News Release: Washington hosts Teach Vietnam National Conference

10 July 2008

Nearly 30 teachers from around the country will gather at American University in Washington, D.C., from July 16-20 for the 5th Teach Vietnam Teachers Network national conference.

The Teach Vietnam Teachers Network is a nationwide network of educators at all grade levels who are dedicated to teaching students about the Vietnam War era and building awareness of the Memorial Fund’s educational initiatives. Members of the Network represent the Memorial Fund in their school districts and communities, helping to educate other teachers and communities about the war’s legacy and how it continues to impact our nation today.

“These days, you can’t read a newspaper without seeing a reference to the Vietnam War,” said Jan C. Scruggs, president of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund that sponsors the event. “One of our presidential candidates is a Vietnam veteran. There are valuable historical lessons in the Vietnam War and its era that are applicable today, and the Memorial Fund is dedicated to partnering with teachers to make sure these lessons reach America’s young people.”

This year’s National Teachers Conference will feature presentations from experts and fellow teachers, visits to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and other activities to maximize the teachers’ presence in our nation’s capital.

Sessions will explore how letters, poetry and fiction can be used to illustrate the impact of the Vietnam War on the home front; how to use personal stories to teach about the war and the era; and how to employ current films in lesson plans. Also, one session will look at Vietnam as a country and people apart from our experiences there during wartime.

In addition to these sessions, a panel discussion being held at The Newseum on Thursday, July 17 will focus on the role the media plays during times of war. Both the Vietnam War and the War on Terror will be examined. Panelists will include award-winning authors and journalists Joe Galloway, Stanley Karnow and Don Oberdorfer, who will offer their insights and take questions from the audience.

Other activities planned for the conference include a breakfast on Capitol Hill with members of Congress on Thursday, July 17; a free concert at American University featuring country singer Keni Thomas and Cornbread on Friday, July 18; and a remembrance ceremony at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on Saturday, July 19, at which participants in the conference will offer a remembrance of someone whose name is on The Wall.

Each year, a “class” of teachers is chosen for the Teachers Network. The “Class of 2008” has 30 members; 22 of them will be attending this year’s national conference, along with six teachers from past class years. (View Conference Attendees)

The conference is open to all members of the Teach Vietnam Teachers Network and is designed to educate teachers about the history and continued impact of the Vietnam War. It also provides practical teaching techniques that attendees can use to incorporate the lessons of the war into their classrooms. Many past participants have cited the networking opportunities among teachers as the biggest benefit to attending the conference.

The Teach Vietnam Teachers Network was established in 2002. Currently, its membership includes nearly 300 educators from around the country, teaching all grade levels.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund accepts applications early each year for the Teach Vietnam Teachers Network. Information and applications can be found on the group’s Web site, The application deadline is usually at the end of March.

Established in 1979, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund is the nonprofit organization authorized by Congress to build the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Today, the Memorial Fund is an international nongovernmental organization dedicated to preserving the legacy of The Wall, promoting healing and educating about the impact of the Vietnam War. Its initiatives include educational programs for students and educators, a traveling Wall replica that honors our nation’s veterans and a humanitarian and mine-action program in Vietnam. The Memorial Fund is also building the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Center, an underground educational facility, near The Wall.
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