August 20th is one of the most important national holidays in Hungary. On the occasion of the National Day, the country’s Ambassador Eszter Torda writes to Viet Nam News.
This holiday is especially important to us here in Viet Nam because it is very close to Viet Nam’s Independence Day on September 2. We Hungarians are lucky because even though we are a country of about 10 million citizens, we have in Viet Nam a large community of about five thousand Vietnamese who speak Hungarian, our mother tongue, and who know our culture due to having studied in Hungary. This closeness gives us each year the possibility to celebrate our national days together with our Vietnamese friends.
However, this national holiday is also special because it falls during the summer holidays when official activities tend to give way to friendly gatherings, relaxation and reflection.
This delicate moment gives us a possibility to look back on the two years I spent in Viet Nam as Ambassador; it might be considered a mid-term review of our recent work.
During the last two years, we have had a very intensive life in Viet Nam working on tightening the relations between our countries. We had several high-level delegations in both directions and we were proud and honoured to receive Truong Tan Sang, president of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, in Hungary last year.
Our work covers a vast scale of co-operation. However, there is one field that is especially important because it is related to our future, and this is our co-operation in the field of education.
In early 2013, the Government of Hungary announced a new exchange programme and offered full scholarships to students from different countries who wanted to study at Hungary’s State-owned higher education institutions. This programme is called Stipendium Hungaricum and is highly supported by the Vietnamese Government.
The moment when we signed last year the interinstitutional agreement executing the framework agreement between the two Governments brought us great contentment. Viet Nam was the first country to send students to Hungary within this exchange programme last year. This year is already the second year of the programme and for the academic year of 2014/15 Viet Nam fully exploited the 50 places offered by Hungary.
The success of the programme is also marked by a sudden appearance in the media of one of the Vietnamese students in Hungary: Ninh Duc Hoang Long, currently a student at the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music, became popular in an instant thanks to the internet, and his success was immediately reported in both the Hungarian and Vietnamese news.
It is not by chance that I started this piece by mentioning the Hungarian-speaking Vietnamese community. They are all students who had the possibility to study in Hungary and get to know a different but emotionally close culture. Their love for Hungary as well as their success in life is the proof that this is the best gift Hungary can offer to Viet Nam. So we hope that again we can attract young and talented students, who will love our country, be successful in Viet Nam and increase the number of our Hungarian-speaking friends.
It is thus not a surprise if education continues to be prioritised in the future. I also would like to remind all those who are interested in the programme that at the end of this year the Embassy and the Ministry of Education and Training will publish the call for application for the 2015/16 academic year. Interested students will be able to submit applications to MOET at the beginning of next year.