The United Nations turns 75 in 2020. It is a time of great upheaval for the world, as it was in 1945 when the Organization was founded. Many of the trends we grapple with today could not have been imagined by people back then: that human actions would fuel a global temperature rise, posing an existential risk to our species and a million others. Those new technologies would radically reshape how we live, work, and interact with each other. That greater affluence and longevity would be accompanied by challenges of their own.
The United Nations (UN) represents the aspirations of all peoples. Its creation gave hope to the world that countries would work together to prevent future wars, and the factors that lead to conflicts, such as poverty and human rights abuses. But it was also a pragmatic response by world leaders, who realized that cooperation and compromise were less costly than war. Multilateralism is, and always has been, an interplay of national and shared concerns.
Viet Nam joined the UN in 1977. Since then, the country has significantly contributed to and benefitted from its membership in the United Nations. Leading important resolutions as a member of the UN Human Rights Council, the deployment of medical peacekeepers to South Sudan, and twice serving as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council are among the invaluable contributions made by Viet Nam to UN, and the international community at large.
As the United Nations turns 75, we are presented with an opportunity to reflect on the strong relationship between the UN and Viet Nam over the last 43 years and begin exploring how this relationship will continue to grow.
The UN in Viet Nam has enjoyed a fruitful partnership with the Center for Sustainable Development Studies (CSDS) in the past with a number of successful activities such as the UN Youth Survey on SDGs in 2018 and the Youth Gender Dialogue in 2019. To mark the 75th anniversary of the UN, both organizations will again join together to recognize and promote the strong international integration and leadership shown by Viet Nam through its membership and contributions to the United Nations.
The UN in Viet Nam and CSDS, supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and CSDS’s affiliate Volunteers for Peace (VPV), will organize an essay competition for third-level students in Viet Nam to mark the 75th anniversary of the UN and promote student and youth discussion on the role of Viet Nam in the international community. Third level students from across Viet Nam will be invited to submit a short essay focusing on, but not limited to, the economic, social, political, cultural, environmental, and scientific contributions made by Viet Nam in advancing the work and the Charter of the UN, including by reflecting on the Preamble of the Charter:
We the peoples of the United Nations determined
- to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and
- to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and
- to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and
- to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom.
 United Nations, Charter of the United Nations, Preamble (1945).