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From Foes to Friends: Rethinking U.S.-Vietnam Reconciliation



Public Virtual Event


December 9, 2020 (US) | December 10, 2020 (Asia)

Session 3 of the U.S.-Vietnam Indo-Pacific Conversation Series
View the Event Recording on YouTube 


Denise To
Supervisor and Laboratory Manager,
US Department of Defense, POW/MIA Accounting Agency

Phan Xuân Dũng
Graduate Student Research Assistant,
S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS)

About this Event

Since 1995, the people of the United States and Vietnam have worked hard to address war legacies — from the search for personnel missing-in-action, to collaborative and inclusive programs aimed at easing the pains of Agent Orange victims. While the reconciliation process was not easy, it has achieved significant breakthroughs. This session will revisit mutual efforts to overcome history, promote transitional justice and people-to-people ties, and achieve enduring U.S.-Vietnam partnership.

About the Speakers

 width=Dr. Denise To is a Supervisor and Laboratory Manager for the U.S. Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency. She is board-certified by the American Board of Forensic Anthropology and member of the Register of Professional Archaeologists. She has been an archaeologist for 27 years, which includes excavation of pyramids at Teotihuacan, mass graves in Central Mexico, and ancient human fossils in South Africa. In addition to teaching at Arizona State University, she has worked in Belgium, Bulgaria, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Kwajalein, Laos, Mexico, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Saipan, Solomons, South Africa, South Korea, Vanuatu, Vietnam, and Wake Island. She’s worked mass disasters in Nepal and in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. She is currently the functional area manager for all archaeological science conducted on all of the DPAA’s field operations around the world in search to recover the human remains of missing U.S. military personnel.


 width=Phan Xuân Dũng is a MSc student in Asian Studies and a student research assistant at RSIS, NTU. He is currently researching the impact wartime reconciliation efforts related to Agent Orange compensation have on the U.S.-Vietnam relationship today. His research interests also include: Vietnam’s foreign policy, Vietnam’s relations with great and middle powers, international relations of Asia-Pacific, and maritime security in the Indo-Pacific.


This series is held with support from the US Consul General Ho Chi Minh City and in collaboration with Vietnam National University USSH.

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