Professor Phan Huy Le was born in 1934 in Loc Ha district in the nothern province of Ha Tinh. He is a descendant of the Phan Huy academic family that is well-known for great cultural celebrities who had received high scores at imperial examinations, such as Phan Huy Can, Phan Huy Ich, Phan Huy Thuc, Phan Huy Vinh, Phan Huy Chu. His father, Phan Huy Tung is a high mandarin at the Hue Court.
The professor was chairman of Vietnam Association of History Science from 1990-2015 and was elected as Honorary President for the 2015-2020 term. He was invited to give lectures at Paris University and Amsterdam University.
He is author of hundreds of historical research works, such as Mode of land and agricultural economy in the Le So Dynasty, Characteristics of the Tay Son peasant movement, the Lam Son uprising, Vietnam history and culture,History of Vietnamese feudalism
Professor Phan Huy Le has also served as key leader, member of many national councils such as the National Steering Board on compilation of Encyclopedia, the National Scientific and Technological Policy Council, the Central Theoretical Council, the Science and Training Council of Hanoi National University, the State Academic Council, the Ho Chi Minh Prize and State Prize Council and the National Cultural Heritage Council.
He was bestowed the title of Professor of History (1980), Meritorious Teacher (1988), People's Teacher (1994), the State Prize (2000); and became the first Vietnamese to receive the Asian Cultural Award Fukuoka from Japan in 1996.
Professor Phan Huy Le was honored for his great contributions to the city of Hanoi with the “Bui Xuan Phai- Love for Hanoi” award in the capital in 2011. He has devoted all his life to historical research of the capital. He was the chief author of the document on the Thang Long Royal Citadel Site and made outstanding contributions on the Van Mieu doctoral steles that were subsequently submitted to UNESCO for recognition as world cultural heritage.
The historian was also elected as foreign correspondent member of L'Academie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres (the Academy of Inscription and Beautiful Literature) in France in July, 2011.
He was awarded with Academy Palm Medal by the French government in 2002 and had the honor of getting the Prize of Honor of Francophonie 2014 (Prix d’honneur de la Francophonie 2014) awarded by the Group of French-Speaking Embassies, Delegations, and Institutions in Hanoi (GADIF).
He was an honorary doctor of the École française d’Extrême-Orient (French School of the Far East) in 2016.