Regional artistic exchanges are expected to be boosted as the first Southeast Asian cultural building was inaugurated at the Hanoi-based Vietnam Ethnology Museum on November 30.

Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam joined representatives from embassies and domestic and foreign museums at the ceremony.

Addressing the event, Dam said the initiative to create the building was first mooted more than one year after Vietnam joined the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The project has mirrored the country’s vision and resolve to enhance cultural exchange with other regional countries, looking towards the building of the ASEAN Community by 2015, he said.

The Deputy PM said the building is also expected to strengthen cultural exchanges between ASEAN members and countries worldwide, thus contributing to joint efforts for peace and prosperity in the region and the world at large.

He urged the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences and the Vietnam Ethnology Museum to seek more initiatives and conduct practical activities to help Vietnamese people understand foreign cultures and introduce Vietnamese culture to international friends.

Earlier, the museum’s director Vo Quang Trong said at a press briefing that the building has been completed after six years of construction with the participation of Vietnamese and French experts.

Over the past half decade, the museum’s staff have researched and collected over 2,000 objects, nearly 100 videos and many documents from Southeast Asian countries, he said.

The building was opened to the public on December 1 with a range of cultural activities, including performances staged by artists from Thailand and Laos.-VNA