Reestablishing Relationships in Thailand

Dean Terry Mason visited Thailand in December, engaging with alumni and exploring collaborative partnerships with several schools of education

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

International partnerships and perspectives have always been intregal to the work of the School of Education. Dean Terry Mason visited Thailand in December, engaging with alumni and exploring collaborative partnerships with several schools of education. The trip was a follow up to IU President Michael McRobbie’s visit Thailand last March.

One of the main objectives of the trip was connecting with School of Education alumni. Events from informal lunches to art exhibits provided the chance for Dean Mason to discuss urgent needs of the Thai educational system and plan for future collaborative projects with faculty. One of the trip’s highlight was meeting with Dr. Saisuree Chutikul, a distinguished alumni and representative to the UN, where she was a Cabinet Minister responsible for Women’s Affairs, Children and Youth and Social Development. Dr. Saisuree expressed interest in learning more about the school’s work in the area of STEM education and international projects that address violence and childhood trauma in post-conflict situations.

Dean Mason also had the opportunity to sit down with leaders from two schools, Chulalongkorn University and Srinakarinwirote University (SWU), both in Bangkok, where he discussed opportunities for collaboration with the School of Education. He presented to members of their School of Education faculty about the programs in the IU School of Education that might form the basis for partnerships. 

The last of Dean Mason’s meetings in Bangkok was with three recent graduates of IU’s doctoral program in Literacy, Culture, and Language Education who now are members of the faculty at Thammassat University. Thammassat University has long-standing connections to IU and our three alums (pictured here from left to right), Kwanjira Chatpunnarangsee, Jiraporn Phornprapha, and Suphawat Pookcharoen, were eager to plan collaborative projects with their former professors and others in the IU School of Education.

Before returning home, Mason visited Vanich Farm where he enjoyed a hands-on experience planting and harvesting rice and plowing the fields with the help of a water buffalo. Started by Apirag Vanich, who received his MBA from IU South Bend, Vanich Farm seeks to preserve traditional methods of farming and to offer children the opportunity to learn about sustainable, environmentally-conscious farming techniques and is visited by thousands of children every year.

The trip to Thailand was just one more chapter in the relationship between the School of Education and Thai universities and alumni, one that will continue to grow: plans are already being worked on for SWU faculty to come to IU for a study visit in the fall of 2017.