The governments of the United States of America and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, in partnership with the United States Institute of Peace, hosted a landmark event examining the transformation from enemies to partners by the two countries since the end of the war in 1975. 

Forged in the effort in the 1980s to account for missing Americans and assist Vietnamese suffering from war-related disabilities, cooperation between the former adversaries to heal the devastating consequences of the war expanded to include locating and removing unexploded ordnance, remediation of dioxin (Agent Orange) contamination at former U.S. airbases, and supporting health and disability programs for victims of Agent Orange. 

This decades-long, joint humanitarian effort to overcome the legacies of war has enabled the United States and Vietnam to achieve the normalization of post-war relations based on mutual respect. In recent years, it has expanded to shared interests encompassing diplomacy, trade, and regional security. 

American and Vietnamese leaders and experts explored this historic cooperative effort and the lessons it offers the world, and discussed the future of U.S.-Vietnam relations. Take part in the conversation on Twitter with #USAVietnam.

Video and audio recordings of the event are below.


8:30am – 8:35am - Welcome Remarks

  • The Honorable Nancy Lindborg
    President & CEO, U.S. Institute of Peace

8:35am – 8:50am - Remarks on behalf of the Government of Vietnam

  • Senior Lieutenant General Nguyen Chi Vinh
    Deputy Defense Minister; Permanent Member of Standing Committee 701

8:55am – 9:05am - Video 

9:05am – 9:20am - Remarks by Senior U.S. Department of Defense Official

  • Dr. Joseph H. Felter
    Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for South and Southeast Asia 

9:20am – 9:30am - Remarks

  • Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) 
    U.S. Senator, Vermont

9:30am – 10:30am - Panel 1: Foundations of U.S.-Vietnamese Post-War Partnership 

  • Kelly McKeague
    Director, Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency
  • Nguyen Huu Luong
    MIA Agency Director, Ministry of Defense
  • Ambassador Pham Quang Vinh
    Former Vietnamese Ambassador to the United States
  • Robert Destatte
    Vietnam Analyst, Defense Intelligence Agency 
  • Fred Downs
    Former National Director, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Prosthetic and Sensory Aids Service
  • Ambassador Charles Ray (Ret.), moderator
    Former Consul General, Ho Chi Minh City

10:50am – 11:00am - Remarks

  • Honorable Bonnie Glick
    Deputy Administrator, USAID

11:00am – 12:00pm - Panel 2: Healing from the Destruction of War 

  • Minh Huu Doan
    Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs of Vietnam 
  • Thao Griffiths
    Policy Advisor, Chairman of Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Former Country Director Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation 
  • Christopher Abrams
    Director, Environment and Social Development Office, USAID/Vietnam
  • Colonel Than Thanh Cong
    Director, Office 701 
  • Jerry Guilbert
    Chief of Programs, Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement, U.S. Department of State 
  • Charles R. Bailey, moderator
    Co-author, “From Enemies to Partners: Vietnam, the U.S. and Agent Orange”
    Former Director of Agent Orange programs at Ford Foundation & Aspen Institute

12:00pm - 12:10pm - Remarks

  • The Honorable John Sullivan
    Deputy Secretary of State

12:10pm – 1:10pm - Panel 3: The Road Ahead: Building an Enduring Partnership 

  • Ambassador Ha Kim Ngoc
    Vietnamese Ambassador to the United States 
  • Sr. Lt. Gen. Nguyen Chi Vinh
    Deputy Defense Minister; Permanent Member of Standing Committee 701
  • W. Patrick Murphy
    Acting Assistant Secretary, Bureau of East Asia and Pacific Affairs, U.S. Department of State 
  • Tim Rieser
    Foreign Policy Aide, Senator Patrick Leahy
  • Elizabeth Becker
    Former New York Times correspondent and author of “When the War Was Over: Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge Revolution”
  • Ambassador William Taylor (Ret.), moderator
    Executive Vice President, U.S. Institute of Peace

1:25pm – 1:35pm - Remarks for Luncheon 

  • Ambassador Ha Kim Ngoc
    Vietnamese Ambassador to the United States

1:40pm – 2:30pm - Luncheon Conversation 

  • Honorable Chuck Hagel
    Former U.S. Secretary of Defense  
  • Marvin Kalb
    Journalist and author
  • The Honorable Nancy Lindborg, moderator
    President & CEO, U.S. Institute of Peace

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