Paul Heinzen: Humanitarian Mercenary


This summer I’ve had the opportunity to interview a boat-load of people. These opportunities have come through the University of Alaska Fairbanks Summer Sessions program and Michelle Bartlett. Unfortunately, the sometimes two interviews a week I’ve conducted for that program, which salutes the university’s centennial, stymied work on Northern Soundings. That said, I hope soon to post special episodes of Northern Soundings featuring many of my Summer Sessions interlocutors.

However, I’m pleased to post this discussion I had with Paul Heinzen. I originally met Paul when I was working for the Catholic Diocese of Fairbanks. Paul was volunteering, doing odd-jobs around the grounds of the chancery. As I came to know him, I learned he was a guy who marched to a different drummer. His main employment was working for NGOs, or Non-Government Organizations, in other countries. As a young man he found he loved to travel and began working for NGOs to continue his peripatetic lifestyle. That lifestyle brought challenges and rewards. When I finally sat down with Paul, he had just returned from Tajikistan.


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