International House Berkeley

I-House Times Fall-Winter 2013

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UCB Chancellor Dirks to Chair I-House Board In June 2013, Nicholas Dirks, former executive vice president of arts and sciences at Columbia University, assumed the role of UC Berkeley Chancellor, relieving Robert Birgeneau, who remains on Cal's Physics Faculty and whose capable leadership has guided the campus and the I-House Board over the last eight years. As the author of three scholarly works on India, Dirks brings a unique international perspective to Berkeley and to I-House. He has launched his tenure with travel around the globe and across the U.S. speaking with Cal alumni and supporters, including California Governor Jerry Brown (IH 1961). Says Dirks "One thing I've learned in meeting a lot of different people is to listen… to keep people who have very different views talking to each other. Sometimes the best way to speak is to listen." Dirks has articulated three areas of concentration for his initial months on campus, themes that coincide with both Berkeley and I-House priorities: enriching the student undergraduate experience, enhancing Berkeley as "a global university," and expanding research. Dirks wants more students to study and do research abroad, an aim consistent with the IH mission to promote intercultural understanding, respect and tolerance. "All of our students graduating from Berkeley are going to have lives that are going to be determined by a global world that is in many ways altogether different from the world I graduated into." International House looks forward to working with Chancellor Dirks as the Chair of our Board of Directors, in service to our shared aim to develop inspiring leaders for global understanding. NEW IH BOARD MEMBERS Kwei Ü, Dick Palmer & Chris Zand, pg 16. 2 International House Times Executive Director's Message Hans C. Giesecke, Ph.D. One of the most important skills sets to acquire in becoming a respected professional is learning when and where to say what. Whether viewed as emotional intelligence or decorum or political acumen, having the talent to speak up (or tweet) at the right time and say the right thing(s) is a skill that most recent university graduates have to develop through observation, patience, and practice. Clearly, timing, tone, and temperament are major factors in successfully delivering one's message. If these skills are developed effectively and utilized adroitly, they can become substantial assets in later phases of personal and professional advancement. Living in a community setting such as that found here at International House forces this development along at a much brisker pace than in most other settings. The fact that our residents live and dine together on a 24-hour per day basis compels them to learn these skills when interacting with one another at various I-House social events and venues. Yet, without proper guidance and understanding about how to develop such skills effectively, I-House residents may struggle unnecessarily in making sense of their applicability, their necessity, and their actual benefits. Indeed, it has been noted by researchers that successful attainment of global leadership skills is a learning challenge that is easy to underestimate. I n an intercultural environment such as that found here at International House, learning effective intercultural communication skills in a more deliberate fashion, thus, takes on an even higher urgency. Being surrounded by nearly 600 other higher level undergraduate and graduate students from some 60 countries around the world makes it essential to be coached regularly on how to develop successful intercultural communication skills. Beyond basic intercultural skills acquisition, the key question is how to coax our residents into becoming intercultural leaders where they can more often utilize their interactive talents to break down barriers of misunderstanding and achieve a greater sense of positive community wherever they may live and work. W ith this sense of urgency behind and before us, International House is now embarking on a strategy to establish a new Center for Intercultural Leadership where these issues will be at the forefront of our thinking. I-House has actually been involved in these kinds of offerings for some time, but now we feel the need to ramp up our efforts, integrate them more effectively, and focus on engendering "take away" skills that an increasing number of our residents will cherish throughout their lives and careers. For this kind of outcome to occur, we need to involve a much larger percentage of our residents in this kind of intercultural leadership training. We also want to enable them to more broadly incorporate such skill development into their own lives, with their families, and in their professional careers. T o see this vision for greater intercultural competence become a reality, International House's new Center for Intercultural Leadership must become one of our major areas of emphasis. We hope that eventually all I-House residents will participate in some form of intercultural leadership training and thereby be forever impacted by their participatory experiences. This is our new mandate for our collective future. We hope that you will join us in this endeavor and reap the benefits as well! n Hans C. Giesecke, Executive Director International House at UC Berkeley

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