Visit in Hue
Norwegian organisations have been conducting activities in Vietnam for several decades. Today Their Royal Highnesses The Crown Prince and Crown Princess visited three projects in Hue, all of which enhance safety for and the skills of children and young people.
The day began in Hanoi, where the Crown Prince and Crown Princess met with the president of Vietnam, Mr Truong Tan Sang. President Sang asked the Crown Prince and Crown Princess to convey his greetings to Their Majesties King Harald and Queen Sonja, who conducted a State Visit to Vietnam in 2004.
Travelled to Hue
Following the meeting with the president, Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit travelled to Hue. The city is regarded as the cultural capital of Vietnam, and several of the city’s temples, mausoleums and pagodas are inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
One of these sites is the Ho Dynasty citadel, where the Crown Prince and Crown Princess met with the representatives of the local authorities, the People’s Committee of Hue. The chair of the committee emphasised the importance of the cooperative effort with Norwegian organisations over the course of several decades.
Learned about projects
Norwegian organisations have had a presence in Hue for many years. In the afternoon, Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit paid a visit to Huong An Secondary School to learn about projects being carried out by Norwegian Church Aid, Norwegian People’s Aid and Football for All.
Detonated cluster bombs
In 2011, revenues from Norway’s annual television fundraiser went to support the important work of clearing landmines carried out by Norwegian People’s Aid. Crown Prince Haakon was the Royal Patron of the fundraising event, and today he and the Crown Princess had the opportunity to see how some of the funds are being used.
The Crown Prince and Crown Princess were given a presentation on the activities carried out by Norwegian People’s Aid in Vietnam. The organisation works in various parts of the country with surveying, marking and removing landmines. The landmines are detonated under controlled conditions, ensuring that roads and agricultural land are once again safe and secure.
One of the projects with which Norwegian People’s Aid is involved is conducted in cooperation with the Football for All project.
Football fields cleared of landmines
Football for All works with children and young people in Hue – and its involvement is broader in scope than the name would suggest. Using children’s interest in football as a starting point, the organisation also teaches children about democracy and cooperation, hygiene, HIV/AIDS and other important topics.
Together with Norwegian People’s Aid, Football for All has a mine clearance project that safeguards children’s play by clearing playgrounds and football fields of landmines and cluster bombs.
Today there was a football game in Huong An, and the Crown Prince and Crown Princess had the honour of kicking off. They also had the opportunity to speak with children, parents and teachers about the project.
Vietnam has been subject to extreme weather brought about by climate change. Violent cloudbursts, typhoons and flooding are occurring more frequently, and an average of 10 children drown each day as a result. Norwegian Church Aid has addressed the problem by providing swimming lessons to children in Hue.
Several hundred children holding Vietnamese and Norwegian flags greeted the Crown Prince and Crown Princess when they arrived to learn more about the project. The children demonstrated their swimming skills and exercises both on land and in the nearby river.
The evening’s programme
During the evening the Crown Prince and Crown Princess attended a banquet with representatives of the local authorities and the Norwegian organisations.
Next they will then travel to Ho Chi Minh City for the final portion of their visit to Vietnam.
Facts about Vietnam
Largest cities: Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Hai Phong
Total area: 331 114 km² (Norway: 385 186 km²)
Population (2011): approximately 90 million
Official language: Vietnamese
Form of government: Socialist republic
Head of state (2014): President Truong Tan Sang
Norway established diplomatic ties with Vietnam on 25 November 1971, and the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Hanoi was officially opened on 10 September 1996. Norway enjoys an open dialogue with the Vietnamese authorities in a wide array of areas, and foreign and development policy issues are discussed on a regular basis.
Cooperation within the business sector is growing. Several Norwegian companies, particularly within the maritime sector, have established themselves in Vietnam.
Source: Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs