INTERNATIONAL HOUSE |
CELEBRATES 70 YEARS!
Seven decades of opening hearts and minds, encouraging leadership, fostering international friendship, preparing students to live and work together… even when their own countries have serious conflicts.
It was about six o’clock on a bright summer evening when we got to Berkeley and drove up Bancroft Way to International House. We passed into the Great Hall, then gleaming new and combining the best mission style with the finest in Moorish revival. I thought it was a place of unimaginable splendor. I remember with the greatest of pleasure my days at International House. I experienced here an intensity of discussion beyond anything I have known since, in 60 years of public life.
—John Kenneth Galbraith, Canada, IH 1931-’32
There we were, Americans, Japanese, Germans, Europeans, Asians, Africans, students whose homelands were on both sides of the war— literally and figuratively holding hands in friendship as the candles flickered and the news flashes of fighting came from Manila, from Singapore, from London. The candles were symbolic of the hope we wanted to keep alive- the hope for a world of friendship among all peoples. The experience served me well— providing a gift of mental and emotional expansion that has profoundly affected my life in the half-century since.
—Hal Gilliam, USA, IH 1941-’42
The period of 1946 to 1952 is referred to as the Golden Age. What made those years golden? Friendships made on ski trips to Yosemite; the all-night conversations between British and Indian students who had gone through the pain of Indian independence; the heated discussions about the Middle East which resulted in free speech becoming an established principle of the House; the patio talk that often lasted from lunch to the dinner hour. The International House Motto ‘That Brotherhood May Prevail’ was taken seriously and considered a personal and individual responsibility.
—Jean Sullivan Dobrzensky, USA, 1946-’56
What I learned in the library and from my professors came alive when I returned ‘home’ each evening to International House. Over the dinner table, I remember having lively political discussions about Sihanouk with a member of his family, discussing the Vietnam conflict with students from Southeast Asia, hearing of the Biafran war from an Ibo Ph.D. candidate. Around the TV each evening, students from over 60 countries listened to Walter Cronkite conclude: ‘And that’s the way it is.’ But I learned from my I-House friends that maybe it was not necessarily ‘that’ way.
—Donna Rosenthal-Lurie, USA, 1968-’69
Within a few minutes of sitting down, I realized that I was the only person at the table who was not Arab. This was 1972, long before any peace accords, and I had just arrived here from my native Israel. I had never before met an Arab, only saw them from afar through a hostile barbed-wire fence of a frontier. To my surprise, they remained civil, friendly, interested, and helpful. I began to understand that the hatreds on which we had grown up were left far behind us, and that here at the I-House we could see one another as individuals, as people, warm and caring human beings. For all of us, I-House was a unique place, which would forever stay in our hearts and minds.
—Amir Aczel, Israel, 1972-’76
I remember students from around the world watching as the Berlin Wall came tumbling down. I looked around me and realized how many of us at International House had taken down the walls within ourselves. The world was not only changing on the screen- it was changing through us at I-House.
—Bonnie Wasserman, USA, IH 1989-’90
People live here and learn to transcend barriers of race and culture. If people of so many different lands can live harmoniously at I-House then it gives me hope for the people of my beloved country, South Africa, to succeed at the arduous task of developing a brand new nation, free of the pain and legacy of the era of apartheid.
—Ursula Moonsamy, South Africa, 1996.