John McAuliff was active in the civil rights movement through providing support for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee as a student at Carleton College (Northfield, MN), and participated in the Mississippi Summer Project of 1964. He served in the Peace Corps in Peru and became the first president of the Committee of Returned Volunteers. He was active in the national leadership of the Vietnam anti-war movement, representing CRV, and later as director for a decade of the Indochina Program of the Peace Education Division of the American Friends Service Committee (Quakers). He was detained at peace demonstrations three times but never charged. He received conscientious objector status, and after two years of public non-cooperation, completed alternative service.
McAuliff arrived in Hanoi for the first time on the day the war ended, April 30, 1975, returning scores of times as founder in 1985 of the US-Indochina Reconciliation Project that advocated for normalization of relations and humanitarian aid. He led the first post-war visits by US academics to Indochina, coordinated ten conferences for US NGOs, and engaged with policy makers in the US, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. After normalization was largely achieved in 1995, he refocused much of his work to support similar goals with Cuba, renaming the organization the Fund for Reconciliation and Development. He has traveled to Cuba some sixty times in twenty-three years, leading groups and attending meetings, and speaks regularly with officials, educators and activists in both countries. His special personal interest is the role of Irish and Irish Americans in Cuban history and culture. www.ffrd.org