September 20, 2022 18:44 Dr. Yen Platz
Dr. Hans-Peter Glanzer is an Austrian ambassador to Vietnam. He had previous assigned as Ambassador in Colombia, Brasília, Syria and now Vietnam. He started his job in Vietnam in September 2021. Reporter from WAJ had an interview with him on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral relations between Austria and Vietnam (1972-2022).

Dr. Hans-Peter Glanzer, an Austrian Ambassador to Vietnam

WAJ: Ambassador, could you please tell us in detail the main activities that will take place on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Austria and Vietnam?

We are organizing a number of events, in particular in the cultural and economic fields. We already had a mid-June workshop on future mobility on public transport imobility, together with the Technical University, Hanoi and the Ministry of Transport in Vietnam. And that took place in mid-June in Hanoi. We also had an exhibition in the National Library that was mid of July, with Arnold Schoenberg and the so-called Second Viennese School, about contemporary classical and contemporary Austrian composers back in Schuberg.

And that was also accompanied by chamber concerts by musicians from the Vietnam National Symphony Orchestra. And we are now planning for the end of September to bring a saxophone quartet from Austria to Vietnam. They will perform in Hanoi and in Ho Chi Minh City. In Hanoi, in the Music Academy. In Ho Chi Minh City, in the Conservatory. And I would say our main cultural event is very close to the date of the establishment of diplomatic relations.

The date was the first of December 1972. We will have on November 26, in the Opera House in Hanoi, a concert of the Vietnamese National Symphony Orchestra together with the Concert Master of the Vienna Philharmonics and two singers. And one singer is a very well-known singer from Vienna State Opera. They will perform together in a program called "Music from Vienna." That will be our concluding event. But we also have a number of trade missions with Austrian companies in Vietnam. One took place in mid-May in Ho Chi Minh City and the Mekong Delta. It was on green technology. Another one was took place in June about railway technology.

And we now expect in October quite significant economic missions from the province of Austria, which will be accompanied by the Economic Minister of Austria to Hanoi and to Ho Chi Minh City. And these trade missions are also in the framework of trade missions. Our commercial section also organizes business partners so that you have the possibility for meetings between Vietnamese companies and Austrian companies.


Dr. Hans-Peter Glanzer, an Austrian Ambassador to Vietnam in the interview with the reporter from WAJ

WAJ: Could you please share some outstanding achievements in fields such as education, health, culture, scientific research, economy, trade, press and media that the two countries have achieved in the past 50 years?

I would think out two areas. First of all, economic relations. There we saw a very dynamic development. For example, our bilateral rate volume has increased ten times since 2000 and has reached a new peak last year with €1.4 billion, and I have to say with a strong surplus in favor of Vietnam. So Vietnam is exporting much more to Austria and importing from Austria. And we also have a number of Austrian companies in Vietnam, some of them with well-known names like Swarovsky, for example, or also the famous producer of Cherry, Doppelmayr, and a number of others, and about 50 to 60 companies are present in Vietnam, mainly in the southern part of Vietnam. And because of this dynamic development, we also opened our office about commercial sections in Ho Chi Minh City in 2019.

As a second area, I would like to mention the academic field. We have close to 30 cooperation agreements between Austrian and Vietnamese universities, and many of these universities participate the so-called ASEAN European Academic University network called ASEAN UNINET. And that ASEAN UNINET was founded by universities in Vietnam and Austria. And also, I think, especially in these two parts, we see a very positive development.

So we are very lucky because my university of Vienna and univesity in Vietnam cooperation ten years ago was very good. Thank you so much. 

No, but for example, there are also universities in Krems, for example. They are doing a bachelor's program on tourism and travel management, for example. And I was present in April when they handed out the diploma in Hanoi. That was Hanoi University. I think that's, for example, also an example of good cooperation between Austrian institutions of higher education and Vietnam universities.

WAJ: Do Austria and Vietnam have any joint awards for scientists, entrepreneurs, artists in those fields of cooperation? If not, do you have any suggestions for that?

So far, I am not aware of any joint awards given out by many Autrian - Vietnamese institutions. But I think I'm open to any suggestions for that because I think it might be a good idea to especially do a top of appreciation and recognition of people who have done a lot in the bilateral field, especially in the areas you mentioned. For example, in Austria we have a system, but that's only from the Austrian side. But so far, we don't have these joint awards.

WAJ: Vienna is considered the music capital of the world. Over the years, the Austrian Embassy in Vietnam has also invited many famous artists to Vietnam to perform. According to you, what role does music play in connecting the public and people between countries?

Yeah, I think that music and art general are very valuable instruments for a better understanding of other people, their culture, their mentality of other countries. And I think that I would also see that as a common heritage of mankind. Great musical achievements, compositions and so on. And I think this common heritage can also help build a very good basis for better understanding among countries and people. I think it's maybe an easier way of understanding other countries.

WAJ: In the history of the Republic of Austria and Vietnam that two of the countries have suffered the heavy consequences of wars, more than any other country, these two countries have drawn lessons expensive for peace. So as a person who has served as Vice Chairman of the Second Committee of the 52nd General Assembly, Permanent Mission of Austria to the United Nations, New York (1996-1999) and Deputy Head of the Delegation Permanent member of Austria at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (1999-2004), what are your views on the role and position of Austria and Vietnam in maintaining the common peace in the region and the world today Ambassador?

Yeah, thank you. I think it's a very important, very pertinent question and I think both countries what this historical story experience, as you mentioned, must have a strong interest in a whole based world order in strengthening the multilateral system and strongly supporting the United Nations and also the regional organizations.For example, in the case of Austria, you mentioned the OSCE which has its headquarters very close to what we do now.

The interview, for example for Austria, for example, I can say that that's one of our main focus areas of our foreign policy also. But for example, we are also taking initiatives in the field of disarmament. For example, the non qualifications of weapons of mass destruction, for example, was one of the initiatives of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and Vietnam was also one of the first countries qualifying for example, this treaty. So I see here real common interest.

And Vienna is also one of the headquarters of the United Nations and other international organizations in promoting peace, stability and also sustainable development. We mentioned the OEC, but also the International Atomic Energy Agency, UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organization) are in Vienna. So there are a number of international organizations here and I think Vienna is also a meeting place for dialogue.

Hopefully it will take place, but it's not that clear on the nuclear program of Iran. Those are being held in Vienna and think that's also good that we can offer a platform for this sort of dialogue. But I have also to say all this is embedded in the common foreign security policy of the European Union. And we see also the European union as such as a peace project.

Also Europe had very traumatic experiences with two world wars. And I think one of these lessons learned from this war was the European Union. I think also Vietnam for example, is playing, for example, contribution to construct in the region. It also had a quite successful chairmanship of ASEAN in 2020 and also I think it also has a very good profile in the United Nations.

Vietnam was a permanent member of the Security Council of the United Nations in 2020 - 2021. I think that also shows the strong interest and engagement of Vietnam for stability and enrichment. For example, the diplomatic academy in Vietnam, in Hanoi, also every year does very intensive seminars. For example, on the whole complex of the law, on the law of the sea  which is also a very important issue for Vietnam and also a clear sign of the interest of Vietnam in what I mentioned the rules based.

WAJ: In your opinion, does the current war between Russia and Ukraine have any impact on the relationship between Austria and Vietnam, if so, how does that influence, Ambassador?

I don't see a direct impact of the war of aggression of Russia against Ukraine on our bilateral relations. But as I mentioned before, the common interest of Austria and Vietnam is a strong rule-based international order. And I think this aggression of Russia against Ukraine is a gross violation of this rule-based order and also of international law, particularly international humanitarian law. It runs counter to the most basic principles, for example, of the integrity of state, which are enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations. I think we have to really be consequence and say, "Okay, international law applies to all states and I think that must be an important lesson out of that."

WAJ: Ambassador, we all know that most of us Austrian Presidents have made great efforts to promote the friendly relationship between Austria and Vietnam, in which specially President Heinz Fischer. He was protesting against the war in Vietnam in 1972 and was greatly admired by Vietnamese public. President Alexander Van Der Bellen and  President Nguyen Minh Triet, and President Nguyen Xuan Phuc, and many Austrian Ambassadors to Vietnam have also received the love of the Vietnamese people. So let me allow to ask you a dedicated sentence during the term. So what impressions do you hope to leave on the Vietnamese people?

Yeah, I think I would like to leave one impression that I made strong efforts to further strengthen the relations between our two countries, between people, but not only at the political level but also, for example, between academic institutions and economic fields and so on. I would also like to be perceived someone who is interested in Vietnam, its people, and its culture, as well as someone who is willing to travel very remote parts of the country. For example, in ancient provinces uppon the north and the mountain areas, for example. So to get a full picture of your country and how I think I would like to be perceived in the end, somebody also has deep sympathy for your country and for your people. But if I am able to achieve that, then I will be happy.

WAJ:  Thank you so much. And do you have any suggestions for audiences in Vietnam and Austria?

Yeah, I can only say that if there's the possibility to visit one of both countries, they are very distinct, very beautiful countries with a rich cultural heritage that we share together.


Writer To Hoai is famous for his book De Men Adventure Ky (1941) written for children. Currently, "Crickets" have traveled all over the world. The story has been translated into many languages and published in many countries around the world. He is likened to the Andersen of Vietnam.


At first glance, she doesn't stand out when standing next to her Asian girls, I become more and more in the middle European women. Yet, people like look at you, especially like to peek, every time you say, or every time she laughs. Asian-style face Dong, round black eyes that can talk, the corner of his mouth when also fresh. Long, silky black hair, clear voice, Standard and flexible pronunciation even when I speak the language German and Vietnamese.