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France Awards Order of Arts and Letters to Two Vietnamese

The awards were conferred to Nguyen Ngoc Lan and Tran Vuong Thach.

Tuoi Tre reports that Nicolas Warnery, the French ambassador to Vietnam, presented Lan and Thach with the Order of Arts and Letters at the level of Knight last Friday evening. The prestigious award honors individuals who have made major contributions to the fields of art and literature.

Lan has led the Institute of Cultural Exchange with France (Idecaf) in Saigon since 2012, spearheading a number of events to build cultural connections between Vietnam, France and other Francophone countries. She has also helped build Idecaf's French-language library, the largest in Southeast Asia.

Thach, meanwhile, is the director of the Ho Chi Minh City Ballet Symphony Orchestra and Opera (HBSO). He has also served as deputy chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City Musicians' Association since 2010.

According to the news source, the French government gives out the Order of Arts and Letters annually, and it has three grades: Knight, Officer, and Commander. Roughly 200 people receive the award each year, and previous Vietnamese recipients include musicologist Tran Van Khe, author Nguyen Huy Thiep, fashion designer Minh Hanh, and artist Le Ba Dang.

[Photo via Facebook page Tổng Lãnh sự quán Pháp / Consulat général de France à Ho Chi Minh-Ville]