New Texas Tech Institute Preserves, Reconciles Modern American Conflicts

Vietnam Center scope expanded to include U.S. involvement since 50s

As the United States pauses to reflect on the tragedies of Sept. 11, Texas Tech University announces a new institute devoted to advancing international reconciliation and documenting America’s modern conflicts, including the global war on terror.

The university, already home to the largest store of Vietnam-related materials outside of Washington, D.C., has established the Institute for Modern Conflict, Diplomacy and Reconciliation.

This archive-based research facility focuses on America’s world involvement since 1950 and will encompass Texas Tech’s aerospace and military science departments, the existing Vietnam Center and a newly formed Center for War and Diplomacy in the Post-Vietnam War Era.

"We anticipate that this institute will provide an information base to help steer the future of American diplomatic actions," said James Reckner, former director of the Vietnam Center and new executive director of the institute. "The Institute for Modern Conflict, Diplomacy and Reconciliation builds on 18 years of Vietnam Center successes and is a logical elaboration of the work underway at Texas Tech."

Founded in 1989, the Vietnam Center has become one of the nation’s most vital war-related archival and diplomatic instruments, preserving documents and materials for future study and also spearheading initiatives with Vietnam that have strengthened relations between the former enemies.

In the past month alone, the center formally agreed to exchange information with the Vietnamese national archive – the first such commitment in the U.S. – and hosted a team of U.S. government researchers seeking clues to the whereabouts of MIAs.

This new institute will broaden the scope of international reconciliation efforts to include countries outside Vietnam. It also will develop new research centers and archives using the model established by the Vietnam Center, giving equal attention to all viewpoints, and offer conferences and courses relating to issues of reconciliation.

Institute creators pointed out that while the Vietnam Archive was created approximately 15
years after the end of the Vietnam War, by which time most of its veterans had graduated, the new institute is established while veterans of current conflicts in places like Iraq and Afghanistan are returning to school.

"I have seen a significant increase in the number of students in my classes who are veterans returning from the war of terror," said Ron Milam, interim director of the Center for War and Diplomacy in the Post-Vietnam War Era, who teaches a course on the history of the Vietnam War. "They are the new archive donors and we still have them on campus."

Reckner will oversee the work of the two centers and the Department of Military Science and the Department of Aerospace Studies. Steve Maxner fills his role as director of the Vietnam Center.

Those interested in donating to the Institute for Modern Conflict, Diplomacy and Reconciliation can contact Maxner at (806) 742-9010 or visit one of two Web sites: www.imcdr.ttu.edu or www.pvwc.ttu.edu.

CONTACT: James R. Reckner, executive director, Institute for Modern Conflict, Diplomacy and Reconciliation, Texas Tech University, (806) 742-3742, or james.reckner@ttu.edu.