Participants in the inaugural ceremony pose for a photo beside the busts of Vietnam's President Ho Chi Minh (L) and the Philippines’ national hero Jose Rizal at Thai Nguyen University (Photo: baothainguyen.org.vn)

Thai Nguyen (VNA) – Busts of the founder of modern Vietnam President Ho Chi Minh and the Philippines’ national hero Jose Rizal were unveiled at Thai Nguyen University in the northern province of Thai Nguyen on May 2.

The inaugural ceremony was attended by Philippine Ambassador to Vietnam Noel Servigon, representatives from the Vietnam-Philippines Friendship Association and local officials.

The two statues were created by painter and sculptor Nguyen Manh Duc from the Vietnam Central Fine Art Company under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. They are positioned at the campus of the International School of Thai Nguyen University.

Jose Rizal (1861 – 1896) was a national hero of the Philippines. He led the La Liga Filipina (The Philippine League) that aimed to unite the whole archipelago into one nation; defend against violence and injustice; develop education, industry, agriculture, and commerce; and carry out reforms.

Addressing the ceremony, Ambassador Noel Servigon thanked the Vietnam-Philippines Friendship Association, the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations and the Thai Nguyen provincial People’s Committee for supporting the idea to create the busts.

In the Philippines, a bust of President Ho Chi Minh was also placed beside the one of Jose Rizal at the Laguna State Polytechnic University, illustrating the two countries’ strategic partnership and intensive educational cooperation, he noted.

Philippine universities have been traditional partners of Thai Nguyen University for many years. Since 2004, the university has carried out 19 undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral training programmes in coordination with Philippine educational establishments, enrolling nearly 1,700 students.

The two sides have also fruitfully organised many lecturer and student exchange programmes, short-term training courses, and workshops.-VNA