Decision 208/QD-TTg: Approving The Strategy On Cultural Diplomacy Through 2020

Published: 2011-02-14

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Number: 208/QD-TTg
Independence - Freedom - Happiness
Ha Noi , February 14, 2011


Decision No. 208/QD-TTg of February 14, 2011, approving the strategy on cultural diplomacy through 2020


Pursuant to the December 25, 2001 Law on Organization of the Government;

At the proposal of the Minister of Foreign Affairs,


Article 1. To approve the Strategy on cultural diplomacy through 2020 enclosed with this Decision.

Article 2. This Decision takes effect on the date of its signing.

Article 3. Ministers, heads of ministerial-level agencies, heads of government-attached agencies and chairpersons of provincial-level People’s Committees shall implement this Decision.


Strategy on cultural diplomacy through 2020

(Enclosed with the Prime Minister’s Decision No. 208/QD-TTg of February 14, 2011)


Given the current trend of globalization and intensive and extensive international integration, cultural diplomacy has been increasingly used in diversified forms and plays a more important role in the diplomacy of each country because the strong pervasiveness of culture has enormous impacts on building confidence, helping further deepen and tighten political and economic ties between countries.

In the first decade of the 21st century, with the strong development of the Vietnamese culture profoundly imbued with national identity and the intensive and extensive international integration of the country, Vietnam has promoted and is promoting the strength of culture in foreign relations, aiming to successfully implement the external-relations policy of the Party and the State. Vietnam’s cultural diplomacy is defined as carrying out cultural activities guided by the State in order to achieve political, economic and cultural objectives in line with general requirements of foreign relations work. Cultural diplomacy embraces five major activities: opening and establishing relations with countries and regions that have not many relations with Vietnam; promoting, increasing and deepening understanding with other countries and promoting the image of the Vietnamese land and people in the international arena; lobbying for more Vietnamese heritages to be recognized by UNESCO and absorbing the cultural quintessence of mankind so as to enrich the national cultural identity.

Over the past five years, cultural diplomacy has received ever greater attention in the spirit of proactive and active international integration and expansion of relations in all external-relation activities of the Party and the State. This work should be systematically implemented with clearer focuses and priorities through 2020 to more effectively implement the strategy on comprehensive diplomacy, contributing to turning Vietnam into a modernity-oriented industrial country by 2020.

The formulation of the strategy on cultural diplomacy through 2020 aims to clearly define the objectives, tasks and major solutions for developing cultural diplomacy into an important pillar of Vietnam’s comprehensive and modern diplomacy, contributing to preserving a peaceful environment, creating international conditions conducive to the cause of renewal, and stepping up the national socio-economic development, industrialization and modernization.


1. Awareness:

Awareness of high-ranking leaders and leaders of all levels, sectors and localities at home and abroad about the necessity and importance of cultural diplomacy has been raised. Cultural diplomacy has received initial attention from and active involvement of agencies, ministries, sectors, localities, enterprises and social strata.

Awareness about the role and responsibilities of social organizations and enterprises in carrying out cultural diplomatic activities has been initially improved. Promotional and cultural exchange activities and art performance programs have been organized at home and abroad, and conferences and seminars have also been actively responded by many social strata and enterprises, through which cultural diplomatic activities have been further socialized. 

2. Coordination among agencies involved in cultural diplomacy:

Coordination among ministries, sectors and localities in carrying out cultural diplomatic activities has become more and more effective. Concerned ministries and agencies, such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, have signed cooperation agreements clearly identifying responsible and coordinating agencies in implementing these activities at home and abroad. Localities nationwide have also played an active role in promoting their image through festive and cultural events in their localities and actively prepared dossiers for recognition of international cultural titles.

3. Some specific results of cultural diplomatic activities:

Cultural diplomatic activities have been initially linked to political diplomacy during high-ranking leaders’ visits to enhance understanding between Vietnam and international friends, such as organizing art performance programs, Hue royal music performances, Vietnam Culture Days in foreign countries, musical instruments and photo exhibitions introducing the Vietnamese land and people, etc., through which Vietnam’s economic potential and tourism as a safe destination are also introduced to foreign investors and traders.

Cultural diplomatic activities have actively contributed to lobbying for such international cultural titles as World Cultural Heritage for Thang Long Royal Citadel and Intangible Cultural Heritage for ca tru and quan ho; and assisted localities in organizing cultural, tourist and cuisine festivals, international fireworks competitions, etc.

Through cultural diplomatic activities, the cultural values and quintessence and wisdom of other countries around the world have been selectively absorbed in order to further enrich the Vietnamese culture and improve the quality of the people’s cultural life and concurrently convey a wide range of ideas and significant programs of the United Nations and UNESCO into many national programs of action such as building a “learning society” and “ information society”, and “education for all.”

4. Limitations:

Cultural diplomatic activities in recent years, albeit more diversified, are not quite effective, failing to meet requirements of the new situation; their contents and forms have not yet met specific needs of each target group and area. Cultural products introduced abroad remain few in quantity and limited in quality. Physical and technical facilities for cultural diplomatic work are still inadequate and obsolete.

Coordination among branches and agencies in cultural diplomatic activities is not truly close.

The qualifications of cultural diplomacy personnel are still limited and the number of staff engaged in cultural diplomacy is small.

Awareness of social strata about the role, position and importance of cultural diplomacy is not highly unanimous whereas this type of activity requires close collaboration between state and private sectors, especially the involvement of masses.

5. Cause of limitations:

Cultural diplomacy is a new field and concept not yet clearly defined. Awareness about its importance is not high in the absence of a document stating general guidelines of the Party and State serving as a basis for achieving uniform awareness about the tasks, coordination mechanism and implementation of activities among ministries and sectors and between the central government and localities. 

Due to the lack of a mechanism for uniformly directing and managing cultural diplomatic activities from the central government to ministries, sectors and localities and at home and abroad, these activities remain spontaneous, scattered and overlapping.

Resources for cultural diplomatic activities remain limited. 


1. International context:

Peace and cooperation for mutual development coupled with struggle continue to be the prevailing trend in international relations in the coming time. Globalization, information technology and exchange  continue to strongly develop in all fields. In this context, on the one hand, countries will proactively engage in the process of cultural exchange for development and identity assertion and influence expansion in the international arena. On the other hand, countries have realized that the process of globalization can make cultural differences more prominent, which constitute one of possible causes of ethnic and religious conflicts. Therefore, cultural diplomacy will play an ever more important role in promoting cooperation and preventing potential conflicts in international relations.

In Southeast Asia, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is vigorously promoting cultural cooperation with the building of the ASEAN community by 2015, in which the cultural and social community is one of the three principal pillars. The idea of building an East Asian community is also in the making, with promoting cultural exchange activities being a key adhesive.

2. Domestic situation:

After 25 years of renewal, Vietnam has made outstanding achievements in many aspects and integrated rather intensively and extensively in international life. The country has normalized and incrementally built and upgraded stable and lasting framework relations with major countries and world and regional economic and political centers. With the spirit of proactive integration, the country has made use of many external resources in combination with tapping the internal potential for the cause of national economic development and industrialization and modernization.

In the time to come, external relations work has the tasks of firmly maintaining a peaceful setting, creating favorable international conditions for the cause of renewal, stepping up national socio-economic development, industrialization and modernization and construction and defense of the Fatherland, and at the same time making active contributions to the common struggle of the world people for peace, national independence, democracy and social progress; making the established international relations more profound, stable and lasting, especially in the fields of economic development, science and technology, education and training, culture, social affairs and sports. The country’s position and strength both permit and require more effective promotion of cultural diplomacy to perform these tasks.


1. Objectives:

To strongly step up cultural diplomatic activities to make the world better understand the Vietnamese land, people and culture, further build confidence of other countries, make the relations between Vietnam and its partners more profound, stable and lasting, thereby raising the country’s status in the international arena and facilitating its socio-economic development. Cultural diplomatic activities will also contribute to absorbing the cultural quintessence of mankind, enriching and deepening the national traditional cultural values.

2. Viewpoints:

Cultural diplomacy, together with economic diplomacy and political diplomacy, are the three pillars of Vietnam’s comprehensive and modern diplomacy. These three pillars are closely associated and interacted, contributing to implementing the external relation line of the Party and the State. Political diplomacy plays the guiding role, economic diplomacy serves as the physical foundation and cultural diplomacy is the spiritual foundation of external relation activities.

Cultural diplomacy is not a separate sphere, neither it has its own organizational apparatus. It is a common activity and task of Party organizations, state agencies, enterprises, localities, all Vietnamese people and overseas Vietnamese compatriots under the uniform management of the State.

Cultural diplomatic activities shall be carried out in line with the viewpoints clearly set forth in the Communist Party of Vietnam’s Political Program for national construction during the period of transition to socialism (amended, developed in 2011): “To build a Vietnamese culture which is advanced and profoundly imbued with national identity, develops comprehensively, incarnates unity in diversity, and deeply reflects humanism, democracy and progress; make culture, closely associated and thoroughly incorporated with the entire social life, a major endogenous force for development. To inherit and promote the fine cultural traditions of the community of Vietnamese ethnic groups, acquire the cultural quintessence of the mankind, build a democratic, equitable and advanced society caring for true human interests and dignity, with ever higher levels of knowledge, ethics, physical strength and aesthetics.”

The development of national culture is the foundation for promoting the Vietnamese culture to the world in general and cultural diplomatic activities in particular, and cultural diplomatic activities in the 2010-2020 period must have priorities and focuses, aiming at proper target groups, and suiting the conditions and economic resources of the country.  


1. Policies:

a) Promoting theory on and awareness about cultural diplomacy:

To complete the theoretical system on cultural diplomacy, including definition and connotation and the role and position of cultural diplomacy in Vietnam’s comprehensive and modern diplomacy; and close combination between cultural diplomacy, political diplomacy and economic diplomacy and overseas Vietnamese affairs in order to create overall diplomatic strength.

To step up strategic research and forecast development trends of culture and cultural diplomacy in the region and the world which will affect Vietnam through national, regional and international conferences, meetings, talks and exchanges, for proposing to the Party and the State policies concerning cultural diplomacy.

To create common awareness and consensus among leaders of all levels, sectors and localities on the necessity and importance of cultural diplomacy with a view to turning this work into a routine duty of all agencies from central to local level and of the whole society.

b) Continuing building and perfecting mechanism and policies on cultural diplomacy:

To complete the system of comprehensive and synchronous mechanisms and policies on cultural diplomacy in accordance with the State’s laws and the Party’s external relation line; to adjust and supplement cultural diplomacy policies according to the country’s development situation and international commitments.

To link cultural diplomacy with five-year socio-economic development plans of all levels, sectors and localities; to integrate cultural diplomatic activities in the implementation of Vietnam’s strategies on cultural development and tourism development through 2020, with a view to magnifying efforts to achieve the socio-economic development objectives of localities.

To formulate a mechanism for coordination among ministries, sectors and localities in implementing cultural diplomatic activities in order to clearly identify the functions and tasks of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the Ministry of Information and Communications and other concerned ministries, sectors and localities in organizing and coordinating foreign-involved cultural programs and activities at home and abroad, specifically:

- The Ministry of Foreign Affairs shall explore, study and propose organization of Vietnamese cultural activities overseas, which must be effective and practical, have focuses and priorities suitable to target groups, and absorb the quintessence of host countries into Vietnam.

- The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism shall assume the prime responsibility for, and coordinate with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in, implementing foreign-involved cultural activities and programs to receive foreign cultural and art troupes in Vietnam, and guiding Vietnamese heritages, scenic places and cultural traditions to international friends.

- The Ministry of Information and Communications shall coordinate with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in issuing guidelines on the provision of information for foreign press, and overseas Vietnamese and international communities.

- Friendship associations and socio-political mass organizations shall combine cultural diplomatic activities in the course of implementing person-to-person diplomatic activities.

2. Specific measures:

a) Stepping up training and re-training of human resources for cultural diplomacy work:

To build a contingent of cultural diplomacy professionals to meet requirements of the new period. To increase training in knowledge about culture and cultural diplomacy for external relations officers and officers of overseas Vietnamese representative missions and cultural centers and halls.

To increase knowledge about cultural diplomacy for foreign affairs and culture officers of provinces and cities; to continue running re-training courses in knowledge about diplomacy in general and cultural diplomacy in particular, and  knowledge about organization of foreign-involved cultural events in localities.

To appropriately introduce cultural diplomacy into training programs of specialized tertiary institutions such as the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam, the Culture University, the Academy of Journalism and Communication and universities with relevant disciplines, in order to raise students’ and youths’ knowledge about cultural diplomacy.

To increase cultural exchanges between Vietnamese and regional and international pupils, students and youths.

b) Ensuring resources for cultural diplomacy:

To ensure financial and physical conditions for effective cultural diplomatic activities with state budget funds.

To form a cultural diplomacy fund under the management of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs according to state regulations and corresponding to existing funds of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

To develop programs financed by the fund for Vietnamese artists, scholars, cultural activists, journalists, etc. to participate in international cultural competitions on fine arts, painting, music, cinematography,  fashion, etc. To host these competitions in Vietnam.

Localities shall take the initiative in making plans to use part of local budgets for regular and irregular cultural diplomatic activities in localities, integrate them with national festivals organized in localities, and prepare dossiers for international titles.

To promote socialization, attract enterprises and individuals to finance and contribute funds to cultural diplomatic activities in accordance with law.

c) Closely combining cultural diplomatic activities with overseas Vietnamese community affairs:

To thoroughly grasp Politburo Resolution No. 36)NQ-TW of March 26, 2004, on overseas Vietnamese work in supporting the community of overseas Vietnamese to preserve and promote the national cultural identity in their host countries; to pay attention to and create conditions for the community of overseas Vietnamese in the dual role of both subjects and recipients: receiving healthy cultural information and products from the country in order to preserve and promote the Vietnamese cultural traditions in their families and communal activities, and promoting and introducing the Vietnamese cultural identity to the peoples in their host countries.

To give prominence to popularizing Vietnamese language overseas; to actively implement the “Support the teaching and learning of Vietnamese language for overseas Vietnamese” Project in order to preserve and develop the use of Vietnamese language among overseas Vietnamese on a trial basis in Laos, Cambodia, Russia, Czech, the USA and Canada.

d) Closely associating cultural diplomacy with political diplomacy and economic diplomacy:

Annually, based on practical demand, to organize Vietnamese Day programs in foreign countries and cultural events on the occasion of significant events such as anniversaries of the days of establishment of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and host countries, Vietnam’s national day, etc., or on the occasion of Vietnamese high-ranking leaders’ visits to other countries and foreign high-ranking leaders’ visits to Vietnam, contributing to making the relations between Vietnam and other countries profound and lasting, enhance the friendship and mutual understanding and trust between Vietnamese and other peoples, at the same time mobilizing and attracting foreign investors and international tourists, promoting trade and facilitating expansion of cooperative relations in other fields.

e) Further promoting the image of Vietnam:

To implement specific plans and activities to promote the image of the Vietnamese land, people and culture with messages about a nation with a unique culture and glorious history, a country with vehement vitality and rich potential and great achievements in its renewal cause, and an industrious, creative, friendly and peace-loving people. At the same time, to further introduce the Vietnamese people through the images of national heroines, cultural celebrities as well as typical beautiful characteristics of Vietnamese people. To combine cultural diplomatic and external relation information activities in this work.

To promote the identity of the Vietnamese culture in different sectors and trades in boosting socio-economic development in localities and the country as a whole. To concentrate on cultural diplomatic activities in the areas in which Vietnam has strengths, such as eco-tourism, festive tourism, traditional craft village tourism, organization of international exhibitions and displays of Vietnamese handicrafts and fine arts products and local specialties, and introduction of Vietnamese literature and arts to international friends. To build a national image suitable to Vietnamese culture aiming to promote the image of Vietnam in the international arena.

To step up cultural diplomatic activities in different regions, chiefly in major countries, neighboring countries and ASEAN countries in order to make use of opportunities of cooperation in economic, political and social domains. To increase cooperation in cultural diplomacy at bilateral and multilateral forums like UNESCO, ASEAN, ASEM, EAS, Francophone, the United Nations, etc., thereby contributing to promoting the image of Vietnam to other countries, making these relations profound, stable and lasting.

To attach importance to publishing and disseminating overseas valuable and quality art works, publications of famous writers, poets and researchers introducing the customs and practices and costumes of Vietnamese ethnic minority groups, scenic places, craft villages and cinematographic, musical, painting, fine art, photographic and architectural works.

To utilize information and communication equipment and technologies, multimedia and create separate websites of art associations, etc., in order to introduce the Vietnamese land, culture and people in multi languages; to develop satellite television programs in some foreign languages, helping international friends have access to and better understand Vietnam.

To plan and create unique traits for national and international festivals periodically organized in major provinces and cities across the country, cultural contests of paintings, movies, books and instrumental music performances, etc., in conformity with the Party’s policies and line, national customs, practices and culture, and international practices.

Localities shall take the initiative in coordinating with concerned ministries and branches in organizing foreign-involved cultural programs in their localities or overseas in order to introduce and popularize local unique cultural traits; and at the same time proactively expand exchange and cooperation with foreign cities and localities.

To promote cultural diplomacy as part of person-to-person diplomacy.

To build a strong contingent of cultural enterprises; to closely combine a number of Vietnamese quality goods brands with unique national cultural characteristics.

To bring into play the role of overseas Vietnamese representative missions in researching and selecting foreign experiences and lessons for advising domestic agencies on cultural diplomacy policies and the organization of Vietnamese cultural activities overseas. Annually, these missions should make specific plans on cultural diplomatic activities and funds for their implementation.

To standardize ceremonials at overseas Vietnamese representative missions, external-relation costumes and presents in order to popularize and introduce Vietnamese cultural traits.

To establish and manage activities of Vietnamese cultural centers and halls overseas under the “Building Vietnamese cultural centers overseas” Project, which has been approved by the Government. First of all, to review and draw experiences on the model of operation and management of Vietnamese cultural halls in Laos, France, Japan, Russian Federation and the United States. To strive to establish and put into operation a network of 5-10 cultural centers and halls in important foreign regions by 2020.

f) Diversifying forms of lobbying for international titles:

To perfect and assess the impacts of Vietnam’s international cultural titles to support the introduction and popularization of the country’s scenic places, historical relics and cultural personalities; to further diversify of types and forms of lobbying for international cultural titles.

To strengthen and promote the role of the Vietnam National UNESCO Committee, the agency responsible for and advising the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Government on issues on the relation with UNESCO, propose and evaluate dossiers to be submitted to UNESCO for recognition of international titles.

Localities shall discover and work out roadmaps for lobbying international organizations to recognize international cultural titles, such as Tangible and Intangible Cultural Heritages, World Biosphere Reserve, International Network of Geoparks, Documentary Heritage under the Memory of the World Program, New Natural Wonders of the World, City for Peace, Creative City, etc.

To intensify the conservation, preservation and promotion of the values of the recognized heritages, making practical contributions to the socio-economic development of localities with such heritages.

g) Absorbing the cultural quintessence of mankind:

To intensify research and selective absorption of the cultural and intellectual quintessence, good experiences and advanced sciences around the world into Vietnam, inherit and promote the national cultural identity in order to perfect and enrich the Vietnamese cultural and intellectual treasure, at the same time to introduce the cultural quintessence of Vietnam abroad, contributing to supplementing the cultural quintessence of mankind.

To combat unhealthy cultural products penetrating into Vietnam from outside. At the same time to promptly and effectively refute incorrect and distorting tones of forces that oppose the state through vicious propaganda about Vietnam, national leaders and personalities, national history, land and people.


1. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs shall assume the prime responsibility for, and coordinate with concerned ministries and sectors and provincial-level People’s Committees in, implementing the Strategy on cultural diplomacy through 2020; elaborate and implement annual plans on cultural diplomacy in line with the Strategy and socio-economic development plans; and guide, inspect, supervise and review the implementation for periodical reporting to the Prime Minister.

2. The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism shall coordinate with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other concerned ministries and sectors in organizing and implementing cultural diplomacy activities and the national promotion program within its competence according to annual plans and the Strategy on cultural diplomacy through 2020; and direct activities of overseas Vietnamese cultural centers and halls according to long-term and annual plans.

3. The Ministry of Education and Training shall assume the prime responsibility for, and coordinate with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in, elaborating and implementing human resource training plans; and introducing the content of cultural diplomacy in training institutions with disciplines related to diplomacy and culture. 

4. The Ministry of Finance shall assume the prime responsibility for, and coordinate with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and concerned ministries and branches in, developing a mechanism for managing the cultural diplomacy fund to finance cultural diplomatic activities; and formulating policies to encourage all socio-economic sectors to invest in these activities.

5. The Ministry of Home Affairs shall assume the prime responsibility for, and coordinate with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism in, determining payrolls and formulating regimes and policies for state employees engaged in cultural diplomacy work in Vietnam and at overseas Vietnamese representative missions and cultural centers and halls.

6. The Ministry of Information and Communications shall assume the prime responsibility for, and coordinate with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and concerned ministries and sectors in, planning the network of overseas Vietnamese news and press agencies; and formulating mechanisms and policies for the development and management of the publication and dissemination of publications that promote the Vietnamese image, and coordinating external information and cultural diplomatic activities. 

7. Ministries, ministerial-level agencies and government-attached agencies shall, according to their respective functions and tasks, implement the Strategy on cultural diplomacy through 2020 within the scope of their competence; coordinate with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other ministries and agencies in implementing cultural diplomacy tasks nationwide and globally and send annual reports to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for summarization and submission to the Prime Minister.

8. Provincial-level People’s Committees shall carry out cultural diplomatic activities in their respective localities according to their competence; draw up and implement annual plans on cultural diplomacy in accordance with the Strategy on cultural diplomacy through 2020 and local socio-economic development plans in the same period, and send annual reports to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for summarization and submission to the Prime Minister.

Deputy Prime Minister



Pham Gia Khiem