Accordingly, before the official visit to Vietnam by President Julius Maada Bio and his wife, Mr. Abu Bakarr Karim - Minister of Agriculture and Forestry and commercial assistant to the President of Sierra Leone; Assistant to the President of Sierra Leone, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Sierra Leonean had a working session with the Vietnam - Africa Economic Cooperation Association (VAECA), the Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences and the Vietnamese Agricultural Science and Development Association.
At working sessions and intimate meetings with Vietnamese partners, Mr. Abu Bakarr Karim - Minister of Agriculture and Forestry and commercial assistant to the President of Sierra Leone highly appreciated the importance and historical significance of the trip. Official visit to Vietnam by the President of Sierra Leone and his wife from March 14 to 20, 2022. He expressed his special impression on Vietnam's agriculture, as well as the effective support and cooperation of Vietnam and Africa in agricultural development, contributing to improving people's lives.
In addition, he also shared the concern of the first lady of Sierra Leone Fatima Maada Bio about the image of an elegant Vietnamese woman in a soft and flowing Ao Dai being very confident, shining, and affirming, asserting her own values, always being equal with men. At the same time, the president commented that one of Ms. Fatima Maada Bio's interest during her days in Vietnam was to exchange opportunities to promote cultural exchanges, as well as strengthen cooperation to facilitate the advancement of women in the two nations.
With the support of the Vietnam - Africa Economic Cooperation Association (VAECA), the Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences (VAAS) and the Vietnam Association of Rural Development Sciences (PHANO), the runner-up Miss U30 Vietnam Hoang Thi Trang Vien and designer Hang Nguyen helped the Sierra Leone delegation to conceptualize and design a traditional Vietnamese Ao Dai that intersects with Sierra Leone culture for First Lady Fatima Maada Bio.
According to the shared experience of runner-up Trang Vien and designer Hang Nguyen, the traditional Ao Dai of First Lady Fatima Maada Bio has a prominent green color with the symbol of Dong Son bronze drum, bamboo tree and crane portraying the deep cultural intersection and friendship between Vietnam and Sierra Leone.
The traditional Ao Dai is a symbol of the quintessence for the national culture associated with the beautiful image of Vietnamese women. Although it has gone through many development periods, the Ao Dai is constantly changing, while still ensuring its tradition, contributing to the graceful, elegant and gentle beauty of the Vietnamese woman's soul. Today, in addition to being associated with the development of social life, the Vietnamese traditional Ao Dai is also a "messenger" to convey the image of Vietnam - Country - People and promote cultural exchanges with other countries in the world.
The Dong Son bronze drum is a product of agricultural civilization, a typical relic of the ancient Vietnamese people in the period of nation building, and has become a sacred symbol that crystallizes many values of the national culture. The image of the star on the drum represents the supreme image in nature which is The Sun. The ancients believed that The Sun provided energy and light for them, so they were respectful and grateful under its brilliance. Images of birds represent the cult of nature. With the belief that birds are the ancestors of mankind, the egg image in the legend of Lac Long Quan - Au Co or the bird motif shows gratitude to the ancestors. Today, the bronze drum is not only a precious treasure of Vietnamese culture, but also a sacred spirit converging the national quintessence during the history of national construction and defense of the Vietnamese people from the glorious Hung King era to the glorious Ho Chi Minh era.
The bamboo grove is a symbol of resilience, indomitable will, for the solidarity of the Vietnamese people. Bamboo trees adapt to all living conditions to create ramparts and citadel, helping our fathers protect the village from natural disasters and protect the country from foreign invaders. For thousands of generations, bamboo has always been close to people's lives and is a peaceful symbol of Vietnamese villages and has become an indispensable crest for the national cultural identity. The image of a bamboo tree with "solid roots, firm body, flexible branches" is similar to the identity, lines, policies and style of Vietnam's diplomacy in the Ho Chi Minh era. That is the tradition of self-reliance, dedication for the sake of the nation - the nation, the spirit of solidarity, compassion and fidelity; Being brave, steadfast, courageous in the face of all challenges and difficulties, facing hardships; Possessing the softness, ingenuity and creativity, "Standing Firm but Moving Swiftly".
The image of the crane in Eastern culture is a noble and quintessential symbol, symbolizing the personality of a gentleman, a bird of the universe, of a high level, signaling the change of seasons, representing the power of nature from the blue sky. In the spiritual life of the Vietnamese people, the crane is a mascot symbolizing immortality, longevity, intellectual clarity, noble qualities, strength in the face of difficulties, and bringing good luck, happiness.
In particular, the design mainly uses green, meaning peace, longevity, prosperity and prosperous development between the two peoples of Vietnam - Sierra Leone. Green is also an impressionable color on the flag of Sierra Leone, symbolizing rich natural resources, fertile agricultural lands and majestic mountains in the middle of West Africa.