American non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Vietnam: “Peace envoys” (Part I)


Despite some American NGOs’ activities still go agaisnt Vietnam’s laws and policies, even threatening Vietnam’s national security, we should recognize that many American NGOs have tried to fertilize the two countries’ friendship through 20 years after relationship normalization. On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the normalization of the Vietnam - US relations (1995 to 2015), and 70th anniversary of the establishment of the Vietnam - US Friendship Association, let us review American NGOs’ role as peace envoys:   
In 1995, there were about 100 American NGOs cooperating with Vietnam but now in 2015, that number has increased to 300. People call this “soft diplomacy” progress, “peace envoys”, or “ice-breaking organizations” and at the centre are the people organizations which have warmed the environment for diplomatic relations between the two countries. They created conditions for the people of two countries to better understand each other.
 Smiles of Americans
 On days of April 2015, hundreds of children suffering from cleft lip or cleft palate gathered for free treatments and surgeries at the Vietnam - Cuba hospital in Hanoi. Hundreds of children were happy with toys taken by employees and doctors of Operation Smiles. In the consulting-room, an young blonde haired American nurse was cleaning sweat while treating. The child on the table felt embarrassed for his condition. Under the summer sun, the nurse still laughed, she used a hand puppet of a small teddy bear help her take the medical equipment and walked to the 8-year-old child patient and placed in his arms. She smiled and said as a Vietnamese doctor “A”.
 This was not a rare case in Vietnam. For over 25 years Operation Smiles from the US has provided hundreds of thounsands of free surgeries for Vietnamese children to find smiles. Cleft lip or cleft palate surgeries are not merely simple surgeries but also “major surgeries of life” for disabled children. Many of children were given back childhood and changed life from the organization’s mission.
 Not only Operation Smiles, but also hundreds of other US NGOs have gone to Vietnam. They went after the US soldiers in the past to reconcile, doing repentance and charity and liberating obsessions of the Vietnam war.
 According to Mr. Don Tuan Phong, Deputy Chairman and General Secretary of the Union of Friendship Organizations, during 20 years, the diplomatic relations between Vietnam and US not only was shown through official visit by senior leaders of the two countries, but also through exchanges between the two countries’ people which are more and more enlarging, gradually becoming solid basis for the two countries’ diplomatic relations in the future.
 This work has achieved some important results. We can mention that the US NGOs going to Vietnam for humanitarian activities have developed to a large scale. In 1995, there were about 100 American NGOs cooperating with Vietnam but now in 2015, the number has increased to 300. That shows Vietnam’s policy of promoting social organizations.
 In addition to contributing directly to poverty reduction and development, the US NGOs also have activities contributing to improving the bilateral relations, enhancing mutual understanding and expanding diplomatic relations between the two countries while actively supporting Vietnam in international issues in which the country participated in. Some organizations supported Vietnam in the process of negotiating Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement. In particular, a number of organizations have called support for Vietnam in matters of Agent Orange/dioxin, the disable people… These are important steps to consolidate mutual trust when the two countries’ bilateral relations have been extended.
 The growing supports and cooperation from the US to overcome consequences of Agent Orange/dioxin, bombs and mines clearance, helping the disable people in Vietnam have bridged from heart to heart between two countries’s people. At present, the relations between Vietnam and US has opened almost in all fields, showing in the framework of “Comprehensive Partnership” between the two countries./.
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All comments [ 1 ]

Akash jha 23/4/18 18:36

Thanks for share this post and keep share for Child Education Ngo Its valuable and nice information .Thanks for sharing it.

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