The French government has presented two Vietnamese citizens with the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Order of Arts and Letters) at the grade of Chevalier (Knight) to honor their significant contributions to the fields of the arts and literature.
French Ambassador to Vietnam Nicolas Warnery conferred the Orders upon Tran Vuong Thach and Nguyen Ngoc Lan at the Consulate General of France in Ho Chi Minh City on Friday evening.
Tran Vuong Thach is the director of the Ho Chi Minh City Ballet Symphony Orchestra and Opera (HBSO). He has been deputy chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City Musicians' Association since 2010.
Thach has had a lot of initiatives for promoting France-Vietnam friendly relations through various cultural exchange programs and projects.
Having been at the helm of the Institute of Cultural Exchange with France (Idecaf) in Ho Chi Minh City since 2012, Nguyen Ngoc Lan has organized many significant events to build cultural connections between Vietnam and France and other French-speaking countries.
Lan has also played an important role in maintaining a library at Idecaf — the biggest of its kind in Southeast Asia — with a variety of French-language materials.
The Order of Arts and Letters is awarded by the French government annually to honor the recipients' significant contributions to the arts, literature, or the propagation of these fields.
The Order has three grades — Chevalie (Knight), Officier (Officer), and Commandeur (Commander).
While citizens of France must be at least thirty years old to receive this honor, foreign nationals can receive the Order without age restrictions.
Up to 200 people are honored with the Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters each year, according to French government guidelines.
In Vietnam, previous recipients of the Order include late musicologist Tran Van Khe, author Nguyen Huy Thiep, late artist Le Ba Dang, and fashion designer Minh Hanh, among others.