|Palestinian Ambassador to Vietnam Saadi Salama
Born in Hebron province in 1961, Saadi Salama has served as the Palestinian Ambassador to Vietnam since 2009. One of the few foreigners who can speak Vietnamese fluently, Ambassador Salama is considered an expert on Vietnam and Southeast Asia.
Salama developed a particular interest in Vietnam when he was 12 years old. Admiring Vietnam’s long struggle for national independence, Salama chose to study in Vietnam instead of Romania or Italy with a scholarship granted by the Palestinian Liberation Organization.
“Similarities between Vietnam and Palestine brought me here. I’m very impressed with Vietnam’s land and people. I first came to Vietnam in the fall of 1980 and found it a fascinating country,” he recalled.
Ambassador Salama married a Vietnamese woman and has four children who speak Arabic, English, and French fluently. Salama has traveled to every corner of Vietnam to explore the local landscape, culture, and cuisine.
“I think and act like a Vietnamese because I have a Vietnamese soul. I deem it my responsibility to enhance Vietnam-Palestine relations across the board and to promote Vietnam’s image to the international community. We need to build more communication channels in the Arabic language to introduce Vietnam’s tourism, trade and culture to the 800 million Arabs around the world,” said Salama.
Ambassador Salama is the first Arab to translate Vietnamese literature into Arabic and has taken an active role in community activities.
“I have joined blood donation campaigns in Vietnam. In 2010, I won a special prize in a writing contest to celebrate 1,000 years of Thang Long-Hanoi. I donated the cash prize to flood and storm victims in Ha Tinh province,” he said.
Ambassador Salama said he is doing all he can to boost cooperation between Vietnam and Palestine, which he says still has much room to develop.