Inspired by Daniel Ellsberg’s vast collection of personal papers, recently acquired by University of Massachusetts Special Collections and University Archives, this free online conference brought together more than two dozen distinguished historians, journalists, activists, whistleblowers, and former policymakers on the eve of the 50th anniversary of Ellsberg’s leak of the Pentagon Papers. In a keynote address by Daniel Ellsberg and seven roundtable discussions, presenters explored the major issues that have engaged Ellsberg’s life: the Vietnam War, nuclear weapons, antiwar resistance, the Pentagon Papers, Watergate, whistleblowing, and the wars of the 21st century.

This conference was the culmination of a year-long course taught by UMass Amherst historian Christian Appy and journalism professor Kathy Roberts Forde in collaboration with Charles Sennott, founder of The GroundTruth Project, and Special Collections and University Archives, UMass Amherst Libraries, which is the repository for Ellsberg’s papers. As a companion to this conference, Ellsberg Archive Project website showcases selections from the donated collection, conference materials and GroundTruth’s five-part podcast series called The Whistleblower: Truth, Dissent & the Legacy of Daniel Ellsberg in collaboration with GBH.

The conference was collectively organized by the UMass Amherst Departments of History and Journalism; UMass Special Collections and University Archives, UMass Libraries; the UMass Amherst College of Humanities and Fine Arts; and The GroundTruth Project, with generous support from the Office of the Chancellor.

The Plenary Panel

The plenary panel is an historic conversation between Daniel Ellsberg and fellow whistleblower Edward Snowden, moderated by Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!

Events Include:

  • Student Roundtable: Lessons from the Ellsberg Archive
  • Keynote: Daniel Ellsberg
  • Why Nuclear Weapons Remain an Existential Threat and What to Do About It
  • The American War in Vietnam and Why It Still Matters
  • Antiwar Movements Then and Now
  • The Pentagon Papers and Watergate
  • Whistleblowers: Plenary Panel with Daniel Ellsberg and Edward Snowden
  • Lessons and Legacies in an Age of Endless War