Miss Earth touches down in Vietnam

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Vietnam has officially obtained the go-ahead to host Miss Earth, a prestigious environmentally-themed beauty contest that has never left the Philippines, until now.

Nguyen Cong Khe, chairman of Thanh Nien Media Group, said that they secured a copyright agreement with the Filipino-based Carousel Production Inc. in May. Last Friday, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan, authorized the central province of Khanh Hoa to host the event.

Khe said his corporation has signed a ten-year contract with the Philippines-based Carousel Productions Inc., which owns the rights to the event. Under the contract, the Vietnamese media corporation will organize the event in the beachside town of Nha Trang, Khanh Hoa this year and the next.

For the next ten years, according to the agreement, Miss Earth will continue to return to the country every other year.

Incumbent Miss Earth 2009, Larissa Ramos (L), from Brazil will also come to Vietnam this August

The one-month event will takeplace from November to December, said Khe, who is a former editor-in-chief of Thanh Nien.

The ten year-old Miss Earth competition is considered one of the three largest beauty contests in the world.

Khe said the Miss Earth competition conveys a clear, relevant message: the need to protect the earth and its environment.

"In 2007, I came to the Philippines as a judge and was really surprised by the contestants' knowledge of the environment and their concern for protecting natural areas in their countries," he said adding that all of the contestants were college students with some knowledge of local environmental issues.

The organizers this year will grant Miss Air and Miss Water awards, in addition to the usual honorifics for costume and talent.

Around a hundred contestants will participate in a range of environmental campaigns and activities in Hoi An, the historic town; Nha Trang, the beach resort; Phan Thiet, also a popular seaside destination in Binh Thuan Province, Ho Chi Minh City and Dong Thap Province in the Mekong Delta. All of these locations were deemed suitable by Carousel officials and the event's directors during their ocular trip in July, he said.

According to the Carousel delegation, the chosen locations do not need to be of great beauty, for the contest does not only focus on scenic places but also sites of environmental interest.

"The place might be not beautiful, but that does not mean it does not need attention. Contestants could change our planet before and after the competition through their contributions to the contest," said Carousel's creative director Chris.

Khe added that he and Ramon Monzon, chairman of Carousel Productions, were talking about ways to divert event funds to the victims of environmental pollution in Vietnam. According to the former editor, they are looking to award scholarships to students and environmental researchers.

He said the winner of the Miss Vietnam World competition (which will also take place in Nha Trang this month) will be given priority in representing Vietnam at the Miss Earth contest.

"Next year, we might organize a Miss Earth Vietnam pageant to choose the woman who will attend the Miss Earth 2011 contest."

Khe said local and international channels are interested in the green pageant. He said that many channels have already registered to broadcast the final night live from Vinpearl Land Resort in Khanh Hoa province's Nha Trang.

The event will employ a pair of Vietnamese judges as well as a host of local environmental experts and artists who will be brought in to help with costumes and makeup.

Carousel will bring in its main director to collaborate with his Vietnamese counterpart on this year's event, he added.

Thanh Nien Media Group will co-organize the contest with Khanh Hoa People's Committee, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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