By Dialogo July 10, 2009 Hanoi, July 9 (EFE).- Today the Vietnamese National Library opened its first section of books in Spanish in Hanoi, aiming at responding to the demand for reading material in this language on part of the Vietnamese community that speaks or studies it, official sources indicated today. The Spanish section of the library, aimed at encouraging a taste for reading in the Southeast Asian country, has around a thousand books on its shelves and some 1,800 digitalized books at the moment. In a diplomatic note published by the VNA official news agency, the Vietnamese Minister of Culture thanked the Spanish embassy for its activity in obtaining the books that have made the creation of the library’s Spanish section possible. At Hanoi University, where a Spanish department was established in 2002, around 200 students are currently studying Spanish, and around another 170 are learning the language at Vietnam National University in Hanoi. Meanwhile, in southern Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City Open University (in the former Saigon) and Ho Chi Minh City University of Social Sciences and Humanities have similar numbers of students studying Spanish. In the 1970s, Vietnam and Cuba signed an agreement that allowed the Southeast Asian country to send students to the Caribbean nation to learn Spanish during a six-year period, with the result that over the course of time more than 6,200 Vietnamese learned the language of Cervantes.
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