If we could name only one personality who made Vietnam what it is today, it would be "Uncle Ho". It was in France that Ho Chi Minh was initiated into communist ideology, and from then on his fight for independence began. During the Indochina War, he led the Viet Minh to victory against the French at the battle of Dien Bien Phu (1954). After which, the country was split in two: the communist north and the south, supported by USA, South Korea and other anti-communist allies. Ho Chi Minh continued the struggle, supporting the National Front for the Liberation of Vietnam, also known as the Viet Công during the Vietnam War. He died in the middle of the conflict, which ended with the capture of Saigon, later renamed Ho Chi Minh City, a legacy to one of the most famous people from Vietnam.
The remains of Uncle Ho are now in the Mausoleum at Ba Dinh Square in Hanoi.
Nguyen Huy Thiep is a Vietnamese writer born in Hanoi in the 1950s. Described as one of Vietnam’s most influential authors, he wrote a number of short stories and plays and is said to be at the origin of the literary renaissance movement in Vietnam in the 1980s. Having written a number of controversial pieces of fiction such as “The General Retires", which shook public opinion at the time, Nguyen Huy Thiep was considered "the representative of a new generation of writers who wanted to distinguish themselves from socialist realism" and one of the most famous people from Vietnam.
Tran Anh Hung is a French film director of Vietnamese origin, born in southern Vietnam. A refugee in France during his childhood, he studied photography at the École Louis-Lumière which trains cinematographers. "The Scent of Green Papaya" (1993) was his first feature: a visually cared for portrait of a young girl torn from her home to work in an aristocratic house. The film earned him the Camera d'Or at the Cannes Festival in 1993 and the César for best first work in 1994. His follow up “Cyclo” (1995), a stylized thriller from the streets of Ho Chi Minh City, won him the Golden Lion of the Mostra of Venice in 1995, and earning him recognition in France and internationally as one of the most famous people from Vietnam.
Ngo Viet Thu is an architect born in central Vietnam who studied at the National School of Fine Arts in Paris. He designed the Palace of Independence in Saigon in the 1960s, now known as the "Palace of Reunification". Among his other major projects are the University of Hue, the Dalat Atomic Research Center, and Phu Cam Cathedral.
In 1962, he was the first Asian architect to be elected an honorary member of the American Institute of Architects. He collaborates with international architects on major projects such as the University of Medicine in Saigon and the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris and is one of the most famous people from Vietnam.
Nguyen Minh Triet was the President of the State of Vietnam from 2006 to 2011. After teaching mathematics in Saigon, he joined the Communist Party in 1965. In 1992, he was appointed Party Leader of Song Be Province and transformed this mainly agricultural region of the South into an attractive area for foreign investment. He was promoted to the Party Political Bureau in 1997 then leader of the Communist Party of Saigon in 2000. He then launched a campaign against organized crime and corruption, making him one of the most famous people from Vietnam.
Marguerite Duras was a French writer, playwright, screenwriter and director, born in 1914 near Saigon. She is one of the key authors in French literature during the second half of the twentieth century due to the diversity, modernity and the new romantic genre of her work. Marguerite Duras is also distinguished by the sometimes unstructured tone of her language. Her childhood in French Indochina and romances in Vietnam was a source of inspiration for most of these works. Some of her most famous works are ‘Un barrage contre le Pacific” (translated to ‘The Sea Wall’ in 1952) and “L’Amant” (translated to ‘The Lover’) which describes her young affair with a wealthy aristocrat in Vietnam. Other works such as the script of “Hiroshima mon amour” or the play “Moderato Cantabile” are examples of the shifts she imposed on the theatrical and cinematographic scenes of the time.