Voices on Vietnam

Voices on Vietnam is a semi-annual guest speaker program at Cornell University, featuring specialists on Vietnam including leading scholars, journalists, politicians, diplomats, activists, and historians.


In part as a result of the massive United States commitment during the Vietnam War, academic scholarship on Vietnam has been dominated by American perspectives and experiences from the conflict, often relying heavily if not exclusively on American sources. As a result of this approach, the vital role played by Vietnamese actors and commenters in shaping and interpreting their own pasts has long been overlooked. Although scholars have often neglected these flourishing Vietnamese-language print and online networks, they represent a vibrant space in which analysis of contemporary Vietnam and Vietnamese history is produced, dissected, and contested. We hope to help address this imbalance by drawing on lively debates on Vietnamese politics and recent history occurring within overseas Vietnamese communities, and increasingly, in Vietnam itself, thanks to a rapidly emerging blogging and social media scene.


Voices on Vietnam was an effort originally initiated by graduate students, who recognized the importance of bridging widespread scholarship on Vietnamese studies. Drawing on the success of Cornell’s landmark June 2012 Voices from the South Symposium, which saw a number of military, civilian, and opposition leaders from the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam) share their experiences under South Vietnam’s Second Republic (1967-1975), and which has resulted in 2014 publication by Cornell’s Southeast Asia Program Publications, we hope to continue developing Cornell’s tradition of building bridges between academic and Vietnamese communities both within Vietnam and abroad. Officially launched in Spring 2015, Voices on Vietnam is currently an initiative organized by interested faculty, students, and staff at Cornell University seeking to bring a diversity of voices to campus to discuss the field of Vietnamese studies and explore contemporary issues.