Candlelight Sunday Supper Returns
After a two-year hiatus, International House celebrated the return of a beloved legacy event, Candlelight Sunday Supper, on May 1, 2022. About 250 residents, staff, and special guests gathered for the traditional family-style supper in the spacious Davis Hall to cap off a remarkable year. Attendees were required to provide proof of vaccination in order to participate.
Current residents led the evening’s programming. Serving as Master of Ceremonies was Farah Otero-Amad (USA), a 2019 resident who had returned to the House in August 2021. Cellist Peng Guan (China) performed “Oblivion” by Astor Piazzolla, accompanied by pianist Daniel Tan (China). Ethan Fisher (USA) performed Leonard Bernstein’s “Somewhere” on the piano, with vocals by HyeYoung Moon (South Korea). MuHan Li (China/Singapore) delivered the Blessing of the Meal, first in Chinese and then in English.
International House President and CEO, Sebastian Fries, delivered remarks to the audience, thanking the residents for a wonderful first year. He took a moment to recognize the year’s 10 winners of the Davis Peace Prize, and praised the Program Fellows, Resident Fellows, and Peer Counselors, whom he called “the eyes, ears and soul of I-House, helping to welcome residents, creating the sense of community, and planning some of the best events [he’s] ever experienced.”
Fries also recognized the staff present, and invited to the stage two staff members to receive the House’s annual peer-nominated staff awards. Mariana Vasquez was awarded the 2022 Barbara Chapin Babbott Staff Award, for having “done the most to further the ideals of International House.” Ramon Fernandez was awarded the 2022 Henry Richardson Award for Staff Excellence. The awards were made possible by donations from friends of International House in memory of the former staff members named: Barbara Chapin Babbott, who was also an active resident in the 1950’s, and Chief Engineer Henry Richardson, who worked at I-House for 25 years and was revered for his dedication to his work.
Alumna Joanna C. Lee ’88 (Hong Kong/USA) addressed the residents, reflecting on how her friendships and time at I-House made a profound impacted on her life afterwards. A particularly poignant moment was when she honored her friend and contemporary Christianne Orto ’88, who passed away in 2002 and bequeathed to I-House in her will the baby grand piano sitting on the stage.
As expected, the most highly anticipated event of the evening was the Candle Lighting Ceremony. Residents Ananya Jalan (USA), Mohammed Keana (Nigeria), Lukas Kreiter (Germany), Ned Latham (Australia), Yvonne Lee (Taiwan), MuHan Li, Ro-Ann Mohammed (Barbados), and Fatima Rizwan (Pakistan) led the proceedings, with all attendees reciting in unison the I-House Pledge to “pass the light of friendship” as they passed the flame from their respective candles.
Said Fries to the residents, “A year ago, the idea of having Sunday Supper in person seemed out of reach…but your diligence and respect for each other’s health and safety has allowed us to sit here together, as a group, enjoying the connections and friendships we’ve built this year.” He added, “Tonight, I can truly look out on this crowd and announce yes, indeed, our dream from September 2021 has come to fruition: I-House is back.”