Last year, as I began to dream of a generous benefactor who would help support the renovation of our magnificent but aging building, our community began a collective planning process for the new millennium. Residents, alumni, staff and our Board participated in six months of strategic planning that set the following goals for International House over the first five years of the new century:

• Support and extend the I-House Mission worldwide through the development of an interactive, on-line global community serving residents, alumni, members and staff. Ensure the development of appropriate technological systems and training.

• Develop International House as a leading resource center for the promotion of global literacy and intercultural understanding on campus.

• Develop and implement new programs designed to maximize interaction and learning among people from different cultural backgrounds.

• Complete the second phase of a ten-year major building renovation plan designed to enhance safety, modernize the facility, improve the use of space and provide increased access for the disabled.

• Increase the number of residents from developing countries and under-represented regions of the world to ensure a resident population reflecting broad international, ethnic and socio-economic diversity.

• Invest in staff through a program of training and professional development.

• Continue efforts to build consistency of our institutional image and strengthen the promotion of our services and purposes.

• Strengthen financial resources to expand the financial aid program, to fund new initiatives, and to build reserves.

While we will be spending this year developing specific strategies to help us reach the goals (in effect to predict the future!), I would like to discuss a few of our dreams with you here. One of the first priorities of our new Development and Alumni Relations Director, Kate McClintock, will be to work with our alumni and friends across the globe to see how we can serve you better while furthering the purposes of I-House. Getting in touch with long lost friends and helping support career development are two obvious areas in which we can help.

But I think we can do more- and we can be bold about it. How, for example, can an on-line I-House community worldwide help to shatter stereotypes, reduce bigotry and nurture excitement about difference? How can the collective experiences of our alumni contribute to a more sane, peaceful world? What wisdom, driven in part by the experience of living at I-House, can help to resolve ethnic, religious and racial conflicts around the world? In short, how can our worldwide community use the new explosion of information and the modern tools to connect as forces for good?

As many of you know, we have gotten off to a fine technological start. All offices and resident rooms now have direct access to the Internet. This information age metamorphosis is part of a ten-year renovation that our building is undergoing.

Now, about halfway through the project, I am pleased to report that we continue to make progress towards enhancing the safety of the House. As of this writing, we have raised $135,000 towards fulfilling a $300,000 seismic safety renovation challenge grant from the Mark Ross Foundation. We are working hard with alumni and friends to raise the remaining $168,000 by April 2000.


Other aspects of our ten-year renovation plan were given a significant boost with the recent receipt of a $250,000 grant from the Bernard Osher Foundation to renovate a significant part of our dining room. In addition, we received a very generous lead gift of $100,000 from the Clarence E. Heller Foundation that will help support the restoration and improvement of the Clarence Heller Patio. Complicated drainage and landscape work plus the provision of access for the disabled will entail expenses of about $400,000.

When you read the "Electric Chairs Shock!" essay of Victor Santiago Pineda, a current resident of Venezuela, I know you will understand why we have put such a high priority on providing easy access for the disabled in all parts of the building.

I will look forward to exchanging information and ideas with you about these and other projects as we enter the new century, our 70th anniversary year. And for those of you who have not visited Berkeley for some time, we hope that you will let us know when your travels will bring you this way. It would be a pleasure to welcome you back, and it would be a wonderful opportunity to have your on-the-spot thoughts and dreams for International House, as it turns the century's corner.

Joseph Lurie
Executive Director