St. Paul, Minn. – Leaders of the Vietnam antiwar movement from the 1960’s and 70’s, Macalester undergraduates, and young representatives of the Southeast Asian communities in St. Paul will come together on the 41st anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War to engage and share their perspectives of the war and its enduring legacy. The symposium, April 28-30, will feature a new book, The People Make the Peace: Lessons from the Vietnam Antiwar Movement in which prominent figures from the antiwar movement reflect on the past. Some of those people will be at the symposium, including: Rennie Davis, Judy Gumbo, Alex Hing, Doug Hostetter, Frank Joyce, Nancy Kurshan, John McAuliff, and Becca Wilson. In addition, journalist Myra MacPherson will share her work with five U.S. ex-combat veterans now living in Vietnam. She is the author of Long Time Passing: Vietnam and the Haunted Generation.

The symposium will be at Macalester and the East Side Freedom Library. See schedule at the end of the release.

A cohort of 12 students from a variety of majors will set the scene for the symposium by creating visual exhibits, performances, interactive commentary, and discussion questions to help bridge generational and cultural differences.

Led by American Studies Professor Karín Aguilar-San Juan, these students have been delving into the campus archives with a focus on Macalester’s pivotal role in the Vietnam antiwar movement as the host of the national student conference that forged the People’s Peace Treaty. Considered by post-war historian Melvin Small as “the most innovative approach to ending the war,” this concise list of demands was developed in collaboration among students in North Viet Nam, South Viet Nam, and the United States.

Aguilar-San Juan, who edited People Make the Peace with Frank Joyce, sees the intergenerational aspect of the symposium as its most exciting and challenging feature.

“The students are opening themselves up to a relationship with the past, and they are bearing witness to a host of complex and conflicted memories about the war,” said Aguilar-San Juan. “When they sit down with these movement elders and begin a dialogue together, a new page of history will be written.”

Located in St. Paul, Minn., a city with one of the largest Southeast Asian communities in the United States, this symposium presents a special opportunity to hear the perspectives of those most directly affected by the Vietnam war and the often forgotten “secret wars” fought in neighboring nations, such as Laos, Thailand, and Cambodia.

The conference will conclude on Saturday, April 30 with a community dialogue at the East Side Freedom Library followed by a performance featuring Hmong American spoken word artist Tou Saiko Lee.

All events are free and open to the public. For more information about the schedule of events, contact the Macalester’s American Studies Department at 651-696-6410.

To request an interview with any of the contributors to The People Make the Peace, email or call 651-696-6148.


Thursday’s exhibit/discussion is on campus in the Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center and Gallery, Lowe Dayton Arts Commons, 130 Macalester Street, St. Paul, Minn., 4:45-6:30 p.m.

Friday’s book event takes place on campus in Olin-Rice Science Center, Smail Gallery, 1600 Grand Ave., St. Paul, Minn., 7-9 p.m.

Saturday events are at East Side Freedom Library, 1105 Greenbrier Street, St. Paul, Minn., 12-4 and 7-9 pm., FREE, 651-696-6410.

Macalester College, founded in 1874, is a national liberal arts college with a full-time enrollment of 2,138 students. Macalester is nationally recognized for its long-standing commitment to academic excellence, internationalism, multiculturalism, and civic engagement. Learn more at

March 17 2016

Back to top