Vietnam

Miller & Washington founder and senior associate Tom Miller has had over 40 years experience in Vietnam, starting in 1966 when, as an associate with the Manhattan law firm of  Webster, Sheffield, Fleischman, Hitchcock and Chrystie, he flew to Vietnam with renowned plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Arthur Barsky, and established a hospital – the Center for Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery – to treat war-injured children. 

During the war an international team of doctors and nurses teamed with Vietnamese doctors and nurses to treat thousands of children, including a little girl, Kim Phuoc, whose image running naked down a road from her napalmed village shocked the conscience of the world.  The hospital continues today as a teaching hospital, supported by the governments of Japan and Australia. 

As the war ended he worked as a consultant to UNICEF, expanding aid programs in all of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, and served on the legal team defending the rights of children, brought to the United States as “orphans” in the “Orphan Airlift”, who had been separated by the war from their families. 

He worked for many years for improved relations between the U.S. and Vietnam and mediated the release of Vietnamese political prisoners and an American prisoner in Vietnam.  When the embargo was finally lifted, he opened the first U.S. representative legal office in Vietnam and assisted with Vietnam’s first trade show in the U.S.  His business plan for coffee production in Vietnam was a finalist in the Haas/Columbia Schools of Business national competition.  

In 2006 he co-founded the Vietnam Green Building Council, an independent non-profit organization in Hanoi which is establishing country-wide energy efficient green building standards to conserve energy, reduce global warming and adapt to rising sea levels and violent storms which are affecting Vietnam and the world. He is also active in the development of community based eco-tourism in Southeast Asia, as well as a project with Vietnamese scientists to convert algae into biofuel.  

In Cambodia he is assisting in the protection of Prey Lang, the largest lowland pine forest in Southeast Asia and the home of the 700,000 Kuy ethnic minority,  which is rapidly being destroyed by illegal logging, mining and plantation clearing. Photos by Chip Chipman.