‘Vietnam Ancestral Global Day’ (VAGD), was established in 2015 by Nguyen Thi Bich Yen and a team of overseas Vietnamese intellectuals to preserve and honor Vietnamese cultural values.

The main objective of VAGD is to instill a sense of pride in Vietnam among the Vietnamese community worldwide.

An ambitious mission

When Yen first proposed the idea of VAGD, some people questioned its feasibility. However, she firmly believed that with genuine intentions and a focus on benefiting the community, she would receive support from our ancestors.

Over the years, VAGD has successfully inspired overseas Vietnamese to reconnect with their homeland. In 2019, the project management team traveled to four countries in Asia and Europe to prepare for the unveiling of statues of the Hung Kings.

Another touching moment occurred when Yen visited Dong Xuan Market in Berlin, Germany in 2019. She discovered an old collection of Vietnamese poems in a shop and learned that they were the work of the owner’s late father.

Moved by the story, Yen invited the shop owner and her mother to a commemoration ceremony for the Hung Kings in Berlin later that year. During the event, the owner’s mother, dressed in a traditional Vietnamese ao dai, recited her late husband’s poems to a captivated audience.

The poems were a literary snapshot of the family’s hometown in Vietnam and a legacy left behind for future generations. The opportunity to share her husband’s words with fellow countrymen in a foreign land was an unforgettable experience for the shop owner’s mother.

After the ceremony, the wife of an official from the Vietnamese Embassy in Germany approached Yen with tears in her eyes, expressing her gratitude for hosting such a heartfelt event.

Nguyen Thi Bich Yen, a Vietnamese-Austrian woman whose idea is making the Hung Kings Commemoration Day a global event. Photo: Supplied

Cherished achievements and ongoing concerns

Since its inception, VAGD has continued to grow. In 2023, ceremonies associated with VAGD were held in Laos, Germany, and Russia, with online streams accessible to audiences in nearly 40 countries.

Despite its success, VAGD still faces challenges such as a lack of formal personnel, limited resources, and a leadership void. Currently, the initiative only has one part-time employee managing the project.

However, VAGD remains grateful to Vietnamese ancestors and strives to promote Vietnamese culture globally. The group’s activities primarily focus on meaningful events for the Vietnamese diaspora, including the installation of statues of the Hung Kings and the organization of commemoration ceremonies in various countries.

VAGD events also honor Vietnamese individuals, both physically and virtually, in nearly 50 countries and territories. The project has successfully hosted 70 panel discussions on Hung Kings’ Day, featuring intellectuals, scientists, diplomats, and experts.

Participant perspectives

* Pham Thi Minh Huong, project manager for Vietnam Ancestral Global Day in Laos (2023)

“I find this project to be meaningful and humanitarian because it fosters national solidarity and inspires Vietnamese people worldwide to embrace their nation. As the project manager for Vietnam Ancestral Global Day in Laos, I witnessed the emotional impact on Vietnamese-Laotian people and others from 11 different countries. This experience made me realize the need for greater efforts to contribute to the community and connect Vietnamese across all continents.”

* Prof. Dr. Bui Minh Phong, a resident of Hungary and VAGD founding member

“During the implementation of this project, we have witnessed the strengthening of Vietnamese communities in many countries, fostering a deeper connection to their homeland. Our foreign friends have gained a better understanding of the activities we undertake to express our love for Vietnam. The installation of statues of the Hung Kings and bronze drums in various countries has highlighted the sacred and unique characteristics of Vietnamese communities.”

In August 2023, Prof. Dr. Bui Minh Phong was honored with the Knight’s Cross medal by the Hungarian president in recognition of his 37 years of dedication to teaching and research at Eötvös Loránd University.