The Ministry of Culture and Information of Viet Nam and UK arts agency Visiting Arts are proud to announce the launch of the Viet Nam Cultural Profile, a valuable new online cultural guide to the arts, media and heritage of Viet Nam which may be viewed free of charge at http://www.vietnam.culturalprofiles.org.uk or http://www.culturalprofiles.org.uk/vietnam. Generously funded by the Rockefeller Foundation and developed in association with the British Council Viet Nam, the new website represents the first completed component of the three-country Greater Mekong Sub Region Cultural Profiles Project, which by mid 2005 will also include similar online cultural profiles of Laos and Cambodia.
The website is powered by a state-of-the-art Content Management System developed by Visiting Arts and UK software company Libras Ltd. A powerful search facility (capable of reading the Vietnamese Unicode script) is built into the site and readers may also create a PDF version of any given page for printing.
As an English-language resource, the Viet Nam Cultural Profile is aimed primarily at those in the international cultural community who wish to learn about the arts, media and heritage of Viet Nam and then make direct contact with their counterparts there with a view to facilitating reciprocal cultural exchange activity. However, in 2005-6 the Vietnamese Ministry of Culture and Information also hopes to create an all-Vietnamese-language version of the Viet Nam Cultural Profile for the use of arts, media and heritage practitioners within the country.
The history of the Viet Nam Cultural Profile dates back to 2002 when the Vietnamese Ministry of Culture and Information collaborated with Visiting Arts to research and publish the 560-page Viet Nam Arts Directory, the first major English-language guide to the cultural infrastructure of Viet Nam, funded by the Ford Foundation and created in order to facilitate international cultural exchange.
The new Viet Nam Cultural Profile represents a significantly expanded version of the Viet Nam Arts Directory illustrated with thousands of high-quality photographs. Commencing with a helpful introduction to the country and its geography/topography, history, government, population, language, society, economy, religion and education system, the Viet Nam Cultural Profile offers a detailed sector-by-sector guide to Archives, Competitions and Awards, Ethnic Culture, Festivals, Film, Funding, Government Cultural Policy and Infrastructure, Heritage, International Exchange, Libraries, Literature, Mass Culture, Media (Broadcasting, Press, Publishing, Internet), Performing Arts, Research, Tourism, Training and Visual Arts.
However, what makes the website unique and most valuable to all those interested in cultural exchange with Viet Nam is the fact that each of the sectoral guides concludes with a detailed DIRECTORY of key contact organisations within that sector, making it possible for the reader not only to learn about what is happening in a particular cultural sector but also to make direct contact with the key people working in it.
“The exchange of information is an essential prerequisite for international creative collaboration of any kind.” Said Tim Doling, the project editor. “We hope that this online profile goes some way to meeting this need and makes a positive contribution to cultural relations between our countries.” He said.