Alumni Bring Back I-House Days Around the World
After a year off during the pandemic year of 2020, I-House Day – the longtime tradition in which alumni around the world gather to celebrate the spirit of International House – resumed in November 2021 with ten in-person and virtual gatherings taking place across the globe.
Alumni in Germany blazed the trail on November 6 when Goetz Maeuser ’90 and Louise Biddell hosted a gathering at their home in Frankfurt. The group, which included alumni across several decades, enjoyed Spanish wines, tapas and paella late into the night. Gabi Trillhaas helped organize the festive event.
The next day, November 7, Washington, DC area alumni met up in Potomac, MD for a hike at Carderock Recreation Area, followed by an informal picnic. Organized by Suma Singh ’07 and Min Xiong ’05, it was the sixth gathering of the DC group in 2021, by far the most of any alumni chapter this year.
Trustee and FIHUK Board President Patricia Hamzahee ’83 hosted a Zoom gathering for Friends of International House, UK (FIHUK) on November 9. I-House President Sebastian Fries provided updates and engaged in a Q&A, and participants heard from current UK resident Iva Stojanovic and World Council member Alyson King ’00 offering their perspectives.
On November 13, a virtual brunch for Singapore alumni was hosted by Alex Pang ’06, who “shared” traditional local dishes with the group and presented a slide show of past I-House Day gatherings in Singapore. I-House Alumni Relations Director John Wells filled in for a traveling Sebastian Fries, and the group paid tribute to International Trustee John Pek ’68, host of many Singapore gatherings over the years, who logged on from California.
New York City held its own Zoom on November 14, co-hosted by New York Area Alumni President Anita Haravaon ’11, Eva Provedel ’10 and Javor Bracic ’12. The lively gathering included break-out groups, a musical performance by Javor, and a pre-recorded interview of Sebastian Fries by Anita and Eva.
That same day, John Pek ‘68 and Laurene Wu McLain ’66 hosted a Sunday lunch at the Harbor View Restaurant in San Francisco’s Embarcadero Center. Alumni spanning six decades took part.
Shanghai alumni held a virtual gathering on November 20. Hosted by Yuan Wang ’08, Maggie Sun ’04, and Owen Liu ‘10, the group welcomed Sebastian Fries, shared memories, and heard from John Pek. Participants shared memories of past I-House Days in a warm, interactive session that was timed to last slightly more than 100 minutes, in recognition of I-House’s approaching centennial in 2024.
In Hong Kong, alumni gathered in person on November 23 at a restaurant in Pacific Place in Hong Kong’s Admiralty for pizza, conversation and sharing memories. The event was hosted by Frank Wong ’81 and Kayip Kwan ’15.
On December 2 the third China gathering took place in the Dongsheng district of Beijing, where Leah Jordano-Kudalis ’06 and Owen Liu ’10 hosted a gathering of alumni and friends. Participants enjoyed a live cello performance, reminiscent of Salon Nights, from a local Beijing resident who had coincidentally attended college in New York State. Wrote Leah about the evening, “All participants left I-House Day 2021 thankful that they could gather in person to remember and re-spark the special people-to-people connections that International House fosters.”
The tenth and final I-House Day event took place in Sydney, where Trustee Ross Youngman ’91 and Sam Armstrong ’90 hosted a dinner at Ross’s home. After the recent COVID-related lockdowns in Australia, participants were especially eager to re-connect in the spirit of I-House. “A super enjoyable evening, and Ross provided a great setting,” Sam reported.
Thanks go out to all the alumni who participated, whether in person, online, or in spirit; their enthusiasm and efforts laid a good foundation to build on for I-House Days in 2022.