Filed in 2015, 2015, Fieldwork, News by on April 27, 2015

We are now calling for participants in Vietnam Fieldwork scheduled in August, 2015

Hosts HUST (Vietnam) and Keio (Japan)
Main Instructor Vu Le Thao Chi, Ph.D. (Keio University)
Period August 18-27, 2015
Locations Hanoi University of Science and Technology (HUST), HanoiPhu Cat District- Binh Dinh province
Number of expected participants  20 students (from EBA partner universities)

 Fieldwork Content:

The theme of the fieldwork is “Agent Orange/Dioxin issue and its lingering consequences from Vietnam War (1961-1975)”.

The fieldwork approaches the issue of Agent Orange/Dioxin in Vietnam from two perspectives: public health and environment.

About Agent Orange and its implications

The substance, Agent Orange, is dioxin-yielding chemical compounds. A 50-50 mixture of powerful phenoxy herbicides 2,4,-D and 2,4,5-T, Agent Orange was found to contain the most toxic chemical known to men, 2,3,7,8-T (Tetrachlorodibenzo-para-dioxin, or TCDD). During the Vietnam War, the US, under the code name, Operation Ranch Hand, sprayed 21million gallon of herbicide between 1962 and 1972, which is estimated to have yielded 170 kg of dioxin. However, as later found out, the adjusted estimate of the dioxin emitted in Vietnam (including dioxin produced from stored and abandoned herbicides) is believed to be over 600kg (including dioxin produced from stored and abandoned herbicides).

80 grams of Dioxin, if poured into the water system of New York, is claimed to be capable of annihilating the entire population of the city.

     The damage in the environment and humans was extensive. Destruction of tropical forest in the mountains alone could trigger a chain of damages beyond the spots of spraying (contaminating soil surface, water sources and as a result food chains). The extent to which the contamination affected people can be immense. Everyone in the sprayed area (then and now) could be affected. According to an official of Veterans Administration in 1979, it was “theoretically possible that about 4.2 million American soldiers could have made transient or significant contact with the herbicides because of the Ranch Hand Operation”. To the Vietnamese side, there are about 2.1 ~ 4.8 million known Agent Orange victims, according to the latest study by Columbia University Public Health group (Jeanne M. Stellman, et. al. 2003).

Regarding the cause-effect relationship between the exposure to Agent Orange and other herbicides and health hazard, American researchers conclude “with a very high degree of confidence,” that the exposure induced a wide range of often terminal and/or debilitating ailments such as prostate and other kinds of cancer, Hodgkin’s disease or multiple myeloma, or spina bififa often found among the second generation children of the Vietnam War veterans.  These are also found among the second and third generations of Vietnamese residents in the sprayed areas as well as the war veterans.

 About Phu Cat Area- Agent Orange and the current practice of agro-chemicals

 Phu Cat District is part of Binh Dinh province, a beautiful beach area situated in the Central part of Vietnam. It is a large rural and agricultural area embracing both Nui Ba mountain range and a strategic Phu Cat Airport. Both were the targets of heavy herbicide sprayings during the War. Until today, a large amount of dioxin residue still stays in the living environment. The majority of the victims in this area are civilians or former local militia or du kich. They were directly exposed to the spraying of Agent Orange, and/or indirectly to Agent Orange-contaminated rivers and well-water and/or through food chain. The estimated number of Agent Orange victims is 1,865 (2006) (the total population of Phu Cat is 194,000).

One point to note is that the majority of the residents in Phu Cat largy rely on agriculture activities for their living including– rice, cassava, peanuts and recently commercial products like cashew nuts. In addition to the direct contact with the contaminated environment not only during the war but also after the war (the dioxin residue, these farmers also have come in contact with different types of agro-chemicals including herbicides and pesticides and many have witnessed as well as experienced some side-effects of various kinds.

 Purposes of Fieldwork: The Agent Orange/Dioxin Issue implies a much larger number of different issues in the areas of Environment and Public Health: its impacts on the environment; the health issue of AO victims; the issue of disaster management; the relevance of history towards current issues; and community building in disaster management, to name a few. Therefor, the fieldwork is not strictly exclusive to students of any discipline. Students are welcome onboard to approach Agent Orange induced issues observed at the local level issue from their own expertise. Inter-disciplinary discussions between students are expected to follow to redefine the problems before attempting “what we can do”, not only at the local level but where else similar problems are raging.

 Tentative Schedule (August 18- 27, 2015)

Day 1Aug18 (Tue) Arrive in HanoiCheck in at Hotel near HUST*Meals of the day: on your own
Day 2Aug19 (Wed) EBA FW Program IntroductionLocal Language Training  + Ice-breaking sessionInfographics, Data TrainingWelcome Party*Breakfast and Lunch: on your own
Day 3Aug 20 (Thurs) Series of Lectures on Fiedlwork topicsGroup Dividing and Tasks Assigning for Fieldwork*Meals of the day: on your own
Day 4Aug 21 (Fri) Leave for Phu Cat (Binh Dinh)Check in Anh Phu HotelVisit AO victim families*Breakfast: on your own
Day 5Aug 22 (Sat) Lecture by Local StaffVisit Nui Ba- Dioxin exposed areasVisit and observe farming activitiesVisit a number of AO victim families
Day 6Aug 23 (Sun) Visit and engage in Dream Class Activities (for Handicapped children)Off time at Beach area
Day 7Aug 24 (Mon) Leave for Hanoi, HUSTCheck in hotel hear HUST*Meals of the day: on your own
Day 8Aug 25 (Tue) Group work at HUST*Meals of the day: on your own
Day 9Aug 26 (Wed) Discussions & Presentations at HUSTFarewell party*Breakfast and Lunch: on your own
Day 10Aug 27 (Thu) Leave Hanoi

How to apply: (for Keio students)

Both undergraduates and graduate students (who are able to communicate in English) are eligible for the program.
All you have to do is :

– Fill out APPLICATION FORM (from: in English
– Write an 300-word essay stating your interest in the theme of the fieldwork (either in English or Japanese)

Then submit these two materials to with subject: “Vietnam Fieldwork Application- Your Name” . The deadline is now extended from May 29th to  June 5th. Screening result will be announced in the following week.

For now, the participation fee has not been decided yet as the preparation work is still undergoing. But it should be under 50,000 JPY (including accommodation, part of the food costs and other services during the trip).
The good news for Japanese students is if selected, you are also eligible to apply for JASSO scholarship (70,000 JPY) which should help cover part of your Fieldwork related expenses.

For more information, please contact us via email at


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