Ambassador Pham Sanh Chau
Ambassador Pham Sanh Chau, born in 1961, is a Vietnamese diplomat and educator with diverse international experience in multilateral affairs, cultural diplomacy, education, and documentary and world heritage. Born into a diplomatic family, Pham Sanh Chau was raised in an international environment, growing up in the Middle East.
Throughout his distinguished public service career, Pham Sanh Chau has been deeply committed to building an inclusive, sustainable Learning Society and promoting Gender Equality through intercultural dialogue and international cooperation.
In 2016, Pham Sanh Chau was appointed Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs, Special Representative of the Prime Minister of Viet Nam on UNESCO Affairs. He has also served as Secretary-General of the Viet Nam National Commission for UNESCO and Director-General of the Cultural Diplomacy and UNESCO Affairs Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 2014, posts he previously held from 2007 to 2011.
Pham Sanh Chau was appointed as Viet Nam's youngest Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Viet Nam to UNESCO as well as the Personal Representative of the President of Viet Nam to the International Organisation of La Francophonie in Paris, France in 1999.
Throughout his career, Pham Sanh Chau has made significant contribution to the progressive development of UNESCO through his commitment to the ideals of the Organization and to building peace and understanding among nations. Pham Sanh Chau was a member of the Drafting Committee of the 2003 Convention, where he advocated for the legal instrument to recognize the importance of Intangible Cultural Heritage, and served as the Chairperson of the Drafting Committee of the 2005 Convention to promote and protect the diversity of cultural expressions. In 2001, he represented the Asia and Pacific Region and served as Vice Chair of the Executive Board of UNESCO. He returned as Representative of Viet Nam to the Executive Board in 2016.
As Director-General of the Cultural Diplomacy and UNESCO Affairs Department and Secretary-General of the Viet Nam National Commission for UNESCO, Pham Sanh Chau has been a leading advocate for heritage conservation and promotion, introducing and campaigning for eight natural and cultural heritage sites to be recognized by UNESCO. In addition, he raised international awareness of the nation's Intangible Cultural Heritage, attaining UNESCO inscriptions for nine heritage elements in Viet Nam during his tenure. Since 2016, he has been working actively on the establishment of the Forum for East Asia-Latin America Cooperation (FEALAC) Network of Cultural Cities. His work in heritage promotion and nomination has made UNESCO widely visible among the government and people of Viet Nam where UNESCO is highly respected for its support to the country and seen as a leading UN agency.
As Human Rights Attaché for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Pham Sanh Chau served as the focal point for human rights issues, following the work of the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly on social issues, humanitarian affairs and human rights and enhancing his proficiency in United Nations protocol and procedures.
In 2011, Pham Sanh Chau was appointed by the President of Viet Nam as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam to the Kingdom of Belgium, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and the European Commission, where he played an instrumental role in negotiations between the European Union and Viet Nam to develop the EU-Viet Nam Free Trade Agreement and followed the EU-Viet Nam Dialogue on Human Rights. Pham Sanh Chau also advocated for strengthened political and economic cooperation between the EU and Viet Nam through his role in expediting the ratification of EU-Viet Nam Framework Cooperation Agreement signed in 2012. In addition, he enhanced educational cooperation between Viet Nam and Belgium, strengthening university partnerships and cooperation between the two nations.
Pham Sanh Chau was the Deputy Director-General of the Viet Nam Secretariat for the Seventh Summit of the International Organisation of La Francophonie (1997) as well as the APEC Summit Meeting (2006) in addition to having an active role in organizing the Sixth ASEAN Summit (1998), the Fifth ASEM Summit (2004) and the Sixteenth ASEAN Summit in Ha Noi (2010).
He was a member of the Delegation of Viet Nam at the Earth Rio Summit (1992), the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing (1995), the World Summit for Social Development in Copenhagen, Denmark (1995), the Eleventh Non-Aligned Movement Summit in Bogota, Colombia (1995), the First ASEM Summit in Bangkok, Thailand (1996), the Second ASEM Summit in London, UK (1998), the Twelfth Non-Aligned Movement Summit in Durban, South Africa (1998), the Informal ASEAN Summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (1999), the APEC Auckland Summit (1999), and the Ninth Summit of the International Organisation of La Francophonie in Lebanon (2002). In addition, Pham Sanh Chau was a Member of the Vietnamese Delegations participating in the World Festivals of Youth and Students in Cuba (1997), Algeria (2001) and Venezuela (2004).
From 1991 to 1997, he served as an Interpreter and Director of the Interpretation and Translation Division in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, playing a pivotal role in international relations and negotiations during the country's economic reform (Đổi mới) and normalization of relations. Pham Sanh Chau had an active role in facilitating the negotiations on Viet Nam's membership in ASEAN and joining the overseas delegations of senior political officials of Viet Nam during the nation's emergence from international isolation.
From 2003 to 2006, Pham Sanh Chau served as Deputy Director-General of the Institute of International Relations, now the Diplomatic Academy of Viet Nam, where he was in charge of Strategic Studies and a Lecturer on Global Issues. In addition, he led numerous Vietnamese delegations composed of scholars, teachers and fellows on Track 2 diplomacy missions, namely to the ASEAN Institute of Strategic and International Studies and for the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific (CSCAP) Pham Sanh Chau was also Visiting Lecturer of Globalization and International Studies at Jean Moulin University Lyon III in France.
Pham Sanh Chau was the President of the Ha Noi Chapter of the Viet Nam-United Kingdom of Northern Ireland and Great Britain Friendship Association, an NGO promoting people-to-people exchange from 2004 to 2011, and currently hosts the Diplomatic Corps Cultural Exchange Programme and Ambassador's Gastronomic Club. He also founded the European Union Parliamentary Friends of Viet Nam Association and the Union of Vietnamese Overseas in Belgium and was involved in establishing the Viet Nam-Holland Alumni Association and the USA APCSS Alumni Association.
Pham Sanh Chau holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from the University of Foreign Affairs in Ha Noi, Viet Nam and a Diploma in International Law from the International Institute of Social Studies in The Hague, Netherlands, and has studied at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies (APCSS) in Hawaii, United States, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland, the University of Oslo in Norway, and the European Union Training Centre in Belgium.
Pham Sanh Chau has received numerous state distinctions including the Grand Cross of the Order of the Crown from the Kingdom of Belgium and the Ordre des Palmes Académiques from the Government of France in recognition of his distinguished career of public service.
Pham Sanh Chau is fluent in Vietnamese, English and French. He is married and has one son and one daughter.