A U.S. delegation handed over Kennedy School research on the Vietnam War to officials in Hanoi during President Biden’s recent visit.

Unseen Legacies of the Vietnam War Project

Finding, archiving, and sharing the missing data and historical ephemera of Vietnamese war dead

A U.S. delegation handed over Unseen Legacies of the Vietnam War research to officials in Hanoi during President Biden's visit to Vietnam in September 2023. (Source: Getty Images)

Exploring the legacy of the Vietnam War remains fundamental to our understanding of the effects of the war and to promoting a cooperative relationship between Vietnam and the United States based on trust and mutual understanding between the peoples and governments of the two countries.

The destructive nature of the war has left enormous holes in the social fabric of the Vietnamese people, whose culture places great emphasis on family and ancestry. Over 200,000 Vietnamese combatants killed in action remain missing in the southern half of Vietnam, and their families have no idea when or where their members fought and died.

The Unseen Legacies of the Vietnam War Project is the first systematic review of documents from multiple archives and other sources in the U.S. and Vietnam, designed to facilitate the location and identification of Vietnamese war dead. This information is provided to the U.S. Department of Defense along with personal ephemera and verifying documentation that can provide closure and healing to Vietnamese families.

Led by Professor Tony Saich and Dr. Hai Nguyen, the project will also enable future scholarship and study of the war and those who participated in it. The documents and analysis will grow into a state-of-the-art digital archive and exhibition platform. The collection will ensure that documentation providing valuable information on Vietnamese war dead—plus all metadata, descriptions, translations, relationships to other documents, and more—will be easily navigable and searchable for scholars, students, and others across the globe.

Meet the Team


Anthony Saich
Headshot of Tony Saich

Anthony Saich

Daewoo Professor of International Affairs and the Harvard Kennedy School; Director of the Rajawali Foundation Institute for Asia

Hai Nguyen
Headshot of Hai Nguyen

Hai Nguyen

Director,
Unseen Legacies of the Vietnam War Project
Global Vietnam Wars Studies Initiative

Mark Seah
Headshot of Mark Seah

Mark Seah

Program Manager,
Unseen Legacies of the Vietnam War Project
Global Vietnam Wars Studies Initiative

Giang Trinh
Headshot of Giang Trinh

Giang Trinh

Lead Researcher,
Unseen Legacies of the Vietnam War Project

Chi Linh Ha

Chi Linh Ha

Researcher,
Unseen Legacies of the Vietnam War Project

Quynh Ngo

Quynh Ngo

Researcher,
Unseen Legacies of the Vietnam War Project

Mai Bui Dieu Linh
Headshot of Mai Bui Dieu Linh

Mai Bui Dieu Linh

Researcher,
Unseen Legacies of the Vietnam War Project

Pham Thi Hong Ha

Pham Thi Hong Ha

Researcher,
Unseen Legacies of the Vietnam War Project

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