two runs to raise funds for health care for disadvantaged children. The Run for Children will take place on November 17 in Ha Noi, while the Terry Fox Run to raise funds for cancer research will be organised for November 24 in HCM City. These activities will bring our peoples together to foster a dynamic, multifaceted relationship between our two countries.
As we cherish our past, I believe in the prospects of strengthened Canada-Viet Nam relations in the coming years. Canadians and Vietnamese have been working hard together and we will continue to do so for a better future of the people in the two countries. Bon Fete du Canada! — VNS