"Building the peak" or "laying the foundation"?

The cultural revitalisation that has been fiercely promoted by the Party and State has achieved positive results, helping to change society's perception of culture’s fundamental role in development. However, real life poses many urgent issues that need to be adjusted to wards creating a positive movement for culture.
An art performance at the Ninh Binh – Trang An Festival. (Photo: THU CUC)
An art performance at the Ninh Binh – Trang An Festival. (Photo: THU CUC)

Regarding this issue, Nhan Dan Newspaper reporters held an interview with Assoc. Prof. Nguyen Viet Chuc, former Vice Chairman of the National Assembly (NA) Committee for Culture, Education, Youth, Adolescents and Children; and Assoc. Prof. Bui Hoai Son, Standing Member of the NA’s Committee on Culture and Education.

A: To promote the development of culture to a new stage, what is the role and meaning of the building of a “peak”, which is understood as unique and typical cultural and artistic values, and the laying of the “foundation”, which is cultural life on a large scale?

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nguyen Viet Chuc: First of all, it must be affirmed that the implementation of a cultural revitalisation programme at this time is absolutely correct. It is like building sustainable foundations for historic development in the 2025-2045 period. Therefore, it is completely correct to say that cultural revival means the building of a foundation for development. On the other hand, to meet the increasing requirements of development in the new situation, culture itself, especially artistic culture, must reach new heights that are imbued with the identity of the times. Thus, "laying the foundation" and "building the peak” are of great significance. It is hard to say which one needs priority, because the “foundation” and “peak” are both needed at this time. The foundation is indispensable in sustainable development. But without the peak, it is difficult to see the target of development. During the National Cultural Conference (November 2021), Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong stressed the need to create literary and artistic works bearing the mark of the new era.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Bui Hoai Son: In recent years, we have seen more and more profound attention from the entire society towards culture. This has proven that the determination and tireless efforts by the Party and State have achieved positive results, changing the entire society's perception of the fundamental role of culture in the country’s sustainable development. In that context, I think that in promoting cultural development to a new stage, building the “peak” and laying the “foundation”have equally important roles and meanings. Accordingly, the "peak" of culture is the unique and outstanding art works and cultural values that can express the national cultural identity while absorbing the quintessence of world culture. Building the “peak” of culture plays an important role through expressing national cultural identity. The unique and typical cultural values are vivid expressions of national cultural identity, contributing to affirming and promoting the nation’s cultural identity in the context of international integration. Furthermore, building the “peak” also means creating new cultural values. The unique and typical cultural values are not only values preserved from the past but also newly created in the present. Building a cultural "peak" contributes to creating new values that meet the needs of society in the new era. In addition, building the "peak" aims to prove that culture plays a motivating role in promoting socio-economic development.

Meanwhile, the “foundation” of culture is cultural life on a large scale. It plays an important role in improving the cultural life of the people and is the basis for building an advanced culture imbued with national identity. Cultivating the cultural "foundation" helps raise people's awareness and understanding of culture, creating conditions for people to create and enjoy cultural values. At the same time, a healthy cultural environment is very favourable for the development of people’s personality and morality in society. The work of cultivating cultural "foundation" contributes to creating a healthy cultural environment, preventing social evils, and building a civilised, progressive, and happy society.

Thus, the works of building the "peak" and cultivating the “foundation” are carried out synchronously and with close links to each other, towards creating synergy to enhance the position of Vietnamese culture in the new period.

Q: In the current context of the country’s limitation in resources, in your opinions, what do we need to do to effectively promote cultural revival?

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nguyen Viet Chuc: The big problem is the awareness of the entire Party, people and agencies at all levels to reach consensus in cultural revitalisatio . It is crucial to deeply grasp the Party's viewpoint that cultural revitalisation is the cause of the entire people, building culture is building a "social spiritual foundation", and “culture is both a goal and a driving force for socio-economic development”. Therefore, the cultural revitalisation requires the comprehensive leadership of Party committees at all levels and the participation of the entire political system and people.

However, cultural agencies, especially the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, must perform well their role in advising the Party and State to issue strategic guidelines and policies and develop a specific work roadmap; proactively coordinate with relevant ministries,agencies, and localities; and guide organisations and individuals operating in the field of culture and arts to join efforts to revive culture through practical actions, avoiding ostentation and costly and ineffective formalities.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Bui Hoai Son

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Bui Hoai Son

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Bui Hoai Son: In my opinion, with the country's current conditions, to promote cultural revival effectively, it is crucial to do the following works:

The first is to raise the awareness and responsibility of the entire society. In all documents, the Party always emphasises that culture is the cause of the whole people. Thus, to revive culture, it is essential to raise public awareness and responsibility for the role, position, and significance of culture in the country’s sustainable development. Each person should be conscious of preserving and promoting traditional cultural values while creating new cultural values in line with the requirements of the times. Artists need to be more dedicated and devoted to creating new works that are worthy of the times and the country’s development.

Secondly, it is essential to clearly define goals and orientations for cultural development. This is important work that needs to be carried out in a scientific and methodical manner in accordance with the country's realities. Cultural development goals and orientations need to be determined based on the viewpoints, principles, and general goals of the Party and State on cultural development and building the Vietnamese people in the new development phase of the country.

Thirdly, appropriate mechanisms, policies, and laws should be developed. This is an important factor, creating a legal corridor and favourable conditions to mobilise and effectively use resources for cultural development.

Fourthly, investment into culture should be enhanced, considering this as an investment in the sustainable development of the country. In the context of limitation in resources, it is crucial to pay attention to focused investment with priority given to the fields and areas with cultural potential and strengths.

Thank you very much for your interview!