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VPDF Convention targets more solution-oriented studies
The VPDF at its Third Convention on May 30th decided to focus further on solution-oriented studies contributive to recommendations to policy-making bodies on pressing world and domestic issues. Included were topics concerning international economic integration, development models, education, genetically modified organisms, and the South China Sea. 
The Convention also opted for expanding and diversifying partnerships, enhancing participation in people-to-people events at home and abroad, and improving outbound information work. 
At the Convention, held every five years, Nguyễn Thị Bình, former Vice-President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, was re-elected President of the VPDF for the third consecutive tenure.
The Convention also elected six Vice-Presidents, a 42-member Council and an 18-member Board. The Council then elected a 3-member Control Commission, and appointed a General Secretary and a 7-member Secretariat.

Taking stock of the VPDF’s performance during the outgoing tenure (2008-2013), the Convention highlighted the following:

- The visit by VPDF President Nguyễn Thị Bình to Algeria in May 2009 at the invitation of President Abdelziz Bouteflika; and her tour of Bangladesh in October 2012 at the invitation of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. 

- International discussions sponsored or co-sponsored by the VPDF, notably:
+ The roundtable on EU–ASEAN Free Trade Agreements held in Hanoi in September 2008, with participants from Belgium, Bolivia, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, the United Kingdom and Vietnam;
+ The roundtable on democracy and people’s power in Hanoi in September 2008;
+ The roundtables on the global financial crisis and its impacts on Vietnam in Hanoi in December 2008 and April 2009;
+ The Seminar on “Rethinking Models of Development in the Context of the Global Crises” in Hanoi in October 2009 with the participation of researchers from various Asian, European and Latin American countries;
+ The Roundtable on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) themed “Implementing the internationally-agreed goals and commitments in regard to gender equality and empowerment of women” in Đà Nẵng, Vietnam, in April 2010;
+ The Seminar on “GMOs and Food Sovereignty and Security” in Hanoi in June 2011;
+ The Workshop on “The Global Crisis and Strategies of the Left and Progressive Social Movements in Southeast Asia” held in Hanoi in August 2012, and attended by researchers and NGO workers from Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, India, Bolivia, Germany and Sweden, and representatives of regional and international organizations.

- Speaking tours of Vietnam, organized or co-organized by the VPDF, by foreign researchers, including: 
+ Samir Amin, President of the Third World Forum, Dakar;
+ Walden F. Bello, member of the Philippine House of Representatives;
+ Atilio Alberto Borón, Director of the Latin American Program of Distance Education in Social Sciences, Buenos Aires; 
+ Kamal Chenoy, Professor of Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi; 
+ Trevor Arvon Evans, Director of the School of Economics and Law, Berlin; 
+ Carlos Jahnsen Gutierrez, economic policy adviser to the SPD caucus in the Bundestag, Germany;
+ François Houtart, Founder of the Tricontinental Center (CETRI), Belgium; 
+ Boris Kargalitski, Director of the Institute of Globalization Studies and Social Movements, Moscow; 
+ Sabine Leidig, Left Party MP, Germany;
+ Pedro Paez, former Finance Minister, Ecuador;
+ Peng Tingjun, senior researcher at the Agricultural Trade Promotion Center of the Ministry of Agriculture, China;
+ Francisco Saucedo, former MP, Mexico;
+ Jeffrey M. Smith, Executive Director of the Institute of Responsible Technology, USA; 
+ John Smith, Kingston University, Great Britain;
+ Pablo Solón, Executive Director of the Bangkok-based Focus on the Global South;
+ Rainder Stachuletz, Berlin School of Economics and Law, Germany.

- International events in which VPDF representatives took an active part:
+ The Seminar on International Security in Qingdao, China, in October 2008;
+ The International Meeting of Intellectuals and Artists in Defence of Humanity in Caracas in October 2008; 
+ The “International People’s Tribunal of Conscience in Support of the Vietnamese Victims of Agent Orange” in Paris in May 2009;
+ The substantive session of the UN Economic and Social Council; item 12: Non-governmental organizations in Geneva in July 2009;
+ The 12th Session of the UN Human Rights Council; Item 6: Consideration of Vietnam’s outcome report under the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) mechanism in Geneva in September 2009; 
+ The Global Symposium of Peaceful Nations in Washington D.C. in November 2009;
+ The International Seminar on “Reimagination of Asia – Peace Agenda and Politics of War Memory” in Seoul in November 2009;
+ The Conference on “Development Paradigms and Strategy for Actions – Response from the South and Enhancing the South-South People’s Solidarity Networks” in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, in July 2010;
+ The Roundtable “FTA with the EU: Opportunities or Risks for Thailand and ASEAN” in Bangkok in November 2010;
+ The International Conference marking the 50th anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples in Algiers in  December 2010;
+ The ASEAN Regional Forum on Investment in Manila in September 2011;
+ The World Social Forums in Belém, Brazil, in January-February 2009; in Dakar, Senegal, in February 2011; and in Tunis, Tunisia, in March 2013;
+ The Asia-Europe People’s Forums in Beijing in October 2008; in Brussels in July 2010; and in Vientiane in October 2012;
+ The ASEAN Civil Society Conferences / ASEAN People’s Forums in Cha’am, Thailand, in February 2009; in Hanoi in September 2010; in Jakarta in May 2011; in Phnom Penh in March 2012; and in Jerudong, Brunei Darussalam, in April 2013.

- Also worthy of note were:
+ Participation of a VPDF representative in a US tour by a Vietnamese Agent Orange victims’ delegation from September to November 2008, which covered 10 cities and 8 states, with some 80 meetings, talks and interviews involving members of Congress, lawyers, community workers, and war veterans many of whom were AO victims themselves.
+ Year-long studies on reforms in education, and roundtables in Hanoi in March and June 2011 on experience in secondary teachers’ training.
+ Publication of books and pamphlets on subjects related to globalization, neo-liberalism, Vietnam’s accession to the World Trade Organization, Genetically Modified Organisms, and the South China Sea./.





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