International friends’ heart and love for Hanoi

Friday, 2019-02-22 16:27:58
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Paul George Harding is teaching English to children.
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NDO – With wonderful culture, landscapes, people and historical values, Hanoi has always been an ideal destination for international friends, including those who have vowed to devote part of their life to the capital city’s development.

Contributing to promoting Hanoi’s culture

Since being a student and then becoming Palestinian Ambassador to Vietnam, Saadi Salama has made a strong attachment to Hanoi. He has a thorough knowledge of each street as well as the lifestyle, customs and habits of Hanoians. Considering himself as a local citizen, Salama realised his responsibility for the capital’s development. Therefore, he has actively promoted the city’s cultural identities to international friends, particularly the Palestinian people.

Palestinian Ambassador to Vietnam, Saadi Salama, is joining humanitarian blood donation campaign. (Photo: VNA)

In his diplomatic activities and meetings, Salama has spent time introducing the cultural and historical values and the development of Vietnam’s capital city. Notably, the spirit and culture of Hanoians have been highlighted in his Arabic articles.

In addition, the Ambassador has enthusiastically joined many cultural and diplomatic activities held in Hanoi, including friendship spring trips, the Hanoimoi newspaper Run for Peace and international culinary festivals. In the classes for diplomats working in Hanoi, Ambassador Salama has played a role in teaching Vietnamese. For him, the work in Vietnamese classes has helped him convey the Vietnamese culture to diplomats.

Creating a new face for the capital city

The Uruguay-born expert Martin Rama, who is also the Chief Economist for the South Asia region of the World Bank, has fallen in love with Hanoi since he first came here over 20 years ago and having spent eight years living in Hanoi as a Lead Economist of the World Bank in Vietnam. During his stay here, he has captured thousands of photos and read many articles about the capital city. With a deep love, he published the book titled ‘Hanoi, mot chon rong choi’ (Hanoi – a place to play) that was honoured with the Bui Xuan Phai – For the Love of Hanoi Award.

Martin Rama first visited Hanoi in 1998.

Returning to Hanoi this time, Martin Rama was admired for his project for sustainable urban development in Hanoi, aiming to find a model to harmonise the urban development and preservation of typical architecture. Under his project, a block of single houses was trial renovated, meeting the requirements for development but not breaking old architecture and landscapes. He said that if people have the correct view of the street block in architecture, they will have a good knowledge in planning. The project is now being studied carefully to bring about high applicability.

Free English classes

Paul George Harding was a paratrooper from the US Air Force Brigade No.173 fighting in the South Central battlefield in Vietnam in 1969. He returned to Vietnam in late 2014 with regret, wishing to compensate for the mistakes he made during the war. At that time, the American veteran opened a free English class for Vietnamese people in Hanoi.

Originating from a small course in the inner city, the class has developed into a centre with around 600-700 students of all ages, from kindergarten children to adults and even elderlies at the age of 60-70. After four years, Harding decided to move his centre to Xuan Mai town, Chuong My district for people in suburban areas. Currently, the centre consists of over ten classes with 350 students. With enthusiastic and cheerful guidance, he has always inspired the spirit of learning among his students.

In the evening, he and his volunteers teach English in the centre, while teaching English for free at Vietnam National University of Forestry (VNUF) and Forestry High School in the district in the daytime. He intended to locate the centre in Chuong My district for two years and then move to another place.

In addition to Palestinian Ambassador to Vietnam Saadi Salama, economic expert Martin Rama and the US veteran Paul George Harding, there are many foreigners who are sacrificing their minds and affection for Hanoi.