Ben Tre to hold first int’l symposium on blind Vietnamese poet

Authorities in the Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre will organise an international symposium on blind Vietnamese poet Nguyen Dinh Chieu (1822 – 1888) later this June, the first of its kind, spotlighting a man of culture from the southern region.

Chieu is among World Cultural Celebrities whose birth and death anniversaries will be commemorated by UNESCO between 2022 and 2023. The decision was made during the ongoing 41st General Conference of UNESCO in Paris on November 23 last year.

The symposium will be a key activity in celebration of Chieu's 200th birthday (July 1).

Professor, Dr Nguyen Chi Ben, former director of the Vietnam National Institute for Culture and Arts Studies (VICAS), said the scientific seminar has so far received 133 subtracts of papers submitted by authors in Vietnam and abroad.

Contents to be discussed will revolve around the poet’s position on the history of Vietnam; his humanistic thoughts; his works’ cultural value, vitality and influence; and the preservation and promotion of the poet’s ideological values and personality amid international integration.

Nguyen Dinh Chieu was born in Binh Duong district, Gia Dinh province (now District 1, Ho Chi Minh City). The poet was known for his nationalist and anti-colonial writings against the French and his exemplary teaching, and was also a popular medical practitioner. He is a role model for people with disabilities around the world. Despite his condition, he studied Confucianism and Oriental medicine.

His most famous work, Luc Van Tien (The Tale of Luc Van Tien), is an epic poem written in nom (the old Chinese-based Vietnamese script) was penned in the 1850s. It is regarded as one of the most influential poems in Vietnamese history, along with Truyen Kieu (The Tale of Kieu) by Nguyen Du.

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