UEA President Probal Dasgupta, from India:
Esperanto – a language for peace-loving people
UEA President Probal Dasgupta first became interested in Esperanto by reading about it in a science fiction story when was 13 years old. He was inspired to learn Esperanto by himself through documents in his mother language. He has had the chance to meet some famous Esperantists, which has encouraged him to get involved with the growing Esperanto movement.
Vietnamese literary works that were translated into Esperanto, such as the poems of President Ho Chi Minh and To Huu, left a great impression on him of a heroic country that has been victorious in fierce wars. Vietnamese people have also used Esperanto to describe the horrors of war to international friends. Now that the wars are over, the Esperanto movement in Vietnam is still developing fruitfully. He says he hopes that Vietnam will promote Esperanto to its neighbouring countries such as Laos, Malaysia and Thailand. He also believes that Esperanto will become more widespread and act as a bridge of culture and solidarity connecting peace-loving people throughout the world.
Editor Franciska Toubale, from Australia:
Esperanto brings me to Vietnam
Franciska Toubale is working at the Australian 3.ZZZ Radio station, which has programmes introducing Vietnam and the development of Esperanto in the country.
Toubale goes to Ho Chi Minh City every summer to lecture on Esperanto. She said that coming to Hanoi for this year’s congress offers her a chance to study the lives of retired Vietnamese officers as well as the traditional close-knit relationships between the generations of Vietnamese families.
She was given an ‘Ao Dai’ (Vietnamese traditional long dress) by students at an Esperanto class and visited the Ceramic Way mosaic mural that celebrates the millennial anniversary of Thang Long – Hanoi.
Toubale said she is honoured to be the editor of the Esperanto version of Dang Thuy Tram's Diary, saying that she was inspired by the polish, subtlety, undauntedness and inner beauty of soldier Dang Thuy Tram.
She also said that after more than 20 years working with Esperanto, the movement finally brought her to Vietnam, where she has been received very warmly and sincerely.
The good sentiments of the Vietnamese people have urged her to contribute more to boosting the solidarity and friendship between Vietnam and Australia as well as strengthening the worldwide Esperanto community.
Esperantist Ivanka Stoyanova, from Bulgaria:
Proof of international solidarity
Ivanka Stoyanova said that since it was created more than a century ago by Dr. Ludwig Lazarus Zamenhof, Esperanto has been a bridge of friendship and mutual understanding among nations. This year’s congress hosted by Vietnam proves this link and the development of the global international language.
She knows that Esperanto has been maintained and has flourished in Vietnam since the 1930s. Over 100 books in Esperanto were published in the country during its national resistance war against American imperialism aiming to introduce the nation’s fight for independence and freedom to the world.
Stoyanova has taken part in UEA training for a long time and has also taught Esperanto to many young people around the world. She said she was very impressed by the Esperanto movement among young Vietnamese people.
She said that Vietnam has the largest number of young Esperanto learners in the world.
After working as a teacher of Esperanto for nearly a month before the congress convened, she said she was pleased with her students’ enthusiasm and their quick progress.
Stoyanova has been interested in and admired Vietnamese culture and historical tradition for a long time and, from her short trip to the country this year, she says she has learnt that it is a peace-loving nation that wants to be friends with all nations around the world. She also said that the congress definitely proved the country’s spirit of international solidarity.
Former member of the UEA Standing Committee, Hori Yasuo, from Japan:
Hoping to introduce Vietnamese culture to international friends
Having joined many protests against the American War in Vietnam, Yasuo was deeply impressed by the country and its people when he first came to Vietnam for the second Asian International Language Congress in 1999.
During that stay, he was surprised by many young Vietnamese people’s fluency in Esperanto, which helped him get closer to them and overcome all geographical barriers and cultural differences.
After his first trip, his special feelings for the country urged him to return to Vietnam to teach and promote Esperanto.
One of his best memories during that trip was meeting his adopted daughter. For the past 13 years, he says he always feels at home in his second country, thanks to his Vietnamese friends’ hospitality whenever he returns to Vietnam.
He decided to wear traditional Vietnamese costume at the conference to show his love for Vietnam and its people.
Hori appreciated the preservation of the cultural beauty of traditional musical instruments in Vietnam. He was impressed by a number of traditional Vietnamese instruments and has even taught himself how to play some of them.
His love of music and Esperanto has helped him introduce the Vietnamese people and culture to international friends through concerts in Japan and France featuring traditional Vietnamese musical instruments.
He was presented the ‘Medal for Peace and Friendship among Peoples’ at the congress. He said the award will remind him to continue boosting co-operation between Vietnam and Japan, as well as promoting the Esperanto movement.