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Munch Museum ready to team up with Vietnamese counterparts: Director

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At an online press conference hosted by the Norwegian embassy on October 5 in Hà Nội, the director of the new Munch Museum in Oslo, Stein Olav Henrichsen, shared the museum’s plan.  

The museum will host the largest collection of works by the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch in the world, as well as other activities for all ages, Lê Hương reports.

Director of the museum Stein Olav Henrichsen. Photo theoslobook.no

 Could you tell us about the mission of the new museum?

 Edvard Munch is a very important artist, not only in Norwegian art but also for the rest of the world. He worked in many different aspects like painting, printing, sculpture and photography. He’s also a very important part of Norwegian identity and art history. Though he died 70 years ago, his works are still alive and interesting to people today.

Now we have a new building to host over 27,000 of his artworks that will open very soon. Half of the 11 exhibition spaces will be used to display his works only. We will also display contemporary art programmes. We will have “blockbusters”, where we invite artists from other countries. We can work with other museums to create exhibitions in their museums to display Munch’s works to the rest of the world. 

In addition to this permanent exhibition, we will also host other activities like film screenings, talks, meetings, concerts & performances. As our museum is located right next to the Opera House in Oslo, we will cooperate with the House to organise live programmes.

For example, in our blockbusters programme, we will display some 300 works from 16 other museums in the world.

We will also have special workshops for children. Each year, we receive some 60,000 children at our museum. We would like them to be creative with art and experience painting. Children are important for us as well.

We take advantage of our location, right in central Oslo, with a wonderful restaurant that has a view of the city from the 13th floor. We also have a café on the 1st floor. People can spend the whole day at the museum, experiencing art, joining programmes and workshops. We will be open from 10 am till 10 pm, every day throughout the year. We aim not only at locals but also tourists.

On October 18, we’ll have a programme for children, and on October 22 we open the museum officially.

We have detailed information on our website together with online tours for the rest of the world in English.

Do you have any intention to bring Munch’s works here to display in Việt Nam or vice-versa, introduce Vietnamese artists there at your museum?

I haven’t thought of that yet and we haven’t received an invitation from Vietnamese museums to co-host the Munch exhibition in Việt Nam. If we have any, I’ll look into that carefully.

There is a Vietnamese population in Oslo of some 40,000 people. But there are no Vietnamese artists living here at the moment. I know that Vietnamese people in Oslo often visit museums and they will surely visit the new Munch Museum.

I know that the friendship between our two countries is very strong. I myself two years ago took a business trip to Việt Nam. I really want to seek relationships with Vietnamese artists and museums to promote cultural exchanges.

The new Munch Museum will be one of the world’s largest museums in the world dedicated to one single artist. How do you see the contribution of the Munch Museum to the strategy of developing Norway’s culture industry?

I think a museum’s mission also includes educating and raising public awareness on the problems and challenges of each society and individual. It is important for arts to reach out to the world and people, reflecting on modern issues, triggering critical thinking and discussions. Through our exhibitions, we want to address the social issues of contemporary life. At our museum, guests can see themselves and the problems they are dealing with every day.

At the city level, we will reflect on the issues relating to Oslo and its people. On a national level, we want more local matters to be shared and discussed at our museum through temporary exhibitions. Internationally, we want to bring Norwegian culture to the world, to hear more about national voices, and to exchange culture with other countries and their museums.

The newly built museum by the bay in Oslo. Photo munchmuseet.no

 What should museums do to increase their number of guests, especially amid COVID?

We have relied on digital technology to build our programmes. We have a lot of digital exhibitions on our website and share them with the rest of the world. In Oslo, about a third of the population often visits museums. More than two-thirds either do not visit museums or see exhibitions through digital platforms. During COVID, the number of people visiting our homepage has increased significantly. We now have programmes in both Norwegian and English but we will soon have programmes in Chinese and other languages too.

We cooperate with local technology and media companies every year to develop new digital programmes for the public.

When we host exhibitions abroad, besides actual events, we also put them online for a broader audience.

A museum should not be a boring place. It should be a place where visitors can see not only arts but also have other experiences. That is why our museum offers numerous kinds of live activities for people of different ages. At our museum, visitors can see exhibitions with different topics relevant to them, they can also enjoy a cup of coffee with the whole city view, they can attend a concert, see a film or be engaged in a discussion or seminar. Basically, they can stay here from 10am to 10pm every day.

Museums should also target children and treat them as VIP guests. Therefore, it is crucial to make the topics of exhibitions interesting and relevant to all ages of visitors.

To improve our services, we are conducting research into the people who never visit or do not want to visit museums. We hope this will help us understand the underlying reason behind their choices, and come up with new and more interesting ideas.

Museums have very high credibility in society. People believe in museums. In this time when we have a lot of fake news, museums are and should be trustworthy sources of news and knowledge. Museums should be compelling to an audience; therefore we need to generate interesting discussions on the importance of engaging more groups of the population on a regular basis.

Regarding the roles of museums, I would like to quote a colleague of mine from New York’s Metropolitan “We don’t serve society. We are the society.”

Source: https://vietnamnews.vn/life-style/1058272/munch-museum-ready-to-team-up-with-vietnamese-counterparts-director.html

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Vietnamese students of Chinese universities yearn to resume offline classes

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Vietnamese students of Chinese universities are desperate to get their higher education back on track as online classes are rife with difficulties including disruptions and lack of access to textbooks.

Nguyen My Duyen, 25, is feeling unsettled and uncertain about her immediate future.

The native of Quang Ninh Province is pursuing a master’s degree in tourism management at the Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University in Fuzhou City, China’s Fujian Province.

She returned to Vietnam in January 2020 to celebrate the Tet (Lunar New Year) festival with her family, intending to return immediately after.

However, the international border closures because of Covid-19 have prevented her from returning to China for almost two years, during which period she has been taking online classes.

She was initially encouraged and comforted by her professors who said she would be able to return to China in September. But two Septembers have come and gone, and she is still at home.

“Waiting without an exact return date makes me feel really unsettled,” she said.

Nguyen My Duyen during during a hike in Guilin City, Chinas Guangxi Province. Photo courtesy of Duyen

Nguyen My Duyen during a hike in Guilin City, China’s Guangxi Province. Photo courtesy of Duyen

Nguyen Thi Hai of Hanoi’s Hoai Duc District has recently begun her second year in International Economics and Trade at the Zhejiang Sci-Tech University in Zhejiang Province. She was granted a partial scholarship from the Chinese government last year. She has never attended in-person classes and has only been studying online.

Hai has lessons on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays. Classes begin at 7 a.m. every day and end at around noon. Her class has 40 students, only five of whom are learning remotely.

Hai says the two years have been a struggle. There are days she finds it difficult to log back into the online class because of bad Internet connections. And even if she manages to log back, she has no idea what the professor was talking about. She said some professors have refused to email students the power points used, so she has to ask a friend to film the lecture and email her afterward.

“When I listen to the video, it doesn’t seem clear and is difficult to comprehend. I have to continuously text and ask the teacher, but I’m worried about asking too many questions…,” Hai said.

With just online classes, Hai has a hard time keeping up with friends and feels she still has not gained much knowledge even though she is already in her second year. But she can’t bear to give up and start again at another university because it would be a colossal waste of time.

Nguyen Thi Hai. Photo courtesy of Hai

Nguyen Thi Hai. Photo courtesy of Hai

International students like Duyen and Hai have been unable to attend in-person classes after China closed its borders to most foreigners from March 2020 to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Last August, China restarted issuing visas for South Korean students, who make up the largest number (10 percent) of all international students in the country. Meanwhile the majority of international students from developing countries have not received any information about their return. In February, thousands of Indian medical students staged a protest on social media, with the hashtag #TakeUsBackToChina.

Tran Ngoc Duy, who is taking online classes for his master’s degree in Chinese Teaching at Yantai University in Shandong Province, said international students have suffered “many deadlocks and interruptions,” because of the pandemic.

Duy is the admin of an online group of international students studying abroad in China, which has around 54,000 members.

Adding to the worries and frustrations of foreign students was recent information that China’s Ministry of Education and universities was planning not to support online learning with scholarship funds.

Some schools have also said they find it difficult to organize online classes because they do not find them effective.

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Duyen (pink jacket, second from right, top row) and Vietnamese students at a cultural event at Fuzhou University, China’s Fujian Province, November 2019. Photo courtesy of Duyen

On hold

Many students have been forced to put their academic programs on hold since they are struggling financially to cover living expenses while paying full tuition fees.

Online learning has also meant that some subjects have not been taught yet, and Duyen said this is affecting her chance to retain her scholarship. Each term, the school reviews a student’s academic performance and in order to retain her scholarships, Duyen can only have two subjects with less than 80 percent scores.

In September, when she began the first semester of her second year, Duyen received an email from the school, suggesting that international students reserve their seats with the current program, but temporarily suspend their studies till the pandemic situation stabilizes and they can return. She did so without hesitation.

When she was in China, Duyen studied materials in both Chinese and English. But after returning to Vietnam, she has not been able to find the books that her lecturers suggest. After reserving her seat and suspending classes, Duyen has begun working part-time for a Taiwanese website, teaching Vietnamese online to earn an income.

Duyen’s case is not an exception, Duy said.

Results from a quick survey in his online group show that of about 60 participants, five students had temporarily suspended their academic program, three had dropped out and the rest were studying online.

Most students said they have “ineffective” lessons and have “extremely frustrating” experiences because of poor internet connections, lack of practice and interaction with peers.

Some students have actually given up their scholarships and looked to continue their education in Vietnam.

Pham Phuong Thao won a Chinese government scholarship this year to study marketing at the China University of Petroleum in Shandong Province. She wanted to experience a new learning environment and meet people from different cultures, an important factor in deciding to study abroad.

She spent a week deciding between studying temporarily at a school in the countryside while studying online in China or giving up her scholarship and returning to Hanoi.

“Instead of living with the uncertainty of returning to China, I can complete my studies in Vietnam. Online learning is not suitable for me, so I gave up the scholarship,” she explained.

Thao is a student majoring in Chinese at Thang Long University now. Since she scored 6 points in the Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi (HSK), a Chinese proficiency test, she was able to advance to the second year.

China currently ranks third in the world for the number of international students after the U.S. and the U.K.

According to December 2020 statistics compiled by Chinese social network Tencent, Vietnam has 13,549 international students in China, the fifth-largest contingent after South Korea, the U.S., Japan and Thailand.

The Chinese government said in July that it always valued international students and would consider “synchronous” arrangements for their return to China in keeping with pandemic-related safety requirements.

Since there has been no mention of possible dates mentioned, Vietnamese students of Chinese universities continue to remain in limbo.

Source: https://e.vnexpress.net/news/life/trend/vietnamese-students-of-chinese-universities-yearn-to-resume-offline-classes-4374269.html

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Comics illustrated by Vietnamese painter published in Japan

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The Vietnamese version (left) and the Japanese version of the comic book Friends. Photo courtesy of Kim Đồng Publishing House

HÀ NỘI A children’s comic book called Friends featuring illustrations by a Vietnamese artist, has been published by Japan’s Sunny Side Publishing House.

The picture book, or Ehon in Japanese, was written by Aihara Hiroyuki, a Japanese writer who has published more than 100 Ehon books, and illustrated by Vietnamese painter Đôm Đốm. The book, a project by Hà Nội-based Kim Đồng Publishing House, was released in both Vietnamese and Japanese in 2020.

In the letter to readers Hiroyuki wrote: “As a Japanese, I wish to become friends with Vietnamese readers, and that we could travel together to explore Việt Nam’s nature like the two main characters Brown Bear and Black Cat in this story. It would be so much fun if that wish could come true, and that’s why I’m writing this story.

“Artist Đôm Đốm has illustrated my feelings with wonderful paintings. I really like her paintings and hope you do too. Have you seen the images of the Japanese through the calm Brown Bear and of the Vietnamese through brave Black Cat? Beginning with an accidental meeting then embarking on a journey together, two of them gradually understand and support each other, and finally win each other’s trust. I would be very happy if children of the two countries would also share such a strong bond of friendship in the future.”

After reading the Vietnamese version, the author expressed his wish to have the comic published in Japan by Sunny Side Publishing House. He presented his book to the Vietnamese Embassy in Japan when the Japanese version was released.

 “I hope this wonderful book will be read by many Japanese children and therefore more Japanese and Vietnamese kids could be friends,” said Vietnamese ambassador in Japan Vũ Hồng Nam.

Previously, the copyrights of two other books published by Kim Đồng Publishing House, Chang Hoang Dã – Gấu (Saving Sorya – Chang and the Sun Bear) and Đúng là Tết (This is Tết), have been purchased by two publishing houses in the UK and Germany respectively. The latter is also in the process of being negotiated for publication in France.

Vũ Thị Quỳnh Liên, Deputy Director and Editor-in-Chief of Kim Đồng Publishing House, said: “More Vietnamese books have been copyrighted and published abroad, which show the increasing interest of international readers in Vietnamese authors’ topics and expressions. This is a great joy for people working in the field of creativity in the country.”

Artist Đốm Đốm, real name is Vũ Thủy Ngọc Hà. Photo thethaovanhoa.vn

Đốm Đốm, whose real name is Vũ Thủy Ngọc Hà, is an illustrator of children’s books and comics. Some of her illustrations have since been published, including Hoàng Tử Rơm (The Straw Prince), Bàn Tay Của Bố (Father’s Hand, Cuộc Phiêu Lưu Của Jenny Ở Vương Quốc Ham Chơi (Jenny’s Adventures in the Gluttony Kingdom), and Chuyện Này Chuyện Kia (This and That Story).

She was awarded the first prize at Scholastic Picture Book Award 2019 for her book The Girl on the Roof and the Boy on the Beach. The book has been recently published by Scholastic Corporation, an American multinational publisher.

Source: https://vietnamnews.vn/life-style/1063161/comics-illustrated-by-vietnamese-painter-published-in-japan.html

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Appointment decision presented to Vietnam’s Honorary Consul to Switzerland

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Vietnamese Ambassador to Switzerland Le Linh Lan on October 21 presented a decision to officially appoint Dr. Philipp Rosler – former Deputy Prime Minister of Germany, as the first ever Honorary Consul of Vietnam to Switzerland.

Appointment decision presented to Vietnam’s Honorary Consul to Switzerland hinh anh 1

Vietnamese Ambassador to Switzerland Le Linh Lan presents the decision to Dr. Philipp Rosler. (Photo: VNA)

Vietnamese Ambassador to Switzerland Le Linh Lan on October 21 presented a decision to officially appoint Dr. Philipp Rosler – former Deputy Prime Minister of Germany, as the first ever Honorary Consul of Vietnam to Switzerland.

In her speech at the handover ceremony, Ambassador Lan congratulated Dr. Rosler on his new role and emphasised the importance of Switzerland to Vietnam and the potential for cooperation and partnership between the two countries.

Especially, 2021 will mark the 50th founding anniversary of diplomatic relations, and 30 years of development cooperation between the two countries, she said.

In recent years, the Vietnam-Switzerland cooperation has developed strongly, with Switzerland becoming an important trade, investment and economic partner of Vietnam.

Appointment decision presented to Vietnam’s Honorary Consul to Switzerland hinh anh 2

At the handover ceremony. 

In 2019, two-way trade reached 3.6 billion USD. About 140 Swiss companies including world-class names such as Nestle, ABB, Novartis, Roche, and Holcim, have invest in Vietnam and reaped success with a total investment capital of nearly 2 billion USD.

Switzerland is currently the sixth largest European investor in Vietnam.

Talking to the Vietnam News Agency’s correspondent in Switzerland, Rosler said many Swiss companies want to make field trips to Vietnam to explore business opportunities in the Southeast Asian nation.

Swiss businesses pin high hope on the upcoming visit of Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc to Switzerland, he said.

At a roundtable on business prospect and opportunities in the field of digital transformation and startup ecosystem in Vietnam which took place after the handover ceremony, representatives from Swiss businesses shared their experience in doing business in the Vietnamese market.

They said that Vietnam is a dynamic country and an open market for foreign investors.

A number of Swiss businesses that have been operating in Vietnam such as Zuellig Pharma and Bellecapital believed that Vietnam’s economy will continue to maintain a fast growth rate in the next 10-15 years.

Algerian Ambassador honoured with friendship insignia

Appointment decision presented to Vietnam’s Honorary Consul to Switzerland
Algerian Ambassador to Vietnam Mohamed Berrah (L) receives the “For peace and friendship among nations” insignia.

Algerian Ambassador to Vietnam Mohamed Berrah has been honoured with the “For peace and friendship among nations” insignia for his contribution to promoting the friendship between people of Vietnam and Algeria.

At a ceremony held in Hanoi on October 21, President of the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations (VUFO) Ambassador Nguyen Phuong Nga said the Vietnam-Algeria friendship and cooperation have flourished during Berrah’s six-year term.

The two sides successfully held the 11th meeting of the InterGovernmental Committee which provides the basis to effectively implement joint activities and cooperation projects.

Bilateral economic and trade relations remain stable despite the difficulties triggered by COVID-19 for the global economy.

Nga spoke highly of the Algerian diplomat’s contributions to enhancing solidarity and people-to-people exchange between the two countries, as he had regularly worked with the Vietnam-Algeria Friendship Association to discuss measures to bolster cooperation, and met with Vietnamese experts who used to work in the African nation.

Of note, he has been working with relevant agencies in Vietnam since early this year to adapt a famous Algerian author’s work on President Ho Chi Minh into a play, in a hope of bringing the warm feeling of Algerian people for their Vietnamese counterparts and for the late President of Vietnam to the Vietnamese audience on the occasion of the 60th founding anniversary of the diplomatic ties in 2022.

For his part, the Algerian Ambassador pledged that in any future position, he will continue to contribute to the friendship and cooperation between people of Algeria and Vietnam.

Honorary Consul General of Vietnam in RoK honoured

Appointment decision presented to Vietnam’s Honorary Consul to Switzerland
Vietnamese Ambassador to the RoK Nguyen Vu Tung (L) presents certificate of merit to Honorary Consul General Park Soo-kwan

Vietnamese Ambassador to the Republic of Korea (RoK) Nguyen Vu Tung on October 20 presented Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh’s certificate of merit to Honorary Consul General of Vietnam in the RoK’s Busan-Gyeongnam region Park Soo-kwan in honour of his active and effective contributions to bilateral economic, cultural and educational ties.

At the ceremony, Park pledged to do his best to continue contributing to the Vietnam – RoK relationship.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic in Vietnam, Park actively joined in pandemic prevention and control, and offered suggestions to the Vietnamese Government, together with the RoK business community, to ensure the dual goal of fighting the pandemic and restoring economic development.

In his capacity as Honorary Consul General of Vietnam in Busan-Gyeongnam region since 2010, he has worked closely with the Vietnamese Embassy in the RoK to bolster bilateral trategic cooperative partnership, especially friendly ties between twin cities of Ho Chi Minh and Busan via trade-investment promotion and exchange activities, and sharing of information on culture and education.

He also supported activities of the Vietnamese community in the RoK. Notably, Vietnam received martime training ship Hannara donated by the RoK Government, thanks to his assistance.

Earlier in 2021, Park was also awarded with the Friendship Order of the Vietnamese State./. 

Source: VNA

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/vietnam-world/appointment-decision-presented-to-vietnam-s-honorary-consul-to-switzerland-785043.html

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