BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - As Brad Heim walked through Thailand and Indonesia, he wasn’t looking at the sights or seeking adventure. He was in search of opportunity.
But not for himself.
The Executive Associate Dean of the Paul H. O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs recently took a trip to Southeast Asia to explore possibilities that may lay hidden and build a pipeline for international students to benefit from an O’Neill School education. There also is the potential for internships and internationally based capstone projects for O’Neill students based in the U.S., as well as alumni networking and grant opportunities.
“The interesting thing in talking with ministries is how similar the policy issues are to the ones we face in the United States,” Heim said. “I met with revenue agencies in Indonesia and Thailand, and everyone is dealing with compliance problems with the tax code, how to really understand the measure of what is going on and figuring out how to improve the administration of their ministries and government.
“The context is different, but the main issues remain the same, which will make our education seamlessly translatable to a different culture or region of the world. Issues of pollution, clean water, taxation, and training staff to understand sustainability are universal.”
Heim also pursued opportunities in the arts.
“There are a lot of possibilities in Thailand,” Heim said. “The representatives of the agencies I met with were enthusiastic about partnering with the O’Neill School in a way that will benefit students and the agencies themselves.”
Heim’s efforts in Indonesia brought him to Jakarta and Bali, where he met with high-ranking officials in the revenue and environmental ministries. Summer study abroad opportunities also were a focus for him.
“We’re the No. 1-ranked program in the United States, but our profile is less visible on the other side of the world,” Heim said. “My meetings were to introduce them to our school and our programs, and to make sure they were aware of our reputation. We want to make clear that we would be a great program for them to become involved with. Part of this was flying the flag of O’Neill to make them aware of our high-quality programs and all we have to offer.”
Along the way, Heim met a number of IU and O’Neill alumni who can open doors for students in the future.
“I was struck by how incredibly proud they were of being alumni of IU and our school,” Heim said. “They were willing to help in any way they could because they wanted to bring their experiences to other people in their country. Whether it is collaborating, mentoring, or simply making an introduction, our alumni are instrumental in broadening the reach of the O’Neill School to new areas of the world.”
Although the journey of discovery was the first step toward larger partnerships in the future, Heim was encouraged by his initial discussions in the region.
“There are so many opportunities for both partners to thrive,” Heim said. “I’m really excited by what we can accomplish as a school and the potential for new experiences for our students. There is a lot of promise, and I’m thrilled I was able to showcase the exceptional education and opportunities O’Neill has to offer.”