Two Vietnamese win top French cultural honor

By Nguyen Quy   July 4, 2020 | 11:47 pm PT
Two Vietnamese win top French cultural honor
Nguyen Ngoc Lan (L), and Tran Vuong Thach, wear their Orders of Arts and Letters at a ceremony in HCMC, July 3, 2020. Photo courtesy of the French Consulate General in HCMC.
The Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters has been conferred on two Vietnamese citizens for their contributions to French culture.

French Ambassador to Vietnam Nicolas Warnery presented the awards to Tran Vuong Thach and Nguyen Ngoc Lan at the office of the Consulate General of France in Ho Chi Minh City Friday evening.

Thach is the director of the Ho Chi Minh City Ballet Symphony Orchestra and Opera (HBSO). He has been deputy chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City Musicians' Association since 2010. Thach has been credited with several initiatives promoting France-Vietnam relations through cultural exchange programs and projects.

In particular, he worked to bring the opera 'Fredegonde' by famous French composer Ernest Guiraud and Camille Saint-Saens to HCMC. Vietnam became the first country to host the opera since it was featured in Paris in 1895.

Lan, meanwhile, has been serving as head of the Institute of Cultural Exchange with France (Idecaf) in HCMC since 2012. She has organized many significant events to build cultural connections between Vietnam and France, as well as other French-speaking countries. She has also played an important role in maintaining a library at Idecaf, the biggest of its kind in Southeast Asia, the French embassy said in a release Saturday.

The Order of the Arts and Letters was established in 1957 to honor individuals around the world who make significant contributions to French culture. Up to 200 people are honored with the Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters each year, according to French government guidelines.

In Vietnam, previous recipients of the Order include late musicologist Tran Van Khe, author Nguyen Huy Thiep, late artist Le Ba Dang, and fashion designer Minh Hanh.

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