Six Vietnamese military personnel received their English certificates in Danang today in a special graduation ceremony on HMS Daring, a Royal Navy ship on her very first visit to Vietnam. The six personnel represented 2 classes of 31 members of Vietnam’s armed forces who successfully completed an English course for UN Peace-Keeping Operations, funded by the UK Ministry of Defence and provided by the British Council Vietnam.
This course is the third in a series of English courses for UN Peace-Keeping Operations. The courses are the the outcome of an historic MoU on defence cooperation between Vietnam and the UK in November 2011. The English course was designed to equip military personnel with English to manage day-to-day communications in an international context.
Joining the ceremony were Dr Antony Stokes, the British Ambassador to Vietnam, Tim Below, Residence Defence Attaché Vietnam, and Angus Essenhigh, Commander, HMS Daring.
Dr Antony Stokes said: ‘It has become an interesting tradition that the graduation day of the course is attended by a special guest. Last time, it was the UK Defence Under Secretary of State, Lord Astor of Hever, who came to Vietnam on the invitation of Vietnam’s Vice Minister of Defence Nguyen Chi Vinh.
‘And this time, it is even more special, taking place on HMS Daring on its very first visit to Vietnam. This event and the English courses are a clear demonstration of the UK’s and Vietnam’s commitments as strategic partners for peace-keeping and education. Moreover, Vietnam’s intention to make its forces available for deployment on such duties shows a visible commitment to play a greater role on the global stage.’
HMS Daring is a £1bn warship which was deployed to the Asia Pacific region for nine months to take part in an exercise with Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Malaysia as part of the Five Powers Defence Arrangement. Most recently, HMS Daring was re-tasked to the Philippines to deliver aid after Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines in November.
Danang, one of the most beautiful and dynamic cities in Vietnam, is a magnet for Vietnam–UK joint projects. A prime example is the proposed establishment of the Vietnam–UK University, which demonstrates the commitment of both the UK and Vietnamese governments. The project is led by the British Council Vietnam.
In November, the Vietnam–UK Institute of Education and Research (based at the University of Danang) was approved by the Minister of Education, laying foundation for the future Vietnam – UK University.