International House will celebrate its 75th Anniversary during the 2005-2006 academic year! Celebratory events include Homecoming brunch on October 16, 2004, a Valentine's Couples Reunion on February 12, 2005, reunions in London, Milan, Seattle, New York, Spain, and a special Homecoming Anniversary event in fall, 2005. To make suggestions, get involved, or learn more about our campaign, use the RSVP form on page 2 or contact Development Director Shanti Corrigan at (510) 642-4128.
Debate Club Explores
the Personal and Political
International House has always been known for fostering lively, informal discussions on a variety of topics. Ziad Nakat from Lebanon and Daniel Benoliel from Israel established a more structured forum for these dialogues by founding the I-House Debate Club. Ziad is a Ph. D. student in Civil and Environmental Engineering and Daniel is a J.S.D. (Doctor of the Science of Law) candidate, and both residents share a commitment to discussing difficult and even polarizing issues in a civilized way.
Debate Club topics include some of the hottest issues in international news, including "The Iraqi Brief: An Indispensable Preventative Strike or Just Another Oil War;" "The Kashmiri Conflict: Can Another War Be Prevented;" and "The Israel and the Arab Conflict: Can True Peace Ever Be Achieved."
|Debate Club member Begum Guvenc, from Istanbul, Turkey
Begum Guvenc from Istanbul, a graduate student in art history and history who is pursuing a Ph.D. at Cal, describes a Debate Club meeting that addressed a personal rather than political issue, "Multicultural Relationships: Do They Work?"
For the first time we were trying a non-political debate or rather an intimate and informative discussion. We were as nervous as our guest speakers, Sarah Cahill, Gökçe Kiliç and Vinay Krishnan. Each had an amazing narrative to tell and each represented what I-House is all about: multiculturalism, tolerance, and the very best mixing.
Sarah and her husband took the stand first, an African-American and a white Berkeleyan. They described the difficulties they encountered during the first twenty-five years that they have been together and how much they still love each other even though they have been refused service, ridiculed in public, and discriminated against even by their own families. We felt like playing an old love song as they captured the audience and took us on a ride through their action-packed romance. Then came Gökçe, a Turkish native, who mesmerized us with her tale of a long-distance relationship; how her love for this American boy withstood cross-Atlantic phone bills and language problems and how it eventually brought her to Berkeley where she is finally reunited with him. Beneath the details, Vinay's story held the same message: love conquers all. Love found him at a Russian party where, as a native of India, he felt like a grizzly bear among a bunch of polar bears. But their love was too strong to be influenced by skin color, religion, or cultural differences. We all saw his Russian girlfriend in the audience turn red with happiness and embarrassment.
It was too cute. It was too perfect. It was exactly I-House. It was just another one of those debates but we counted ourselves mightily successful.
The Debate club regularly attracts over one hundred residents. For information on upcoming debates, call the Program Office at 510-642-9460 or visit the web site.