Elliott School to Host Vietnam War Protest Exhibition

A week of events at the Elliott School will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the of Vietnam War protests and give the GW community a chance to explore Vietnamese food, music and culture.

Waging Peace in Vietnam
Navy Nurse Susan Schnall leads an anti-war march for peace in San Francisco on October 12, 1968. Photo courtesy of Harvey Richards Media Archive, copyright Paul Richards.
November 07, 2019

George Washington University’s Partnerships for International Strategies in Asia (PISA) and the Elliott School of International Affairs will host “Waging Peace in Vietnam: An Exhibit, A Book, A Movement,” a full week of events commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Mobilization for Peace, the 1969 anti-war movement protests of the deaths of soldiers and civilians during the Vietnam War.

Open to all members of the GW community, the week of activities will take place Nov. 11 to 15 and will include documentary film screenings, a peace poetry workshop and open mic, and a reenactment of a landmark federal case over the First-Amendment rights of anti-war soldiers. In addition to a day-long symposium bringing together historians and Vietnam War veteran resisters, the week will also feature several cultural events that will feature samples of Vietnamese culture.

PISA Director Linda Yarr said the events will open up new perspectives about what happened 50 years ago and allow attendees to look at the past with a critical eye.

“Many of the films give a certain image of the war and of the 1960s—this stereotype of sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll,” she said. “However, the young people [of the time] were acting primarily out of a sense of patriotism and taking a stand for what their place in this country should be.”

A full schedule of events and links to register can be found here.

The week will also serve as the launch of an exhibit at the Elliott School, “Waging Peace in Vietnam,” and its companion book authored by exhibit curators and Vietnam peace activists Ron Carver, David Cortright and Barbara Doherty.

The exhibit, which has been displayed in venues across the United States and Vietnam, documents how anti-war movements led by active U.S. soldiers unfolded from underground newspapers to large-scale revolts. It will be on view in the Elliott School’s second floor atrium through Dec. 12.

“Lots of people know that there was a war in Vietnam and know that there was a huge anti-war movement with giant demonstrations, but very few people know that within the military itself there was an active anti-war movement among the soldiers,” Mr. Carver said.

He said in addition to honoring the patriotism of the soldiers involved in the anti-war protests, he hopes the week’s events serve as inspiration for students to create positive impact in the areas of gun violence, climate change, gender equality, current international conflicts and other global social justice issues.

The exhibit and book launch will kick off the week at 5 p.m. Monday.


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