Vietnam War: Healing and Hope Visiting Cambodia, Laos & Vietnam
Informing Ethical Citizenship
“How can you ask a man to be the last one to die for a mistake?”
-Secretary of State, John Kerry, Vietnam Veteran, testifying against the Vietnam War to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1971
“How can you ask a man to be the first one to die for a mistake?”
– Senator Rand Paul, arguing against military intervention in Syria, 2013
Visualize it: teaching about Vietnam prevents the next “mistake”– another catastrophic war — from happening.
We want the events of history to inform ethical citizenship today. Our trips do that. Whether students are engaged in service-learning projects with children disabled with Agent Orange-related complications, dining in the elegant Saigon villa of Henry Cabot Lodge (Kennedy-era U.S. Ambassador to South Vietnam), or creating art with Khmer Rouge genocide survivors—our educational travel program is designed to open minds through the heart. We travel with compassion, encouraging students to empathize with the local people, policy-makers and soldiers on all sides.
Creative, comprehensive learning adventures in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia – where Buddhist traditions of forgiveness allow authentic engagement.
Internationally: our students and theirs are building a new generation of lifelong friendships.
Travelers are prepared pre-departure with a Global Online Academy Vietnam War course—accessible at their convenience — taught by our award-winning history teachers. Curriculum is designed to efficiently convey the significance of the people and sites we visit in SE Asia. Meaningful engagement with “living historians” –journalists, survivors, artists, policy-makers and veterans—humanizes the abstract. Students are poised to apply inferential reasoning about our modern day: Our inquiries are framed to encourage critical thinking about contemporary conflicts around the world, and in which ways social entrepreneurship can assist to bridge those differences.
Returning students are like mini-ambassadors in their communities. Change agents. Inspired to take action and make *something* a better place. Hosting a “Veteran’s Day” panel of soldiers from diverse conflicts, creating a “SayNo!UXO” non-profit to raise funds for clusterbomb victims in Laos, screening “The Missing Picture” Oscar-nominated for Best Foreign Film (2013) about the Cambodian genocide, starting a “Wounded Warriors” campus chapter, Inviting John McCain to speak on campus about his experience as a prisoner of war.
Since 2004, student innovations inspired by our trips are, like the casualties of wars, Too. Numerous. To. Count.
“Knowledge is the true organ of sight.” (attributed to ancient Indian Panchatantra) Join us in seeing conflict find a better way.
Combining cultural awareness, adventure travel, insider’s experiences and service-learning, this one-of-a-kind trip empowers travelers to understand the causes and consequences of America’s most controversial military conflict. Balancing active discovery with peaceful reflection, we perceive the Vietnam War through a lens of compassion. Students return from our Vietnam journeys as more ethical, attuned citizens of our global community.
Experience Saigon’s legendary buzz
Savor Hanoi’s French colonial charm
Boat the mighty Mekong Delta
Photograph rare scenery
Visit the infamous Cu Chi Tunnels
Honor U.S. veterans on China Beach
Relax in Hoi An’s breezy seaside tropics
Shop modern and traditional markets
Meet former “Vietcong” generals
Bike through local fishing villages
Trek terraced highlands to Hmong villages
Relax on breathtaking beaches
Taste Vietnamese-French fusion cuisine
Volunteer with Agent-Orange disabled children
Meditate in serene monasteries along the Perfume River
Kayak through limestone islands of mysterious Halong Bay
Trek through vibrant rainforest mountains
Understand past conflict and modern prosperity
Our meaningful engagement with kind-hearted locals brings the diverse realities of Cambodia to life: family farmers, genocide survivors, humanitarians, factory workers, artists and scholars. Travelers understand history of Cambodia at the local, regional, and global levels. Go Deep: innovate social entrepreneurial ideas in a land resonating resiliency of the human spirit.
Explore Phnom Penh’s urban buzz
Boat the mighty Mekong River at sunset
Tuk-Tuk ride through charming colonial streets
Savor gourmet French fusion cuisine
Volunteer at preschools with local children
Ride elephants through jungle clearings
Understand history and healing at the Killing Fields and Tuol Sleng Prison
Meditate in serene monasteries
Photograph mysterious Angkor Wat at sunrise, 7th Wonder of the World
Visit floating villages on the legendary Tonle Sap Lake
Shop modern and traditional markets
Inspire yourself with music and dance workshops
Relax on breathtaking beaches
Volunteer with landmine victims
Trek through vibrant coastal rainforest
Enjoy insider’s access to genocide survivors, artists and local heroes
Experience the tranquil spirit of a non-violent people thriving amidst a tragic legacy of the Vietnam War. Working in collaboration with M.A.G (Mines Advisory Group), students explore the UXO (Unexploded Ordnance) issue in a context of safety and mutual understanding. We visit schools where our service-work teaching English, entrepreneurship and how to avoid the “bombies” threatening local villages illustrates the power of education to end poverty and heal from war.
We are so impressed with the student travelers of Peace Works Travel. They came to Southeast Asia seeking to understand and help with the challenges of land-mined-Cambodia and the UXO-littered country of Laos. It’s incredible how they have already developed an awareness of war and an intellectual curiosity and exercised the act of social responsibility at such a young age.
Bill Morse, Director Cambodian Landmine Museum, Siem Reap
My Peace Works Travel tour taught me about my uncle’s military service of Vietnam. I appreciate his sacrifice for our country so much more now than before the trip.
Briggs Boss, Sophomore, Thacher School
This is truly the trip of a lifetime. Every day gets better and our guides make us feel like family.
Stacy Serrette, Teacher and Dean of Student Life, Emma Willard School
Peace Works Travel students are doing what we should all strive for everyday: learn from history and engage with dialogues of conflict resolution. That's the only way to prevent the next genocide from happening.
Paul Rusesabagina, Real-life Hotel Rwanda hero who saved over 1200 people during the Rwandan genocide.
You opened our eyes to the tragedy created from a war long ago. As a family, we have had many discussions inspired by the trip. There is nothing better than sitting around and having your kids interact in intellectual conversations. Many thanks for adding new food for thought to our kitchen table.
Shirley Hahn, Beverly Hills, California
History teacher-turned social entrepreneur makes an impact on educational travel scene.
The Santa Barbara Independent
After visiting the Killing Fields, we restored our hope with a volunteer project teaching English to kids. I understood how humans can heal from tragedy: We must all invest in the hopes of a new generation.
Alex Greer, Junior, Laguna Blanca School
The Vietnamese veterans shared stories about the War, ideas about a bright future for the next generation and how it feels to connect with those they fought. It was fascinating to hear their insights. The students were awestruck.
Kelly Bennett, history teacher, Santa Barbara Middle School
Vietnam was a name I had grown up hearing: a place my father had tried to avoid, a war my mom protested against, the battlefield where my uncle lost his sight to a landmine. When my school announced the spring trip, I knew I had to go. It was the best experience of my entire life.
Alexandra Kall, Francis Parker School
Volunteering at the Peace Works Travel Village was life-changing for my students. After learning about chemical warfare they discovered we can actually "do something" for the children living with the legacy of Agent Orange. I am forever grateful for this experience.
Spencer Barr, English Teacher, Santa Barbara High School, California
I had never led a group outside the country before. Your organization and planning and daily programing is so excellent. I will definitely do this again. Thanks so much.
Stacy Serrette, Director of Student Life, Emma Willard School
Another great day yesterday. We saw the body of Ho Chi Minh and learned more about his philosophy of bringing the government close to the ordinary people, how he lived in such simple quarters to make that point, and how the country evolved from independence from the French. Our students asked such great questions that integrated their thinking on policies and personalities. It’s clear they are connecting the various stories of Vietnam together in a more comprehensive picture of the war.
Eric Taylor, Francis Parker School, San Diego, California
From The Blog
Mira Costa School – Cambodia 4/3/14
by Dylan Lenze on April 3, 2014 in Letters From Cambodia After a long 19 hours of traveling, we finally made it to our destination: Cambodia. As soon as I took a step out of the plane, I was hit with a wave of extreme humidity and heat. From the airport, a small bus picked us up to drive us […]