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Bulgaria and Việt Nam: Nurturing a new generation of friendship

Update: March, 03/2022 - 09:07

Bulgarian Ambassador to Việt Nam Marinela Petkova wrote to Việt Nam News on the occasion of the National Day of the Republic of Bulgaria

The National Day of Bulgaria, March 3, marks its liberation in 1878 from foreign domination after five centuries of continuous struggle to restore our sovereignty and human dignity. Since then, Bulgaria has risen as a dedicated member of the international community, part of the European Union and NATO. On this auspicious occasion, we pay tribute to our national heroes and rejoice in the transformative milestones of Bulgaria’s national development, while charting a way forward in collaboration with partners around the world.

In 2022 Bulgaria celebrates its national day in Việt Nam with aspirations for renewed opportunities and bringing our younger generations ever closer together. Bulgaria and Vietnam enjoy deep, committed and people-centered relations, where both countries are bound together by history, family and friendships.

òEver since the establishment of diplomatic ties seventy-two years ago, the collaboration in education and development assistance has forged sincere lifelong personal bonds of amity and attachment that stand as a unique human pillar of our partnership. They give us the confidence and ambition to work together to further broaden the spectrum of the political dialogue to promote growth and ensure sustainable and inclusive national development.

Official visit of Vietnamese Vice President Võ Thị Ánh Xuân (left) to Bulgaria in October 2021. — Photo Courtesy of Bulgarian President Office

Today our relationship is robust and has a clearly defined path ahead. Việt Nam is a priority partner of Bulgaria in Asia. Both countries enjoy constructive engagement in multilateral fora, elevated in scope and possibilities by the EU-ASEAN strategic partnership, EVFTA, EVIPA and within ASEM. Our economic exchange has gained new momentum.

In 2021, the newly-elected leaders of Bulgaria and Việt Nam reconfirmed the strong political will to work for tangible cooperation. The official visit to Bulgaria of the Vice President of Việt Nam Võ Thị Ánh Xuân on October 25-27, 2021, her first one abroad in this office yielded concrete results - promising opportunities were identified in the fields of trade in value-added, ICT sector, logistics, pharmaceuticals, agriculture; labour mobility and enhanced educational exchange were also in focus.

Having the privilege to serve in Việt Nam, I have witnessed first-hand its impressive trajectory of development, the results of its constructive foreign policy that has positioned the country as a valuable international partner with increasing regional significance.

As the world gradually reopens on the path of post-pandemic recovery the time is ripe to focus on evolving the socio-economic aspects of our partnership in harmony with the aspirations of our peoples, and to the benefit of building societies of shared prosperity.

Bulgaria-Việt Nam ties and closeness were born in a time of need, now we can further enhance them in a time of opportunity with the objective to help grow a new generation of friendship.

As we work in a collaborative spirit to reestablish one another in a new world guided by technological and normative advances, but one also posing many traditional and non-traditional challenges, we have a common priority of upholding models of good governance that cut across all fields of development, economic modernisation, innovation, private sector development, resilience to climate change, effective institutions and social justice.

Notably, in the last few years, Bulgaria has been working closely with partners in Việt Nam to promote people-oriented, socially responsible and inclusive development, in line with Việt Nam’s own objectives. Partnering with the University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Hà Nội we are working on a project for modernisation of educational tools. Recently, we have focused on community resilience, in rural areas and among most vulnerable groups of women and children – in collaboration with Huế University, Bulgaria supports a programme for income diversification of local women in Thừa Thiên Huế Province via sustainable agriculture. In 2022 Bulgaria also supports a project in Lai Châu Province to procure life-saving medical equipment and medical personnel training in two hospitals to increase the capacity and quality of health care for neonatal cases.

An outdoor class discussion of a lecturer and his students at the American University in Bulgaria. —  Photo Courtesy of the embassy

Another vital asset for the future is student exchange. Many young Vietnamese people are now rediscovering Bulgaria as an education destination for its excellent competitive value with regard to the quality of education and research, tuition fees and cost of living. There is a growing interest among Bulgarian students and scholars to study and learn about Việt Nam. 

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The Bulgaria-Việt Nam partnership is palpable because it takes shape and form by the thousands of real life stories that built it. It is an example of how diplomacy and dialogue have been instrumental in shaping and strengthening peaceful and resilient state-to-state relations, that successful diplomacy is more about reaching the hearts of the people, than conquering interests; that good work in state-to-state affairs takes time, persistence and passion.

Bulgaria strongly aspires to embrace the seeds of its long and fruitful partnership with Vietnam, to bolster our friendship towards an ever growing cooperation of value and purpose, one that is commensurate and true to our historic bonds. We have supported one another, we have remained close for decades now and today our both countries are at a stage where they can reap results, while upholding the human dimension as a pillar of cooperation. VNS

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