From the Desk: Provost discusses her recent trip to Brazil, Chile

Nov. 13, 2014

The musical Micheletti family is a delightful example of the global impact of IU Bloomington’s programs.

Provost overseas

IU Bloomington Provost Lauren Robel met with IU alumni, including the Micheletti family, during a recent overseas trip. | PHOTO COURTESY OF THE PROVOST'S OFFICE

I met Andre, Mayumi and their little son Jun at an alumni dinner in São Paulo, Brazil. All are Jacobs-trained cellists, and even little Jun studied at the Jacobs School of Music in the String Academy. Andre’s commitment to teaching music in the city’s favelas has brought Jacobs faculty to a festival he runs in the summer. So it was a pleasure to connect him and Mary Wildeman, an IU journalism student spending a junior semester abroad in the city, during my visit to Brazil and Chile, so that she could write about the impressive work he is doing. And all of the alumni were impressed with Julie Daugherty’s fluency in Portuguese. The IU political science major had taken only two semesters of the language on campus before her study-abroad semester.

As always, it was an honor to represent our students and faculty on an October visit to universities in those two countries, and to meet alumni and current students studying abroad. My visit focused on advancing academic opportunities with four universities. Conversations with our faculty beforehand allowed me to raise possibilities for new academic collaborations in the arts, music and humanities, sciences, health, law, public administration and business in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia and Santiago, and to seek new funding possibilities for our graduate students and researchers. 

While in Brazil I signed a partnership agreement between the Kelley School of Business and the University of São Paulo, and I visited with the U.S. Consul General and his staff for a briefing on educational initiatives in Brazil. I also met with colleagues at Fundacao Getulio Vargas, the University of Brasilia, and the prestigious Brazilian Academy of Letters. IU is the academy’s sole U.S. partner, and that partnership has brought numerous wonderful filmmakers and authors to our campus. It was clear that the academy values this collaboration as much as we do, and members recalled with high praise previous visits involving the IU Cinema, the Lilly Library and the Department of Spanish and Portuguese.

Provost overseas

Robel's recent overseas trip focused on advancing academic opportunities with four universities, and she also met with IU alumni and students. | PHOTO COURTESY OF THE PROVOST'S OFFICE

The highlight of my time in Chile was a gathering of IU alumni and current students. I enjoyed a delightful afternoon with graduates of Jacobs and the School of Education, and I met two current IU students studying in Chile through exchange programs, Kathleen Rutherford and Tyler Wright.

Discussions at the beautiful San Joaquin campus of Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, which ranks first on the QS rankings in South America, included possibilities for advanced study for indigenous language, graduate programs in economics and business, and possibilities for the Media School. Conversation with the dean of economic science and administration quickly found common ground, as he had been a colleague of one of our economics faculty members as a Ph.D. student years before. 

Those connections happen quickly when I represent our campus abroad, and these human to human contacts reinforce and recognize the reach and impact of our programs around the world.

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