Trish Franklin, founder of the Loreto Vietnam Australia Program and Lifetime Member of AusCham, has been presented with the highly prestigious Friendship Medal by the President of the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisation (VUFO), Mr Vu Xuan Hong. The ceremony was held last night (9 July 2015) at the offices of VUFO in HCMC.

The Friendship Medal, signed off by the President and Prime Minister of Vietnam, is the highest official recognition that a foreigner may receive in Vietnam. It is awarded on rare occasions to “Foreigners and collectives of foreigners (who) have made great contributions to building, consolidating and developing the friendship between Vietnam and other countries in the world.”

Trish Franklin is just the 4th Australian to be bestowed with such an honour.

Below is:


Remarks by Mr Vu Xuan Hong – President of the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisation


  • His Exellency Mr. John McAnulty, Australian Consul General,
  • Mr Phil Johns – Executive Director of AusCham
  • Mr Phung Cong Dung, Vice President of the HCMC Union of Friendship Organization,
  • Ms. Patricia Ellen Franklin, Country Director of Loreto in Vietnam
  • Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today, under the authorization of President Trương Tan Sang of the Socialist of Republic of Vietnam, I am very honoured to confer upon Ms. Patricia Ellen Franklin the Friendship Medal, the most noble award of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, for making such significant contributions to Vietnam’s development and humanitarian affairs.

During the past 20 years, Ms. Patricia Ellen Franklin (may I call her with the name Trish – as usually called by her friends and colleagues) and her team at Loreto have devoted themselves to support underprivileged children with the motto, Lifting learners into the future, by giving them greater opportunity to access education so that they can have a better start to, step by step, build a brighter future.

Ms Trish came to Vietnam without motive of personal profit, just her boundless love for Vietnam – especially Vietnamese children. As she has shared previously: working for Loreto is not a “job”, it’s my life – for Vietnamese children. That’s the way how she contributed to our process of reducing hunger and poverty. She is a symbol of the friendship and cooperation that exists in relations between Vietnam and Australia

A few months ago, I visited Loreto’s office in Australia, and they committed to continue supporting Vietnam in humanitarian affairs and socio-economic development programs, just as we have had with Trish here with her big support.

Trish personally, together with her team, have also actively participated in the INGO core group in HCMC, sharing experiences on how to effectively manage an INGO’s activities in Vietnam .

On behalf of the Presidential Board of VUFO, Loreto’s Vietnamese partners and our peoples, I deeply appreciate your 20 years of love and dedication to Vietnam’s peoples.

As you prepare to head back to Australia, I would like to wish you with good health and the on going support of children inside and outside Vietnam.

Thank you to Trish’s colleagues and friends for continuing Trish’s job of helping Vietnam. Thank you.


Acceptance Speech by Trish Franklin


  • Mr. Vũ Xuân Hồng – President of the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organizations
  • Mr. John McAnulty – Consul General of Australia
  • Ms. Trần Thị Thu Thủy – General Director of Rep. Office of Paccom South
  • Mr. Phùng Công Dũng – Vice Chairman of HUFO
  • Other members of HUFO
  • Friends and Team Members:

Offering to each and all my wishes of friendship and companionship.

Firstly, I wish to express my personal gratitude to the President of Vietnam Mr. Trương Tấn Sang and Prime Minister of Vietnam Mr. Nguyễn Tấn Dũng for bestowing this great honor on me tonight. I am humbled and proud – all at the same time! Vietnam is truly a stunning country and I have been honored and privileged to have been a guest amongst you all for the past twenty years. I actually planned to stay here for only one year – but the attractiveness of the work I have been undertaking has lengthened my time considerably and has deepened my respect and admiration I have for Vietnam and its people. As an Australian – I am also very proud to have been able to build on the friendship of both Vietnam and Australia.

Loreto Program has worked in partnership with PACCOM in Hanoi, PACCOM in HCMC, HUFO in HCMC and so many other Union of Friendship Associations, People’s Committees and Education Departments in numerous Provinces – and it has been a road of developmental links, amicable relationships and above all – it has been a pathway in giving greater hope for the children of Vietnam – the future of your country. I have dearly loved every hour, every minute and every second of my time ‘lifting learners into the future’. I possibly may not live long enough to see the ripple effect of this – but with every thread of my being – I hope the kids we have assisted will, in turn, bring further successes, achievements and accomplishments for Vietnam’s ongoing growth and progress.

I would like to take this opportunity to express my deepest gratitude to Loreto Program’s wonderful Team of Vietnamese nationals who have also given particular and unrelenting commitment to the works of Loreto Charity – in/of their own country. Each of them is a part of the ‘engine’, drive, energy and spirit focused towards our objectives/goals.

Once again – thank you for this amazing tribute. Vietnam in my heart – forever!

Extending good health, happiness and success in all your undertakings. Thank You.

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