Thank you to everyone who came out for the Agent Orange and Addressing the Legacy of the War in Vietnam Conference at the University of California, Berkeley. It was a dynamic gathering of 154 Vietnamese-Americans, college students, Rotarians and advocates – all working together to brainstorm solutions to the long-term impact of Agent Orange in Vietnam.
Participants learned about Agent Orange from a range of perspectives, including filmmakers, journalists, scientists, policy makers and NGO leaders. Dr. Nguyen Thi Ngoc Phuong explained how dioxin continues to impact the land and people of Vietnam. Japanese filmmaker Masako Sakata showed her moving documentary Agent Orange: A Personal Requiem and joined a discussion on social impact through film. There was even a panel featuring two U.C. Berkeley alumni from different generations who drew connections between the anti-war movement of the 1960s and 70s and the Occupy Wall Street movement.
In her closing remarks, Susan Berresford, Convener of the U.S.-Vietnam Dialogue Group on Agent Orange/dioxin said it was the largest conference on Agent Orange to date. Conference organizer Susan Lieu brought it home with an energizing chant: “Make,” the left side of the room shouted, “Agent Orange” came the center, “History!”