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Vietnam Legacies Project

Overview
The Vietnam Legacies Project uses a transitional justice framework, which addresses how societies come to terms with the legacy of large-scale human rights violations using “judicial and non-judicial processes and mechanisms”. It asks whether enough has been done to come to terms with the legacy of the war within the United States, and considers its impact on Viet Nam.

  • Roundtable on the Impacts of Agent Orange
  • Panelists

    Heather Bowser, president and founder of the Children of Vietnam Veterans Health Alliance, Josh Kelley, son of a Marine Vietnam veteran, Carolann Caroll, a widow of an Agent Orange-impacted Vietnam veteran, and Dat Duthinh, war refugee and peace activist. Moderated by Tony Talbott, director of advocacy at the Human Rights Center.

    Online Events

    Roundtable on Enduring Impacts of Agent Orange

    To mark the release of the documentary The People vs. Agent Orange, the Vietnam Legacies Project hosted a roundtable with activists and families of impacted veterans. Co-sponsors included the Children of Vietnam Veterans Health Alliance and the War Legacies Project. 

    Vietnam Legacies Symposium

    Last fall, the Human Rights Center hosted a virtual symposium on the legacies of the Vietnam War. Panelists considered topics such as unexploded ordnance, health effects of Agent Orange, US veterans' activism, and memorialization. Other themes included militarism, African American soldiers' experience, and the enduring need for transitional justice. 

     

    Latest News

    New Partnership

    The Human Rights Center has recently been invited to join 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.

    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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