Remembering I-House's Remarkable History on our 91st Birthday

Honoring I-House’s 91st Birthday by Remembering our Remarkable History
August 18, 2021

Dear I-House Community -

As we now celebrate the 91st Anniversary of the founding of International House at UC Berkeley, our mission is as relevant as ever: to foster intercultural respect and understanding, lifelong friendships, and leadership skills for a more just and peaceful world. 

I am sure that you, our alumni, friends, and new and returning residents share with me the excitement and sense of new possibilities that accompany I-House welcoming back residents now during move-in for Fall 2021 after our sad but necessary temporary closure.

It is noteworthy to recall the words of Allen C. Blaisdell, the first director of I-House Berkeley:

"One solution to discrimination was the expansion of the International House model that began in New York. The idea was to create a multicultural residence that would house international students and scholars, fostering intercultural connections. But when International House opened in 1930 on Piedmont Avenue in Berkeley, it faced pushback from the local community."  “…realtors and others who owned apartment houses took the attitude that International House was to relieve them of the problem of racial housing. And I said, ‘On the contrary, International House was established to set the pattern for everyone to follow.’”  

On our anniversary, it is also important to remember the inspirational words of John D. Rockefeller Jr., the original I-House Berkeley benefactor, written at the time of our founding in a letter to President Robert G. Sproul in the fall of 1930:

“By bringing together in unfettered cooperation the educated young people of all lands, many of whom will in years to come be leaders in their several countries, and by giving them full opportunity for frank discussion on terms of equality, there is being performed, I believe, a service for the well-being of the world, the importance of which it is difficult to over-value. International House is a laboratory for a new kind of experiment – the day to day practice of international fellowship among men and women. Such a community of university students, representing all nations, living together beneath one roof, will further the cause of peace throughout the world; for peace is the product of knowledge and understanding.”

• Please watch a video excerpt of my interview from I-House alumna Alina Bieschke’s upcoming documentary;

• Accept our invitation to join I-House Berkeley Connect, our Global Community Initiative engagement and mentoring platform along with the 1,200 or so other alumni, residents, and friends who have already joined;

• Consider the opportunity to make a special gift in recognition of our 91st Anniversary to honor the remarkable history of I-House and to support us now as we celebrate our reopening, at

In closing, I encourage you to reach out to me directly at with any ideas, suggestions, concerns, or questions you may have.  My personal thanks for your support in keeping the I-House dream alive!


Shaun Carver, I-House Executive Director
Shaun R. Carver
Executive Director
International House, UC Berkeley

Shaun Carver, I-House Executive Director

I-House Staff Spotlight: Shaun Carver, Executive Director