The New York-based Institute for Vietnamese Culture and Education (IVCE) will screen several documentaries on Vietnam at universities in the United States next month.

IVCE president Tran Thang informed the English language daily Vietnam News on September 29 that a programme comprising three films – General Giap, Little Stories in the Big Sea and Into the Ocean, as well as a presentation on Vietnamese sea trade in the 17th and 18th centuries will be held at eight different universities and foundations from October 3-18.

The films will be screened at Brown University, Mount Holyoke College, Yale University, New York University, Temple University, University of Pennsylvania, US Navy Memorial Foundation and Naval Heritage Center, and George Washington University.

General Giap is a 45-minute documentary made by Talk Vietnam (a programme on Vietnam Television's VTV4) on the photography of Catherine Karnow and her longtime friendship with the late General Giap and his family, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Dien Bien Phu victory.

Catherine Karnow is the daughter of American historian and journalist Stanley Karnow, known for his writings on the war in Vietnam and interview with General Giap for the New York Times in 1990.

Director Phan Huyen Thu's 30-minute documentary called Little Stories in the Big Sea is a series of encounters with people on the way to visit their loved ones living on the Truong Sa (Spratly) Archipelago.

On a ship, people get acquainted and tell each other stories about their husbands, sons and their fathers on Truong Sa Lon, Truong Sa Dong (Central London Reef) and Phan Vinh Island (Pearson Reef).

Into the Ocean, directed by Le Ngoc Thanh and Le Duc Hai, is a melange of memories: the past, the present, and the future of two brothers in a journey through which they discover the homeland and their own selves.

A programme press release notes that "it is a story not for retelling", but a disorderly mixture of reality and dreams.

"In this journey, the fragments raise a universal question about the meaning of parting and reuniting, the two states of being human…," the release says.

Tran Duc Anh Son, Deputy Director of the Da Nang-based Institute for Socio-Economic Development (ISED), will make a 15-minute presentation on Vietnamese sea trade in the 17th and 18th centuries.

The presentation traces the journey out into the sea by Vietnamese merchants from the first century and their path to world sea trade, especially in the Age of the Great Commerce in the 17th and 18th centuries.

At this time, the most famous Vietnamese trade ports like Pho Hien, Cua Lo, Cua Viet, Thanh Ha-Bao Vinh, Hoi An and Nuoc Man, stretching from the north to south central Vietnam, were extremely busy with the traffic of trade ships from China, Japan, Ryukyu, Thailand, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain.

Tran Thang also said that he had presented the Da Nang Museum with a collection of nearly 100 old maps published between 1826 and 1980, of which 10 show that Hoang Sa (Paracel) and the Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagos belong to Vietnam.

The IVCE is a non-profit organisation founded in New York in 2000. It facilitates the collaboration of various Southeast Asia Studies Centres and Vietnamese Student Associations throughout the US.

It has helped organise Vietnamese cultural programmes, including traditional and contemporary music, poetry and literature, film, folk and contemporary painting exhibitions, as well as seminars on history for the last several years.

The institute has carried out many programmes aimed at raising awareness about Vietnamese culture and expanding educational opportunities for Vietnamese students.-VNA