Make Agent Orange History: Conflict Resolution Day talk

Director of Ford Foundation's Special Initiative on Agent Orange/Dioxin to deliver message

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Cynthia D Quinn, (808) 956-6545
Director of Communications & External Relations, William S Richardson School of Law
Posted: Oct 19, 2010

The 2010 celebration called Make Agent Orange History is a two-part program including a keynote address with Charles Bailey, film screening, and a special educational session presented by the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Matsunaga Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution, William S. Richardson School of Law (Environmental Law and Health Policy Center) and San Francisco-based strategic communications non-profit Active Voice.

Charles Bailey, Director, Ford Foundation Special Initiative on Agent Orange/Dioxin, will pay a special visit to the UH Mānoa campus on October 21 and 22 as part of the international celebration of Conflict Resolution Day 2010. Conflict Resolution Day is celebrated annually on the third Thursday of October to promote the use of conflict resolution in schools, families, businesses, communities, governments and the legal system.
Keynote address and film: Thursday, October 21 from 5‐7 p.m. (reception 5-5:30 p.m.)

Charles Bailey will give a keynote talk that will be followed by the showing of the film “Vietnam's Lingering Ghost: Facing the Legacy of Agent Orange” as part of the Make Agent Orange History program. Charles Bailey is the key architect of the U.S.-Vietnam Dialogue Group, a diverse group of private citizens, scientists, and policy makers from the U.S. and Vietnam who, through the effort of the Ford Foundation, were brought together to work on critical issues related to the legacy of Agent Orange that the two countries’ governments, for decades, were unable to resolve. Bailey will recreate his experience forming the U.S.-Vietnamese Dialogue Group on Agent Orange/Dioxin and address the strategic selection of participants and the vital role neutrality played in its success.

The talk and film are free to the public and will be held in Classroom 2 at the UH Mānoa William S. Richardson School of Law, located at 2515 Dole Street. Parking is available in  the Dole Street lot directly adjacent to Law School building.

Dialogue Group Simulation Educational Session: Friday, October 22 from 10 a.m. - noon                              

On Friday, Bailey, along with faculty and staff of the Matsunaga Institute for Peace and Conflict  Resolution, is leading a special educational session in the form of a simulated dialogue group designed to engage students in discussion about track II diplomacy. For this unique learning experience Bailey will convene the students in a mock U.S.-Vietnam Dialogue Group meeting to experience citizen-to-citizen engagement on a global level and prompt discussion on critical elements of neutrality, trust-building, framing issues, and developing convening procedures or  "group conditions" necessary to begin to address issues related to Agent Orange. He will share his real-life experience designing and convening the first meeting of the U.S. Vietnam Dialogue Group. Session will be held in Saunders Hall, SSRI Conference Room 704. Seating is limited.

Contact Anne Smoke (808) 956‐6459 for reservations.

History of the U.S. Vietnam Dialogue Group

The war in Vietnam left scars on both Vietnam and the United States that were only deepened by the aftermath of the spraying of Agent Orange over millions of acres of forests and farmland in Vietnam. For decades the detrimental health and environmental impacts of the dioxincontaminated herbicide has been a controversial subject, hindering bi-lateral relations between the U.S. and Vietnam. To help break through this impasse, the Ford Foundation in 2006 initiated a citizen-to-citizen dialogue group to raise awareness about this troubling legacy of the war in Vietnam. After months of negotiation and preparation, the first meeting was convened in 2007.  In just three years since the first meeting, The U.S. Vietnam Dialogue Group has made remarkable progress affecting the well-being of Vietnam’s residents and thousands of war veterans. Progress and action steps to further improvements are detailed in the "Declaration and Plan of Action: U.S. – Vietnam Dialogue Group on Agent Orange/Dioxin 2010 - 2019" recently released by the Aspen Institute, a partner in the Make Agent Orange history initiative. One of the action steps is to raise awareness of the tragic impact Agent Orange is having on the health of Vietnam residents and the environment. Bailey and several others are engaging in various activities on campuses and in community venues throughout the United States.

The Dialogue Group’s biggest successes comes in the form of commitment by the U.S. Government to spend $15 million this fiscal year on clean-up and humanitarian assistance in Vietnam.  Agent Orange in Vietnam is a humanitarian concern that we can do something about. The Dialog Group report is a plan of action for addressing this legacy. The report notes that America is at its best when it responds to humanitarian concerns, restores hope and dignity to a devastated people and closes the wounds of the past.