Past Event

Perfect Spy: The Arc of Pham Xuan An’s Life from War to Peace

April 12, 2023
10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
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School of International and Public Affairs, 420 West 118th Street, Room 918, New York, NY 10027 Show Map

Speaker: Larry Berman, Professor Emeritus, University of California, Davis

Moderator: Lien-Hang T. Nguyen, Dorothy Borg Chair in the History of the United States and East Asia; Director of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University

What goes on in the heart of a spy? Can a spy truly have friends? What makes a spy tick? How does a spy decide between loyalty to a secret mission and loyalty to friends and colleagues? During the war, Pham Xuan An was the dean of Vietnamese journalists, employed by Time magazine as a full-fledged correspondent. None of his colleagues knew that An was really Vietnamese communist agent X6, whose training began years before the arrival of American combat troops and ended on April 30, 1975. For over twenty years Pham Xuan An lived his cover, deceiving everyone about his real identity while providing indispensable intelligence to Hanoi. After the war, Pham Xuan An was promoted to the rank of Major General and given the title People’s Army Hero. Yet, Pham Xuan An also became a symbol for reconciliation between former enemies.

This event is sponsored by the Weatherhead East Asian Institute and cosponsored by the New York Southeast Asia Network.


  • To attend this event in-person, please register HERE. *Please note that non-CUID holders need to show proof of their primary series and one booster dose of COVID-19 vaccines.
  • To attend this event online, please register HERE.

Contact Information

Julie Kwan