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Prince is Charming on Royal Visit

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Haakon and friends from I-HouseHaakon Magnus, Crown Prince of Norway

The Crown Prince visited with fellow I-House alumni before his remarks

It's not every day that a prince comes to I-House. On October 25th, His Royal Highness, the Crown Prince Haakon Magnus of Norway (IH 1997) returned "under the dome"— the place he knew as home while a political science post-graduate student at Cal. Executive Director Martin Brennan invoked the Norwegian proverb "Away is good; home is best" to welcome the royal entourage and guests at an intimate reception and award ceremony held in Haakon's honor in the Great Hall.

UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau conferred on Haakon, the 2009 International House Alumnus of the Year award for his extensive humanitarian work as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations to promote the Millennium Development Goals. The Crown Prince said he had originally accepted the UN role "because I strongly believe that all people are equal and should have equal rights to realize their potential as human beings."

Residents Alicia De Bruyn (Belgium) and Laura Hertz (US) were thrilled to learn they share the Crown Prince's former room! Residents Alicia De Bruyn (Belgium) and Laura Hertz (US) were thrilled to learn they share the Crown Prince's former room!

Among 100 in attendance, including 20 plus current I-House Norwegian residents, with whom the Crown Prince was a considerable hit, was Joe Lurie, I-House Executive Director Emeritus, who served during Haakon's residency. Lurie recalled Haakon as a man of humility and great personal warmth. "His Modesty," kept his future role as King of Norway under wraps, explaining to a resident asking about his future plans that they included "something in government." Referring to the recent shooting tragedy in Norway and the Prince's plea for mankind to "view differences as opportunities," Lurie personally saluted Haakon "for carrying forward the principles of this House."

In his acceptance speech, Haakon—slipping off his tie to great applause as he announced the Great Hall "feels like home"—cited how his I-House Experience had enriched him in many ways, both big and small, and contributed to the skills and perspectives of his diplomatic work around the world. He also wryly noted I-House as a key contributor to building his little known skills as a disc jockey….a useful talent in promoting cross-cultural harmony. "It's a great community to be part of here at I-House," said Haakon.

See video below and on our YouTube Channel!