The I-House Connection: May 2020

I-House Berkeley: Celebrating Nine Decades
May 15, 2020

The I-House Connection -  May 2020

As we approach the conclusion of the 2020 spring semester, heartfelt messages of support and encouragement such as those shared below from fellow I-House residents and alumni help to meet the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.  For those still residing in I-House, and especially for those graduating this year, our global community of friends, colleagues, and mentors is a source of inspiration to be carried throughout life.  I would like personally to convey my appreciation to all of you who continue to display the true spirit of I-House in so many different ways.
I hope that you will enjoy reading some of the inspiring messages of support being conveyed by the extended I-House global community in support of our efforts to foster fellowship, cultivate community, and grow leaders. Through these uncertain times, we continue to wish you and your family health and safety.

Yours sincerely,

Hans C. Giesecke, Ph.D.
Executive Director
International House, UC Berkeley

Go I-House, Beat Finals

Please enjoy this video message compiled by the Program Office that features several I-House resident leaders sending their fellow residents a little encouragement for final exams.

Go I-House, Beat Finals!

I-House Alumni Rise to Meet the Challenge 

Patrick ThelenEvery year, I-House receives a generous grant through Davis Projects for Peace that is awarded to a resident for designing a grassroots project that addresses the root causes of conflict. Patrick Thelen (IH 2016-17) won the 2017 Davis Projects for Peace, and has since gone on to grow the impact of his winning project.

Patrick, who is from Germany and currently lives in Canada, chatted with the Program Office to share what he’s been up to since leaving International House. 

Read interview on our blog: I-House Berkeley Alum Patrick Thelen on “doin’ good”

Ker GibbsIn a similar example of I-House alumni generosity, Shanghai-based alumnus Ker Gibbs (IH 1988-90) is behind an ambitious effort to donate N95 masks to hospitals in San Francisco and New York. As president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai (AmCham), Gibbs is leading the campaign to raise funds to purchase the personal protective equipment (PPE) and transport more than 1 million pieces on authorized cargo flights over the next several weeks.

Do you know of I-House alumni who are doing good in the world? Let us know at

Alumni Messages to Residents

Our residents have lost the ability to gather physically, but you can share in their community. Help them feel less alone by offering your encouragement. Together, we will show them that even as our world is in crisis, their global community is thinking of them. 

We asked, you responded! Below are a few of the messages we received from alumni:

Erin Andrews (IH 1989 - 91)
Hello I-House Residents!
You are living in one of the most amazing places. I have many fond memories of my time living in I-House. I hope your time in I-House makes the world feel smaller and more intimate, as it did for me. May the friendships you begin at I-House grow more rewarding throughout your life.
Wishing you all the best,
Erin Andrews from Seattle, Washington, USA

Hasan Diwan (IH 1997)
I-House had, has, and will always have, a special place in my heart; every successive round of students that come in, whether for fall, spring or summer, renew the promise of I-House, as a home for those without, in Berkeley.
Hasan Diwan, under-lockdown-in-Barcelona-but-live-in-Tiburon

Bejan Esmaili (IH 1980s)
Hello and thank you so much for the update and information, we all appreciate what you do during this challenging time.  I’m very proud and appreciative of what the I-House has given me and now also excited about the opportunity for my daughter, Leila who is following in my footsteps as an applicant at the I-House currently.  She not only heard the stories that I shared but also experienced the environment having many meals there growing up. Thanks again for the updates and keep up the great work.
All the best, Bejan 

Firoozeh Dumas (IH 1986-87)
Greetings fellow I-House residents!
I am writing to you from my home office in Palo Alto, near that other university. I would love to join one of the virtual coffee hours! I am originally from Iran and lived in I-House 1986-87. I met my French/Greek husband the first week in I-House and we just moved back to California after six years in Germany and Greece. Life has been a grand adventure but we still look back at our time at I-House as pure magic. I hope you are all doing well during these strange times. 
Best, Firoozeh Dumas

Dr. Krishna Bhattacharjee (IH 1965-66)
Thanks for doing your best in these crucial days and keeping I-House active, and staying connected.
- Krishna

Let's keep this positivity going! To send a message to residents, please email your message to and include your name and country (and class year if possible).

I-House Virtual Backgrounds

For those who wish they can physically be at I-House, download one of our new photos for a virtual background for Zoom meetings! See photos and instructions at:

Bay View from I-House Home Room

View from the balcony of the I-House Home Room

Stay In Touch

Stay in touchIt is our goal to celebrate the lives and achievements of our alumni and the contributions they have made and continue to make around the world. Please help us to keep you informed of upcoming regional events, update our records to help you reconnect with old friends, locate lost alumni, and share recent news with you. If you have moved, changed email or mailing addresses, or want to give us an exciting update about developments in your own life, please let us know by filling out this brief contact update form

By sharing this with your I-House friends, you are helping to extend our reach and to keep the I-House connection alive! As always, we welcome your news at See more ways for alumni to stay connected

We thank you for staying connected to International House Berkeley.


I-House Alumni Relations, Communications, and Philanthropy Team
(510) 642-4128

I-House Berkeley

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