Director of Irish Aid Vietnam, John Thomas Hoy, has received the “For Peace and Friendship among Nations” insignia for his contributions to promoting friendship and cooperation between Vietnam and Ireland.

President of the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations (VUFO) Vu Xuan Hong conferred the honour on the Irish Aid Vietnam Director in Hanoi on June 24.

Hoy, who initiated Irish Aid programmes for Vietnam , travelled to the Southeast Asian nation for a fact-finding tour in 2004, which provided grounds for Irish Aid’s first 3 million EUR grant to Vietnam one year later. The amount increased to 4.5 million EUR in 2006.

With a committed amount of 30 million EUR, Irish Aid is the largest bilateral donor to the second phase of a socio-economic development programme in disadvantaged communes (known as Programme 135).

Hoy was one of the first people to design an Irish Aid-funded blood-borne virus lab at the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology.

While working in Vietnam, the director has paid special attention to promoting cultural exchange between Ireland and Vietnam , including music programmes to raise funds for Vietnamese Agent Orange victims. He has developed a scholarship programme for Vietnamese post-graduates to study in Ireland in social sciences and development.

He has also made a significant contribution to drawing up an exchange programme connecting Vietnamese high-schools with those in Ireland to increase mutual understanding between the two countries’ young generations./.