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Vietnam Legacies Project

Overview

The Vietnam Legacies Project uses a transitional justice framework to examine the enduring legacies of America's war in Southeast Asia. Project members recently completed a comprehensive report on war legacies, launched in collaboration with Washington’s Stimson Center. The report is informed by the perspectives of veterans, refugees, and other impacted persons. Key findings were first shared at a scholar-practitioner symposium hosted virtually by the Human Rights Center in October 2020.

Project Report

Coming to Terms with Legacies of the Vietnam War

America’s war in Vietnam ended fifty years ago, but the legacies of that conflict remain potent. This report takes stock of US efforts to come to terms with the legacies of war in Southeast Asia, and advises what remains to be done.
Online Events

Afghanistan Legacies: Confronting the End of America’s Longest War

Informed by the work of the Vietnam Legacies Project, this virtual event will provide context for the end of America’s 20-year war in Afghanistan, the unfolding humanitarian and political crises in that country, and the lessons to be learned from previous conflicts like America's war in Vietnam. Featuring perspectives from journalists, refugees, NGO and veteran activists and historians. 

Latest News

Partnership with Stimson Center

The Human Rights Center recently joined the War Legacies Working Group at Washington's Stimson Center.

Collaborating on Advocacy

Together with Project RENEW, Legacies of War, Roots of Peace, and other members of the Working Group, HRC staff are advocating action on war legacies.

Past Events

Roundtable on Enduring Impacts of Agent Orange

The People vs. Agent Orange Roundtable

Find out more here

Vietnam Legacies Symposium

Collaborative Memo on War Legacies

Find out more here

Symposium Resources

Watch any of the symposium panel recordings, linked below: 

Session 1

Thursday, October 22, 1:00-4:45pm EDT - Moderator: William Trollinger

Panel 1: Transnational Legacies of War

This panel focuses on the complex identities that emerged as a legacy of the Vietnam War. Participants include: Selika Ducksworth-Lawton, an expert on race relations within the US military during the Vietnam War; Allison Varzally, author of Children of Reunion; and Đạt Duthịnh, a Vietnamese-born war refugee who has lived in the US since the mid-1960s and engages in peace advocacy with the Friends Committee on National Legislation.

Panel 2: Militarism and Right-Wing Movements

This panel assesses anti-militarism advocacy and the links between right-wing movements and militarism in contemporary America. Participants include: Andrew Bacevich, author of The Age of Illusions; Cynthia Enloe, author of Globalization and Militarism: Feminists Make the Link; Scott Laderman, author of The ‘Silent Majority’ Speech: Nixon, Vietnam, and the Rise of the New Right; and David Cortright, co-author of Waging Peace in Vietnam.

Breakout Conversation About Advocacy

Join HRC staff and symposium participants for a breakout conversation about war legacy issues and advocacy.

Session 2

Friday, October 23, 9:00-11:30am EDT - Moderator: Ashleigh Lawrence-Sanders

Panel 3: Reconciliation and Rebuilding

This panel focuses on efforts to rebuild war-torn landscapes in Viet Nam, highlighting the role of transnational organizations in supporting postwar rebuilding and reconciliation. Participants include: Chuck Searcy and Dang Quang Toan from Project RENEW; John Goines III from the DPAA Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base; and Mike Boehm from Madison Quakers, Inc. 

Panel 4: Legal Accountability

This panel focuses on legal accountability as a key mechanism of post-war transitional justice. Participants include: Colleen Murphy, author of The Conceptual Foundations of Transitional Justice; Patrick Hagopian, author of American Immunity: War Crimes and the Limits of International Law; Katherine Gallagher of the Center for Constitutional Rights; and David Kieran, author of Forever Vietnam: How a Divisive War Changed American Public Memory.

Session 3

Friday, October 23, 1:00-4:15pm EDT - Moderator: Tony Talbott

Panel 5: Reparation and Healing

This panel focuses on the post-conflict work of veterans and children of veterans, and considers how veterans’ advocacy for reparation and healing contributes to forging peace. Participants include: Ben Schrader, author of Fight to Live, Live to Fight and University of Dayton affiliate; Garett Reppenhagen, Executive Director of Veterans for Peace; Heather Bowser, President of the Children of Vietnam Veterans Health Alliance (COVVHA); and Susan Hammond of the War Legacies Project.

Panel 6: Representation and Memorialization

This panel considers how literature, visual media, and memorials have helped shape the memory of war in America and Viet Nam. Panelists include: Yến Lê Espiritu, author of Body Counts: The Vietnam War and Militarized Refugees; Thomas Grace, author of Kent State: Death and Dissent in the Long Sixties; Paul Morrow, Human Rights Fellow at the University of Dayton and author of Unconscionable Crimes: How Norms Explain and Constrain Mass Atrocities; and Bich-Ngoc Turner, lecturer in Vietnamese language and literature at the University of Washington. 

Closing Conversation

Join HRC staff and symposium participants for a concluding conversation about war legacy issues and advocacy. Featuring Tim Rieser, Senior Foreign Policy Aide to Senator Patrick Leahy, and John Meagher, UD '63. 


Welcome All to the Symposium

  • U.S. Vietnamese Ambassador Ha Kim Ngoc
  • President Eric Spina
  • Welcome message from U.S. Vietnamese Ambassador Ha Kim Ngoc

    Welcome message from University of Dayton President Eric Spina

    Supporting Partners

    The Stimson Center

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    War Legacies Project

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    Human Rights 03.15.21
    University of Dayton Human Rights Center faculty and students create online exhibit exploring Vietnam War’s impact on campus

    A key component of the Vietnam Legacies Project explores the University of Dayton in a wartime setting, showcasing protests, personal stories and the greater effects of the war on campus. An initiative of the UD Human Rights Center, the project includes a virtual exhibit launched during the 2020 fall semester, as well as a two-day online symposium in October that addressed the impact of the war in the U.S. and attracted more than 40 panelists and attendees.

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    Human Rights 01.22.21
    Veterans and the January 6th Insurrection Attempt

    Veteran Benjamin Schrader explores the reasons behind the substantial involvement of military veterans at the attempted insurrection at the Capitol this month, providing insights into trends in the militarization of US society.

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    Human Rights 09.07.20
    Uncovering a Legacy: A Reflection on the History of Peace at UD

    The Vietnam Legacies Project explores the impact of the war on UD’s campus. Here, HRC student intern Katie Schreyer shares highlights from her work on this project, including archival finds and interviews with Vietnam-era alumni.

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    Human Rights 06.03.20
    Looking Back to Move Forward

    Reflecting on the events of this past spring, it’s easy to see parallels with the social concerns that occupied Americans fifty years ago. Dr. Paul Morrow outlines these parallels, bringing to light the racial divisions of the Vietnam era that are still felt today.

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    Human Rights 12.05.19
    Visiting the Traumatic Legacies of War

    Ben Schrader, project researcher for the Vietnam Legacies Project, reflects on his recent visit to Viet Nam and humanitarian activism and advocacy related to impacts of the Vietnam War.

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