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Barbara Lynch Student Essay Contest: Crossing Borders

Hugo and Elfi Tarazona with Sandeep Patkar, winner of the Barbara Lynch Crossing Borders Essay Contest.

Barbara Lynch touched the lives of thousands of residents as she organized community visits, trips, and programs in the I-House Program Office from 1966 to 1988. After Barbara died in 2001, Hugo and Elfi Tarazona established an endowment for the Barbara Lynch Crossing Borders Essay Awards Program. The fund provides awards for an annual essay contest that challenges residents to describe their I-House experiences. Following are excerpts the 2003 winning essay.

My beginnings at International House were filled with anxiety. Upon arrival, one is faced with a sea of unknown people from all cultural environments. During the first Coffee Hour, I met a young man who would forever change my path. A few days later, I met this individual once again. Our eyes lit up. Suddenly there was a familiar face. As time passed, I learned through my friendship with him, the true meaning of brotherhood. Brotherhood, a gift bestowed upon men that sees no boundaries. Brotherhood, a characteristic of life that traverses generational, cultural, and geographic gaps. A characteristic of human experience that fosters a sense of tolerance and permits a vision of the beauty in human synergy rather than division.

Suddenly, I was able to open up to others. I was no longer locked away in my room. I was eager for continual exposure to these interesting and at times mystical residents. The jugglers, the mathematicians, gymnasts, musically inclined, World Peace Scholars, all complement one another in ways that on the surface seem to be so divergent. Such is a glimpse of the International House Berkeley. What may seem to be so diverse on the surface is so similar at the core. Richness in tradition, cultures, and attitudes. only to be discovered if one opens his or her eyes and walks through the front doors of 2299 Piedmont Avenue.

--Sandeep Patkar, a civil engineering student from the US

The winners of the Barbara Lynch Crossing Borders Essay Contest were announced at Sunday Supper last spring. Naureen Mohammad from the US (a Peace and Conflict Studies student) received the second place award. Irene Corantis from Greece (an MBA student) was the third place winner. Honorable mention wnt to Agnieska Ignaczak from Poland (studying International Affairs and Economics).


Online edition of the alumnus newsletter of International House
© 2003 International House