Vietnam is building documents to seek UNESCO"s recognition to honour Chu Van An, the Confucian teacher famous for his intelligence and ethics.
A statue of Chu Van An at the Temple of Literature in Hanoi
Chu Van An was born in 1292 in Van Thon Village, now part of Thanh Tri District in Hanoi. He passed the academic exams but didn’t become a mandarin. He decided to start a school in Huynh Cung Village near the To Lich River. Many top officials at that time were his students, including Emperor Tran Minh Tong’s son.
He is a major influence to popularise Confucian thinking in Vietnam. When he was invited to teach the crown prince and the king refused his proposal to kill seven corrupted mandarins, he gave up the position and lived the rest of his life as a teacher and writer at Phuong Hoang Mountain in Hai Duong Province. After his death, an altar was set up in the Temple of Literature.
Dang Van Bai, director of the Ministry of Culture and Information"s Cultural Heritage Department, said Vietnam"s image would be hugely improved if one of its representatives was honoured worldwide.
People pray to Chu Van An at the Temple of Literature
In order to be recognised by UNESCO, the figure must have had national or international influence and the anniversary must be divisible by 50. They must also have had humanitarian ideas or policies for peace. Bai said Chu Van An was a symbol in Vietnam"s education.
If everything goes smoothly, Vietnam will collaborate with UNESCO to organise Chu Van An"s 650th death anniversary in 2020.