On October 24, 2017, the International House Board of Trustees gathered to discuss the future of I-House and how its spaces and community can continue to grow and thrive.
In addition to reviewing budgets and new ideas, the board welcomed two new members, Kevin J. Danehy, Global Head of Corporate Development at Brookfield, and Yuqiang Xiao, General Manager, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd. (ICBC) New York Branch. After the meeting, there was a reception where current Residents were invited to meet Trustees over wine and hors d’oeuvres.
I was pleased to meet several Trustees, who, like I-House Residents, represent a variety of backgrounds and experiences. All are deeply committed to the House, its mission, and its future, as well as continuing to learn and grow through our special community.
Peter M. O’Neill is Chair of the Executive Committee and has served on the board for twenty years. He was once a Resident himself (Class of 1992) and has thought of I-House as a second home for most of his life. His mother Abby O’Neill served as a Trustee for many years and made many great contributions to the development of I-House. His great grand uncle was John D. Rockefeller, whose generosity helped bring I-House to life in 1924. When Peter was seven or eight years old, he’d spend time at the House with current Residents and has always loved meeting new people. To this day, O’Neill’s favorite part about I-House is “connecting with Residents” and hearing about their interests and experiences.
Thomas P. Hirschfeld is the Board Treasurer. He has served as a Trustee for 24 years and is excited about the many new initiatives in the works. “I always love coming to All Nations,” he said, speaking of his favorite I-House tradition. “I love hearing from Residents about what stage of life they are at [and] learning about points of view from different countries.”
Hirschfeld’s mother served as an I-House Trustee for about fifty years. “I saw how energized she was [after meetings at I-House],” he explained of his desire to support the House. His son also lived at I-House for two years, so I-House became like family for him in more ways than one. In the future, Hirschfeld hopes I-House will have “more Residents over time, a stronger sense of community and stronger bonds with Alumni.”
Paul D. Downs (right), a partner at international law firm Hogan Lovells, has served on the board for 10 years and firmly believes that the Residents of I-House will determine its future and would love to see even more opportunities for Residents to meet one another and be involved in building and sustaining that future. He is also very interested in improving how the mission is conveyed to prospective Residents, current Residents and Alumni. Downs is also involved with the American Foreign Law Association and has been training in the sport of boxing – hoping for his first match soon.
Andrew H. Darrell has been on the I-House board for many years as well – by his estimates, over a decade. Darrell lives an international life, having been based in New York, France, Austria, and Switzerland. For his third year in law school, he studied in New York and “became friends with all the international students.” Darrell believes the I-House experience is “transformative for many people” and he’d love to make I-House “available to more people” in the future. Darrell is also very involved in the Employment Innovation Fellowships for Residents, a $10,000 award for projects that address the challenge of global youth unemployment.
Rosemary DiCarlo, the U.S. Deputy Permanent Representative the United Nations from 2010-2014, has been a Trustee at I-House for one and a half years. She believes I-House Residents are “the leaders of tomorrow” and that the study of international affairs is vital in shaping the future of the world. DiCarlo said her favorite I-House tradition is the Sunday Supper because it’s a great chance for Trustees to meet Residents. DiCarlo is also on the board of Global Cities, a non-profit organization dedicated to “enhancing communication among global cities and cultivating the next generation of global citizens,” and is currently teaching a graduate level course on multilateral institutions’ security challenges. At I-House, she hopes to see more student loan programs established for Residents.
Over the course of this reception, many generations of I-House community members – Residents, Trustees, and staff – came together to learn about each other’s experiences, share stories about the past and hopes for the future.