College of Southern Maryland
8730 Mitchell Rd
PO Box 910
La Plata, MD 20646-0910
The College of Southern Maryland, a designated Commemorative Partner of the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration, is planning a number of events centering on the Vietnam War, including speakers, panel discussions, seminars, films, and readings concerning the combat experience and its effects on veterans, the children of war, the Vietnamese refugee experience, and the combat experience and its effects on veterans.
At the end of this schedule there is a list of possible topics students in different courses and disciplines (for example English, History, Sociology, Psychology, Medicine) might explore during this period. Several of these topics can be connected to one or more of the events below. In addition, Vietnam veterans from the CSM faculty and the Southern Maryland community, as well as other members of the Commemoration Committee, are available for interviews, resource material and classroom visits. Contact Wayne Karlin, x5451 or firstname.lastname@example.org, to make arrangements.
There are also links to chapters, poems and essays by the writers who will appear in this year's Connections' series, included with the permission of the authors, for possible use in courses. The schedule is subject to change.
Sponsored by the Global Initiatives Committee.
Project R.E.N.E.W.'s initials stand for "Restoring the Environment and Neutralizing the Effects of War." As the project's mission description states, "More than three decades after the war ended, cluster munitions, landmines and other explosive remnants of war (ERW) remain a serious threat to many communities throughout Vietnam...ERW have been responsible for more than 100,000 injuries and fatalities since 1975, rendering many of the survivors permanently disabled.
In close proximity to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), Quang Tri Province was the most heavily bombed and shelled area of Vietnam during the war. More than 83% of the total area in Quang Tri remains contaminated with Unexploded Ordnance (UXO), compared to an average contamination of 20% nationwide.
Despite major efforts from government authorities and various international organizations, ERW remain a threat to people's safety while significantly inhibiting local development. As of December 2011 Quang Tri province sustained a total 7,086 casualties from UXO accidents, about 1.2% of the province's population. Notably, 31% of these victims were children...
The visiting delegation, Mr. Ngo Xuan Hien, the Communications and Development Manager of the organization; Mr. Luong Tuan Hung, and U.S. Vietnam war veteran Chuck Searcy will speak about Project RENEW'S efforts to "seek to prevent accidents and injuries from explosive remnants of war (ERW), making Vietnam safe for future generations."
* Source: “Vietnam UXO/Landmine Impact Assessment & Technical Survey - Phase I” conducted by BOMICEN and VVAF, financed by Office of Weapons Removal & Abatement, US Dept. of State. Project Renew website: http://www.landmines.org.vn/
Dana Sachs has written about Vietnam for twenty years. The author of The House on Dream Street: Memoir of an American Woman in Vietnam, and The Life We Were Given, as well as the novels If You Lived Here, and The Secret of the Nightgale Palace, and (as coauthor) Two Cakes Fit for a King: Folktales from Vietnam, she teaches at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington and lives in North Carolina.
From Amazon.com: If You Lived Here:
Forty-two-year-old Shelley Marino's desperate yearning for a child has led her to one of the only doors still open to her: foreign adoption. It is a decision that strains and ultimately shatters her relationship with her husband, Martin—the veteran of an Asian war who cannot reconcile what Shelley wants with what he knows about the world. But it unites her with Mai, who emigrated from Vietnam decades ago and has now acquired the accoutrements of the American dream in an effort to dull the memory of the tragedy that drove her from her homeland. As a powerful friendship is forged, two women embark on a life-altering journey to the world Mai left behind—to confront the stark realities of a painful past and embrace the promise of the future.
From Amazon.com: The Life We Were Given
In April 1975, just before the fall of Saigon, the U.S. government launched "Operation Babylift," a highly publicized plan to evacuate nearly three thousand displaced Vietnamese children and place them with adoptive families overseas. Chaotic from start to finish, the mission gripped the world-with a traumatic plane crash, international media snapping pictures of bewildered children traveling to their new homes, and families clamoring to adopt the waifs.
Often presented as a great humanitarian effort, Operation Babylift provided an opportunity for national catharsis following the trauma of the American experience in Vietnam. Now, thirty-five years after the war ended, Dana Sachs examines this unprecedented event more carefully, revealing how a single public-policy gesture irrevocably altered thousands of lives, not always for the better. Though most of the children were orphans, many were not, and the rescue offered no possibility for families to later reunite.
With sensitivity and balance, Sachs deepens her account by including multiple perspectives: birth mothers making the wrenching decision to relinquish their children; orphanage workers, military personnel, and doctors trying to "save" them; politicians and judges attempting to untangle the controversies; adoptive families waiting anxiously for their new sons and daughters; and the children themselves, struggling to understand. In particular, the book follows one such child, Anh Hansen, who left Vietnam through Operation Babylift and, decades later, returned to reunite with her birth mother. Through Anh's story, and those of many others, The Life We Were Given will inspire impassioned discussion and spur dialogue on the human cost of war, international adoption and aid efforts, and U.S. involvement in Vietnam.
INTERNATIONAL WEEK EVENTS
NOVEMBER 12TH, 10 AM - 4PM
Please join the Global Initiatives Committee to celebrate International Month at CSM
The GIC is bringing peace building expert David J. Smith to the La Plata Campus for two sessions—one for our students and one for faculty and staff. Smith recently edited the book: Peacebuilding in Community Colleges: A Teaching Resource, which underscores the importance of community colleges in strengthening global education and teaching conflict resolution skills. Enlisting contributions by 23 community college and peace building professionals, Smith has created a first-of-its-kind volume for faculty and administrators seeking to develop innovative and engaging peace building and conflict resolution initiatives.
"Global Peacebuilding 101: Exploring Ways to Making the World a Better Place"
10-11:30 a.m., BI 113
Students are invited to an experiential workshop to engage in understanding concepts of peace building and conflict resolution. Consider your roles in your community, both local and global! (Space is limited, so you must contact Michelle Brosco Christian, email@example.com, to bring a group of students).
A Taste of Vietnam
11:00 -12:30 p.m., CC Lobby (CC100A)
Try some Vietnamese finger foods and view the CSM 50th Anniversary Vietnam display just down the hall in CC 124.
"Peacebuilding and Community Colleges: Approaches to Building Global Awareness"
2:30-4 p.m., BI 113
Faculty and staff: Learn a number of approaches on how to infuse peace building concepts into the classroom from both a curricular and an extra-curricular approach. Engage in exercises and discuss and develop an action plan for your classes and CSM.
Andrew Lam is the author of Perfume Dreams: Reflections on the Vietnamese Diaspora, which won the 2006 PEN Open Book Award, and East Eats West: Writing in Two Hemispheres. Lam is an editor and cofounder of New American Media, an association of over two thousand ethnic media outlets in America. He was a regular commentator on NPR’s All Things Considered for many years, and was the subject of a 2004 PBS documentary called My Journey Home. His essays have appeared in newspapers and magazines such as The New York Times, The LA Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Baltimore Sun, The Atlanta Journal, the Chicago Tribune, Mother Jones, and The Nation, among many others. His short stories have been widely taught and anthologized. Birds of Paradise Lost is his first story collection. He lives in San Francisco.
From Amazon.com: Birds of Paradise Lost
The thirteen stories in Birds of Paradise Lost shimmer with humor and pathos as they chronicle the anguish and joy and bravery of America’s newest Americans, the troubled lives of those who fled Vietnam and remade themselves in the San Francisco Bay Area. The past—memories of war and its aftermath, of murder, arrest, re-education camps and new economic zones, of escape and shipwreck and atrocity—is ever present in these wise and compassionate stories. It plays itself out in surprising ways in the lives of people who thought they had moved beyond the nightmares of war and exodus. It comes back on TV in the form of a confession from a cannibal; it enters the Vietnamese restaurant as a Vietnam Vet with a shameful secret; it articulates itself in the peculiar tics of a man with Tourette’s Syndrome who struggles to deal with a profound tragedy. Birds of Paradise Lost is an emotional tour de force, intricately rendering the false starts and revelations in the struggle for integration, and in so doing, the human heart.
"Read Andrew Lam, and bask in his love of language, and his compassion for people, both those here and those from far away. He reminds us that we have history in common; we can laugh and cry together."
— Maxine Hong Kingston
CSM Professor Wayne Karlin served in the Marine Corps in Viet Nam. He is the author of numerous books of fiction and nonfiction and has received two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. In 1998, he was awarded the Paterson Prize in Fiction, and in 2005, he received an Excellence in the Arts Award from the Vietnam Veterans of America.
On March 19th, 1969, First Lieutenant Homer Steedly, Jr. turned a bend in a trail in the Pleiku Province and came face to face with a North Vietnamese soldier, his weapon slung over his shoulder. The two stared at each other for an instant: a split-second later, Homer's bullets smashed into the chest of a young medic named Hoang Ngoc Dam. Wandering Souls is the story of Homer's return to Viet Nam to give the diary he had taken from Dam's body back to his family. Award-winning author and fellow veteran Wayne Karlin accompanied Steedly on this journey, one that awoke, and brought to rest, Steedly's painful memories of the war. With eloquence and deep understanding, Karlin reveals the startling similarities between the parallel lives of Homer and Dam; both farmer's kids; both patriots; their experiences in a hellish war and their fatal meeting. He recounts Homer's years of trauma and his slow movement towards a recovery that could only come about through confrontation with the ghosts of his past — and the need of Dam's family to bring their brother's "wandering soul" to his own peace. And Karlin entwines their lives with the stories of Vietnamese and American writers, families, exiles and veterans met along the way, all of whom need to capture, contemplate and decipher meaning from their war.
"Wandering Souls is an important, moving, utterly compelling, and wonderfully open-hearted book, one that will become a touchstone in America’s literature about the aftershocks of our terrible misadventure in Vietnam. This is a book that will endure. Decades from now, it will help people see and feel the ongoing consequences of war's murderous folly."
—Tim O’ Brien, author of The Things They Carried
Robert Mason flew over one thousand combat missions as a 1st Cav Huey helicopter pilot in Vietnam war during a 1965-66 tour in which he participated in some of the bloodiest battles of the war, including the Ia Drang action made famous in We Were Soldiers. Nearly two decades after he returned from the war, he wrote his widely-read memoir, Chickenhawk, which has sold over one million copies and which Amazon describes as "Robert Mason’s astounding personal story of men at war....Mason gives staggering descriptions that cut to the heart of the combat experience: the fear and belligerence, the quiet insights and raging madness, the lasting friendships and sudden death." Mason is also the author of two science fiction novels, Weapon, (later made into a film) and Solo, as well as Chickenhawk: Back in the World, which described his life after the war.
Mason's gripping memoir ... proves again that reality is more interesting, and often more terrifying, than fiction. -- Los Angeles Times
Very simply the best book so far out of Vietnam. -- St. Louis Post-Dispatch
[Chickenhawk]’s vertical plunge into the thickets of madness will stun readers. -- Time
Patience Mason is the author of Recovering From the War: a Guide for Veterans, Family Members, Friends, and Therapists, written to help other wives of veterans. She also wrote Why Is Daddy LIke He Is?, a book for children of veterans with PTSD and pamphlets for wives and veterans explaining PTSD in healing terms. For 7 years Patience wrote the Post-Traumatic Gazette for veterans and all trauma survivors interested in recovery. She also wrote two versions of Why Is Mommy Like She Is?, one for civilian trauma and one for military trauma. All these materials are available free online here.
Robert Mason's Website - http://www.robertcmason.com/
An Excerpt from Chapter 5, "The Ia Drang Valley" from Robert Mason's memoir Chickenhawk
The War at Home by Patience Mason
Patience Mason's PTSD Blog - http://patiencemason.blogspot.com/
Patience Mason's Website - http://www.patiencepress.com/patience_press/Welcome.html
Teresa Mei Chuc was born in Saigon, Vietnam and immigrated to the U.S. under political asylum with her mother and brother shortly after the Vietnam War. Teresa, a fellow and teacher consultant of the Los Angeles Writing Project (a chapter of the National Writing Project), teaches literature and writing at a public inner-city middle school. Teresa has a bachelors degree in philosophy, professional teaching credentials in primary and secondary education, and a Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing (poetry) from Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont. She served for two years as a poetry editor for Goddard College's Pitkin Review. Teresa's poems were nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2012.
"This collection of poems is largely autobiographical, telling the turning points in a life that began in war-torn Vietnam. Somehow, unlike many, Teresa and her family survived, although her parents were separated for a long time. She, her brother, and her mother escaped Vietnam in a ship crowded with frightened immigrants, and in time they settled in California, bringing with them their nightmares, their memories, their history and culture. Family is a recurring and insistent theme in this book. Teresa devotes her art to her grandmother, her mother, her brother, her son. This is the story of a refugee family who settled in California, bringing with them their nightmares, their memories, their history and culture. "Teresa Mei Chuc's poems speak from the heart of one woman's experience, and expand beyond the personal to reveal and record the common experienceof multitudes.… The 'American experience,' what is it? Chuc’s Red Thread offers us all another piece in this difficult puzzle." —Lowell Jaeger, Editor, New Poets of the American West
A powerful, true drama of six women who went to Vietnam: five nurses and a country western singer booked by an unscrupulous agent to entertain the troops. The play portrays each young woman before, during, and after her tour in the war-torn nation and ends as each leaves a personal token at the memorial wall in Washington. A Piece of My Heart premiered in New York at Manhattan Theatre Club, and now has enjoyed over 1000 productions here and abroad. It has recently been named "The most enduring play on Vietnam in the nation," by The Vietnam Vets Association.
Doug Anderson served as a Navy corpsman with the First Marine Division in Vietnam. He has written two books of poems of which The Moon Reflected Fire won the Kate Tufts Discovery Award and Blues for Unemployed Secret Police a grant from the Eric Matthieu King Fund of the Academy of American Poets. His play, Short Timers, was produced at New York's The Theater for The New City in 1981. His memoir, Keep Your Head Down: Vietnam, the Sixties, and a Journey of Self-Discovery was published by W.W. Norton. He has also written film scripts, fiction and criticism and is at present at work on a novel about human trafficking. He earned a PhD from the University of Connecticut. His awards include fellowships from the NEA, the Virginia Quarterly Review, Poets & Writers, Inc., The Massachusetts Artists Foundations, The MacDowell Colony and other funding organizations. His work has appeared in Poetry, The Massachusetts Review, The Connecticut Review, The Southern Review, Ploughshares and many other literary magazines.
These can be done as interviews, essays, Power Points, files, art projects -- or any combination of the former or other effective and creative formats.