Progress and Obstacles in Addressing War Legacy Issues in Southeast Asia

The Stimson Center invites you to join a public discussion on war legacy issues in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. The discussion will explore progress to date in addressing the ongoing problem of unexploded ordinance and Agent Orange and explore ways that the US government and other stakeholders can be more involved.

Vietnam’s Ambassador to the United States Ha Kim Ngoc will provide keynote remarks on war legacy issues from the Vietnam War and their continuing and tragic impacts on the people of Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam today. Following Ambassador Ngoc’s remarks, Chuck Searcy from Project RENEW, Jamie Franklin from the Mines Advisory Group, Channapha Khamvongsa from Legacies of War, and Patricia Sheik from Roots of Peace will explore progress to date on war legacy issues in the region and discuss the need for further US engagement. War Legacies’ Susan Hammond will moderate.

The speakers will be available for media engagement prior to the event between 2:00-2:30pm. For more information or to make arrangements for an interview, please contact Courtney Weatherby at [email protected]

WHAT: A panel discussion on the progress that has been made on addressing war legacy issues in mainland Southeast Asia and opportunities for the United States to take further action

WHERE: The Stimson Center, 1211 Connecticut Avenue, NW, 8th Floor, Washington DC, 20036

WHEN: 2:30 PM – 4:00 PM on September 10, 2018


RSVP: Click here to RSVP for the event.

FOLLOW@StimsonCenter on Twitter for event news and use #StimsonNow to join the conversation.


Ambassador Ha Kim Ngoc from the Embassy of Vietnam

Ambassador Ha Kim Ngoc was born in 1963. He has served in the diplomatic service since 1988 in different positions and has much experience in bilateral and multilateral diplomacy. He was appointed by President Tran Dai Quang as the sixth Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam to the United States of America in March 2018. He arrived in Washington, D.C. on July 15, 2018. Before serving as Ambassador, Ngoc was Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) in charge of relations with countries in the Americas, especially the United States as well as with the United Nations and other international organizations.

He has a distinguished career in the diplomatic service and has previously held the positions of Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs; Director General of Department of Americas; Executive Assistant to Deputy Prime Minister; Deputy Director General of Department of Americas; and Economic Counsellor for the Embassy of Viet Nam in Japan; and Vice Consul and Head of Economic Section for the Viet Nam Consulate General in San Francisco.

Ambassador Ha Kim Ngoc graduated from the Diplomatic Academy of Viet Nam in 1985. He studied Russian in Kiev University, Ukraine from 1986 to 1987 and earned a masters degree of International Relations at Diplomatic Academy of Viet Nam in 2010. Ambassador Ha Kim Ngoc is married to Mme. Nguyen Thi Phuong Lien and has two children.


Chuck Searcy, Project RENEW

Chuck Searcy enlisted in the U.S. Army from 1966 to 1969. Assigned to the 519th Military Intelligence Battalion in Saigon from June, 1967 to June,1968, he served as an intelligence analyst at the Combined Intelligence Center, Vietnam (CICV).  After military duty he returned to the University of Georgia as a student and became active in the Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW).  Searcy was editor and publisher of a weekly newspaper for 12 years, worked in Washington in President Jimmy Carter’s administration and later for U.S. Senator Wyche Fowler.  He was Executive Director of the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association from 1989 until 1995 when he moved to Vietnam as representative of the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation (VVAF).   In 2001 Searcy became representative of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) and helped launch Project RENEW in Quang Tri Province, to clean up unexploded ordnance and provide medical assistance, rehabilitation, and income generation for UXO victims.  Project RENEW’s mission also includes support for Agent Orange victim families.  Searcy is co-chair of the NGO Agent Orange Working Group in Vietnam. He is a co-founder and currently vice president of Chapter 160 of Veterans For Peace, based in Viet Nam.  In 2003 Searcy was awarded Vietnam’s National Friendship Medal.


Jamie Franklin, Executive Director of the Mines Advisory Group (MAG)

Jamie Franklin has over 14 years of experience in the Humanitarian and Development sector, including more than 11 years of experience working with MAG in the Humanitarian Mine Action Sector. Jamie joined MAG America in November 2011 as MAG’s Representative in the Americas and took up the role of Interim Executive Director in October 2014. Prior to joining MAG America Jamie spent two years as MAG’s Country Program Manager in Cambodia and also has experience at MAG HQ as a Regional Desk Officer, in Lao PDR as Program Officer and in South Sudan as Country Program Manager. He holds a Masters of Economics in Development Administration and Management from the Institute of Development Policy and Management (IDPM) at The University of Manchester, and a Bachelor of Engineering from Loughborough University.


Channapha Khamvongsa, Founder and Executive Director of Legacies of War

Legacies of War is an organization that seeks to address the problem of unexploded ordnance in Laos, provide space for healing the wounds of war, and create greater hope for a future of peace. The organization uses art, culture, education, and community organizing, especially among the Lao diaspora, to create healing and transformation out of the wreckage of war. Legacies has successfully advocated for an increase in U.S. funding for bomb clearance in Laos from an annual average of $2M in 2008 to $30M in 2016. In September 2016, President Barack Obama acknowledged Channapha’s advocacy efforts in Laos, where he became the first U.S. President to visit the country. Channapha has written and spoken widely about the secret war in Laos and its aftermath and has appeared in the New York Times, Democracy Now!, CNN, ABC, PBS and CBS News.  She previously worked at the Ford Foundation and NEO Philanthropy on immigrant rights, civil society, civic engagement, capacity building, and transformational leadership. She has served on the Seattle Women’s Commission, as well as on the boards of the Refugee Women’s Alliance and the Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership (CAPAL). She was born in Vientiane, Laos and came to the U.S. as a refugee at the age of seven. Channapha received her BS in Public Administration from George Mason University. She received her Master’s Degree in Public Policy from Georgetown University.


Patricia Sheik, Roots of Peace

Patricia Sheikh is an agricultural trade and development expert and is currently the Agribusiness Director at the Corporate Council on Africa. In this role, she is responsible for promoting agribusiness and investment between the United States and nations of Africa for their member companies. Pat has also served as Deputy Administrator for the Office of Capacity Building and Development in the Foreign Agricultural Service. In that role she was in charge of USDA’s trade and development objectives and oversaw all activities regarding the implementation of food assistance, trade capacity building, and agricultural development programs. Through her leadership, Patricia helped developing countries around the world improve their agricultural systems thereby improving their standard of living and their ability to engage in two-way trade. Prior to her work as Deputy Administrator of the Office of Capacity Building and Development, Patricia was the Deputy Administrator of International Trade Policy, the World Cotton Coordinator, and a Trade Analyst at the Office of Foreign Economic Policy. Patricia holds a B.A. in History and Political Science from Notre Dame of Maryland University and an M.A. in International Relations from the John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C. Patricia joined the Roots of Peace Board of Directors in October 2014. Patricia has numerous awards acknowledging her accomplishments including the Presidential meritorious Executive Award (2001) and the Presidential Rank Award (2007).

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