International House Berkeley

I-House Times Spring - Summer 2017

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H ere at International House we try to emphasize and repeat the mission of our organization as often as possible so that our various stakeholder groups understand why we exist: "e mission of International House is to foster intercultural respect and understanding, lifelong friendships and leadership skills for the promotion of a more tolerant and peaceful world." As much as we strive to promote this mission through our residential operations, our beautifully-renovated Dining Commons and the related programming now offered there, and through the outreach work of our Robertson Center for Intercultural Leadership, we regularly confront societal, economic, and political forces that assail this mission. It would be far simpler to run an International House that is made up of people from nations that are largely similar to and friendly with the USA. But, as we all know, that is not what makes the I-House experience such a powerful and impactful period in our residents' lives. What makes the experience so meaningful and enduring is that one is confronted by the enormous amount of global diversity in this place and has to then figure out how to make sense of it, come to grips with it, and use this comprehension of diversity as a fulcrum for understanding one's own place in the global landscape. It is precisely for this reason that we have developed an admissions policy and a companion financial aid program that is designed to continually and consistently increase the academic, economic, and geographic diversity of our resident body. e present circumstances highlight our challenge. Our national government's most recent attempt to establish a travel ban on entry into the USA for individuals from six predominantly Muslim nations hinders us from achieving our goal of geographic diversity. At present, we only have two students from the affected nations — one from Iran and one from Sudan. Our overall representation of students from throughout the Middle East and Northern Africa is lower than it should be. Under the current circumstances, it is hard to imagine that these numbers will improve very much; the most likely scenario is that they will decrease. It is for this reason that I believe that we have to stand up for the ideals that allow our mission to bear fruit. ese are the values of access, mobility, and open doors to students and scholars from around the world who have the academic wherewithal to be successful in this particular university environment. If we don't stand up for these values, we lose the opportunity to be the kind of place that truly challenges our residents' mindsets about what the world is now and what it can be if people from different regions and cultural understandings learn to live together more productively and successfully. I believe that the entire I-House worldwide movement is threatened by any measure that blocks individuals from realizing their academic potential because they can't enroll and reside at universities that have accepted them for study or research. It is incumbent on all of us to promote the mission of I-House and that ultimately means standing up for the values that enable this mission to prevail. n 2 International House Times Executive Director's Message Hans C. Giesecke, Executive Director Standing Up for the Mission of International House During Times Like These As of July 2017, Dr. Carol Christ, current interim executive vice chancellor and provost, will become UC Berkeley's 11th chancellor, succeeding Nicholas Dirks who will be returning to teaching and research in history and anthropology. Christ (rhymes with "list") first came to Berkeley in 1970 as a professor of Victorian Literature, having completed her Ph.D. in English at Yale University. Since her arrival, she has become increasingly involved on campus and proved herself to be an invaluable administrator and academic on Berkeley's campus, serving at various levels within the English Department and the College of Letters and Science. "Berkeley transformed me, as it has transformed so many of us, and it transformed my understanding of higher education. I had never been in a place of such intense intellectual vitality, with as great a sense of the consequence of its research. ere seemed no field of knowledge or endeavor that someone on the faculty did not know profoundly—and indeed was not working to extend its understanding. And I had never been in a place so deeply committed to widening the doors to educational opportunity." - Chancellor-Designate Christ We are especially excited to welcome her as the first woman to become chancellor in UC Berkeley's history, as she has maintained a passion for women's rights and gender equality throughout her career in academia. Traditionally, the chancellor serves as Chair of the I-House Board of Directors, and we are looking forward to working with Christ to further encourage diversity and inclusion on campus. n UC Berkeley Welcomes First Woman Chancellor Carol Christ

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