The Norwegian Parliament’s Standing Committee on Family and Cultural Affairs visited Vietnam in late March in order to get a better understanding about Vietnam and exchange views on issues of mutual concern. The visit was also an opportunity to highlight the wide range of the bilateral relation in light of the 40 year jubilee of diplomatic relations this year.
The Norwegian Parliament’s Standing Committee on Family and Cultural Affairs are responsible for matters related to families, children and youth in Norway – and gender equality and cultural affairs are also among their tasks.
The Norwegian Committee was hosted by the National Assembly of Vietnam, who provided excellent opportunities for the Norwegian politicians to meet and interact with their Vietnamese colleagues in the National Assembly, the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
The National Assembly also organized interesting visits to some of the many cultural heritage sites in Vietnam, both in Hanoi and Hue.
Both the Norwegian politicians and the FFAV-kids got a lesson on how to recognize a landmine in the footballfield. . Photo: Gunnhild Pauline Baade
The Norwegian Committee visited in addition the Norwegian Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) based in Hue: Football for All Vietnam (FFAV), Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) and Nordic Assistance to Vietnam (NAV).
The three NGOs cooperated in giving the visiting Norwegian politicians a flavor of Vietnamese-Norwegian partnerships in the region, and provided the Committee members with an opportunity to experience firsthand how Norwegian-funded projects help Vietnamese communities.
FFAV provided through their grassroots football club for disabled children an opportunity to come face to face with the Norwegian politicians on the football-field. With good sportsmanship and a high level of football skills the children almost outplayed their adult counterpart in the beginning, before the game evened out. The engaged audience got to witness 10 goals in total, with a 6-4 win to the FFAV-kids. A revenge match has been promised sometime soon!
The FFAV and NPA also cooperate on spreading the knowledge and awareness of landmines in the Vietnamese countryside, and both the kids and the politicians got a lesson on how to handle an encounter.
The Norwegian Parliamentarians also made several fieldtrips to NAV’s projects in the Hue area, which mainly focuses on promoting gender equality and reducing domestic violence.
Through discussions and role-play in local community clubs, the Norwegian politicians saw how actively both women and men were engaged in these matters. The local men and women celebrated the visit by performing several Vietnamese songs, and the Norwegian politicians joined in the singing with traditional folk songs from Norway to thank the community for the hospitality.
The Committee members were impressed by the achievements in the local communities, and stated that despite long distances and cultural differences, both Norway and Vietnam have many similarities and unfortunately face some of the same problems when it comes to family issues and domestic violence.
The Standing Committee on Family and Cultural Affairs continued their regional journey to Cambodia after their visit to Vietnam.