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Building for Peace in the Wake of War

Ha Noi, Hue, Hoi An, Dong Ha, Viet Nam

Term Offered: 
Students and locals in a circle working together with shovels
CHID Viet Nam 2019
Approximate Dates of Instruction: 
August 24, 2021 to September 18, 2021

Pre-requisite:  HSTAS 265 / JSIS A 265 (The Viet Nam Wars), or equivalent. The course will be offered in Summer B term 2020 and in Winter quarter 2021.

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In Early Fall of 2021, CHID will once again sponsor a well-established study abroad program led by Christoph Giebel (UW, Int'l. Studies/History) to explore the legacy of war and ongoing rebuilding efforts in Viet Nam. More than 45 years after the end of the war, areas of central Viet Nam, where much of the fiercest fighting occurred, still must deal with the war’s after-effects. Environmental, community health, and socio-economic challenges stubbornly remain and defy quick solutions. Students will learn how wars—so easily started—will have grave impacts for generations even after their formal end.

Our group of 16-18 students will first gain cultural-historical insights in and around dynamic Ha Noi and serene Hue to firmly contextualize and historicize what is commonly called the “Viet Nam War.” In partnership with PeaceTrees Vietnam, a Seattle-based NGO working on land mine clearance and sustainable environmental/community restoration in Quang Tri Province, we will then engage with, and learn from, lowland and remote upland communities near the former Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) and participate in rebuilding and reforestation projects. We will be visiting former battlefields such as Khe Sanh and there gain hands-on experience in how areas cleared of explosives at long last enable sustainable agricultural projects and safe play and learning environments for children.
Besides these activities and learning goals, pursued in one of the most stunningly beautiful areas of Viet Nam, we will also critically examine concepts of “helping” and “service learning,” their ethics and pitfalls, and contemplate our position in a world defined by stark inequality in power and resources.
Professor Giebel has directed nine Comparative History of Ideas programs in Viet Nam, all of which have received uniformly enthusiastic student evaluations.  Ability to speak Vietnamese is not required, and students from all areas of study are encouraged to apply.

See Professor Giebel's feature in KBTC's Vietnam Perspectives interview series!

  • CHID 475: S.E. Asia Study Abroad: Engaged Community Learning (5 credits, I&S)
Fulfills Requirements: 
CHID Cultural and Historical Engagement
CHID Power & Difference
I&S Credit
Total Program Fees: 

*Note that the fees stated above do not include some additional costs, including, but not limited to: airfare, Study Abroad Insurance ($1.72/day), and personal spending money. These costs will differ by program. Be sure to read our Fees, Financing, and Withdrawal information for details about the fee structure and payment schedule.