Vietnam Center & Archive News and Updates

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Mallett Passes CA Exam

On August 12, 2009, Ann Mallett, Vietnamese American Heritage Archivist, took the Academy of Certified Archivists’ C.A. exam at the Society of American Archivists 2009 Austin Conference. Ms. Mallett passed the exam and is now a Certified Archivist.

Monday, July 20, 2009

FVPPA Collection Attracts International Researcher

Van, a conscientious researcher from Geneva, Switzerland, spent three weeks in the Vietnam Archive gleaning information from over 13,000 Orderly Departure Program (ODP) Applications in the Families of Vietnamese Political Prisoners Associaiton (FVPPA) Collection (Vietnamese American Heritage Foundation), as well as other documents in other various Collections, for her Doctorial Thesis. She is currently attending the Universite du Quebec in Montreal, Quebec, Canada and hopes to earn a PhD in History. Van learned about the Vietnam Archive’s FVPPA Collection when she contacted the Archive’s Reference Archivist, Amy Hooker. Van’s ability to read, write, and speak French, English, and Vietnamese (she also speaks German) aided her in gathering ODP Applicants’ biographical data and curriculum vitae. Van was an absolute delight to have as a researcher in the Archive and the staff enjoyed having her here.

Friday, June 19, 2009

FVPPA Collection Continues to Help Refugees

Although the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugee’s (UNHCR) Orderly Departure Program closed in 1994 the Vietnam Archive’s Families of Vietnamese Political Prisoner’s Association (FVPPA) Collection (Vietnamese American Heritage Foundation) continues to help Vietnamese refugees immigrate to the U.S. Just this month a former Vietnamese reeducation camp prisoner was able to obtain political asylum in the U.S. by using the documents found in the FVPPA Collection to prove his case. This is an unexpected and profound use of the FVPPA Collection documents.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Ambassador Siv Interview

Photo taken by Victoria Lovelady, Public Relations Coordinator

The oral hisotry interview of Ambassador Sichan Siv is now available online. To listen to this remarkable interview click here or search the Vietnam Center and Archive’s Virtual Vietnam Archive.

Vietnam Center & Archive’s 1st Film Festival

To celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month the Vietnam Center and Archive held its very first film festival on April 20th, 21st, and 23rd, 2009. The Vietnam Center and Archive collaborated with the International Cultural Center, Student Union and Activities, Tech Activities Board, Texas Tech University Libraries, PBS American Experience, and The CH Foundation to show the films New Year Baby and Daughter From Danang. The film festival was a success with an estimated combined 260 students attending the three showings. After the showing of New Year Baby on April 20th, 35 students stayed to hear a discussion panel conducted by Dr. Miriam Mulsow and Sothy Eng.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

An Interview With Ambassador Sichan Siv

Photo Courtesy of Victoria Lovelady, Senior Editor

On the morning of March 12, 2009 Ambassador Sichan Siv sat down to an interview with Head Oral Historian Kelly Crager and Vietnamese American Heritage Archivist Ann Mallett. Ambassador Siv, graciously agreed to be the first person to be interviewed for the Vietnam Archive’s Vietnamese American Heritage Oral History Project, and to be the keynote speaker during the banquet on the evening of March 14th at the 2009 Vietnam Center Conference: Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand and the Vietnam War. Crager and Mallett conducted the interview in order to record Ambassador Siv’s phenomenal story in his own words and to hear in his voice the expression, emotion, and feeling of his words that is not fully conveyed by the written word alone.
The questions Crager asked Ambassador Siv document the Ambassador’s incredible life journey of faith, hope, love, and perseverance over great adversity and loss. Throughout his life Ambassador Siv has always helped others no matter how desperate his own circumstances were. As a young man in Cambodia he worked for CARE (Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere) to help refugees during the Vietnam War. After surviving the killing fields of the Khmer Rouge and losing his entire family (his mother, brother and sister-in-law, sister and brother-in-law, and their children were all killed by the Khmer Rouge) he escaped to Thailand where he helped his fellow prison inmates and fellow refugees living in a Thai refugee camp by teaching English (before being placed in a refugee camp he was imprisoned for illegal entry into Thailand because he no longer had any ID or documentation). Once the Ambassador immigrated to the U.S. in 1976 he continued his humanitarian efforts and worked to help refugees from his position as Deputy Assistant to the President for Public Liaison and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.
The Ambassador walked into the room for the interview carrying his distinctive red and black jacketed memoir, “Golden Bones: An Extraordinary Journey From Hell in Cambodia to a New Life in America,” just published eight months prior (July 1, 2008). Immediately upon seeing Ambassador Siv one is stuck by how distinguished looking he is and the air he gives of being laid back, relaxed, and comfortable in any situation. He is tall, athletic, and looks younger than his actual age, one would not guess that he had just celebrated his 61st birthday less than two weeks prior to the interview. Siv walks with an agility and grace that belies that his legs were severely wounded by pungi sticks when he fell into a booby trap while fleeing Cambodia, and that he had been malnourished and starved for nearly a year in a Khmer Rouge slave labor camp. His eyes, smile, and jokes reveal a genuine kind and caring spirit. The Ambassador is an eloquent and gifted speaker, extremely intelligent and observant, and speaks many languages.
Crager began the interview of Ambassador Siv by asking the Ambassador about his beginnings, his childhood in Cambodia, and ended with accounts of his experiences as a U.S. Ambassadaor to the UN. Ambassador Siv was born on March 1, 1948 (year of the Boar 2490) in Phochentong (his father’s village) under a full moon. (Sichan means “beautiful moon.”)

Photo Courtesy of Victoria Lovelady, Senior Editor

Left to Right (Ambassador Sichan Siv, Ann Mallett, and Martha Pattillo Siv)

Friday, February 27, 2009

Law Student Volunteers At Vietnam Archive

To learn more about the effects of the Vietnam War and the Vietnamese American immigration process, Cam Xuan Nguyen (Carrie) began volunteering at the Vietnam Archive on October 31, 2008. Carrie helps prepare the Families of Vietnamese Political Prisoners Association Collection files for digitization by numbering folders, removing corrosive materials, and providing help with translation. Carrie speaks and writes Vietnamese, English, and Spanish. She is a Vietnamese American from Saigon. Carrie immigrated to the US in 1994 at age 10. She is a graduate student from UT Austin with a BA in English and Government (Political Science). Her hobbies include: reading, traveling, and cooking. Among the things she enjoys in the U.S. are driving and eating Mexican Food . Carrie came to Texas Tech University to get a J.D. in Business Law . She will take her BAR exam in July and hopes to work in International Law, hopeful in the Washington D.C. or New York area.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Winter Wedding for Anh & Van

Photo Courtesy of Victoria Lovelady, Senior Editor

Congratulations, Anh & Van!

Anh Ho Nguyen and Van Thanh Nguyen were married over winter break on December 28th, 2008, in Hanoi, Vietnam. Anh is a Vietnamese graduate exchange student from Hanoi who is working at the Vietnam Archive while earning his Masters in Business Administration at Texas Tech University. Prior to coming to the U.S., Anh studied Electrical Systems at Hanoi University of Technology. His choice to attend TTU in August of 2007 was due to his family’s connections to and good relationship with the Vietnam Archive. Anh became interested in working at the Vietnam Archive because it has so much information on Vietnam. On October 14, 2008, Anh began scanning and digitizing documents for the Vietnam Archive. His work will make these documents searchable and accessible to the public through the Virtual Archive. Anh’s ability to read, write, and speak English and Vietnamese fluently has been a great help and asset to the Vietnam Archive.
Anh enjoys tennis, playing games, and watching movies. Anh’s favorite things about his educational experience at TTU are the people & infrastructure of Texas Tech. The people of Lubbock, skiing (not in Lubbock), and sightseeing are what Anh enjoys most about his experience in the U.S.
We at the Vietnam Archive wish Anh and Van a bright future. May they share many happy years together filled with love!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

UNHCR Commends the Vietnam Center and Archive

On November 18, 2008 the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) regional representative Michel Gabaudan wrote a letter congratualting the Vietnam Center and Archive for opening the Families of Vietnamese Political Prisoners Association (FVPPA) collection, donated by the Vietnamese American Heritage Foundation. In his letter, Mr. Gabaudan writes, “I commend the Vietnam Center and Archive, and the Vietnamese American Heritage Foundation on their work to preserve this collection and make it available to researchers. The FVPPA’s documents will give researchers approximately 10,000 primary sources, first hand accounts, of Vietnamese immigrants and their experiences…The UNHCR is happy to have been a part of the Vietnamese-American immigration experience, and the contributions of the Vietnamese-Americans to our nation…”

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

FVPPA ODP Application Files Now Available to Researchers

The Families of Vietnamese Political Prisoners Association (FVPPA) collection, donated by the Vietnamese American Heritage Foundation, contains 117 linear feet of immigration applications of reeducation camp prisoners and their families in Vietnam. The FVPPA collection records the individual stories of 13,456 applicants for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ (UNHCR) Orderly Departure Program (ODP) and 227 ODP correspondence files from individual sponsors. The FVPPA helped approximately 10,000 ODP applicants and their families immigrate to the U.S.

The Orderly Departure Application files contain documents proving eligibility for immigration to the U.S. through the ODP. These records include: ODP application forms, sponsor letters, prisoner release documents, personal letters, photos, copies of identification papers, birth, marriage, and death records, educational certificates, military records, exit visas, and other relevant documents.

Due to the personal nature of these documents and privacy concerns the Vietnam Archive did not make the ODP Application files available to the public on May 28, 2008 when the FVPPA collection was first made open to the public. While the Office Files were available to the public, the ODP Application files were restricted until December 1, 2008 so that individaul ODP applicants and their families could contact the Vietnam Archive and decide whether or not to restrict their ODP application file temporarily or permanently. Not a single ODP applicant who used the FVPPA to help them apply to the UNHCR’s ODP chose to restrict their file temporarily or permanently.

Of the FVPPA collection’s 166 boxes (165 and 1/2 linear feet), 163 are now open to the public and available for research. 3 boxes (2 and 1/2 linear feet) of medical records and social security numbers are permanently restricte due to privacy concerns.

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