Virtual Events Connect I-House Alumni in Europe and the UK
Following the Annual International House NY Alumni Reunion held in September 2020, two overseas Alumni chapters in Europe and the UK hosted smaller events that once again brought together Alumni from across the global community.
On November 8th, the German-based Freunde des International House (Freunde) chapter hosted its annual General Meeting. As an independent organization, Freunde serves the pan-European I-House NY Alumni and manages a distinct membership association within the global Alumni community. Hosting the event were the current members of the Freunde Board: President Pooja Merchant ‘10, Deputy Arne Grob ’16, and Treasurer Martin Schneider ’11. Topics discussed centered on the group’s governance for the coming year and plan for the disbursement of collected funds, which annually benefit International House and provide a number of scholarships for Residents.
Just a few days later, on November 14th, the Friends of International House United Kingdom (FIHUK) chapter of I-House NY Alumni hosted its 2020 I-House Day UK via Zoom. Attendees tuned in from Costa Rica, New York, and the UK.
The event kicked off with a warm welcome from FIHUK President Patricia Hamzahee ’83 and updates from I-House staff, including Lesley Perez, who assisted with the coordination of both Alumni events. Interim President Brian Polovoy included a shout-out to former I-House Director of Development John Wells, who was on the call and will be returning as an Alumni Relations ambassador and consultant. Next, Katherine Miller of the Office of Development and Alumni Relations read a letter to Alumni evoking the moments of arrival and welcome that characterize the I-House Experience. Then Lead Archivist Caroline Donadio presented on the state of the Archives: where the project was before the pandemic, and where it is now. She provided an optimistic overview and outlined critical next steps with ways for Alumni to support the Archives.
During the event, the participants shared opinions, thoughts, and suggestions for the House. The highlight for many was the news of Wells’ return to I-House. One alum even teared up from how thrilled he was.
The joyful celebration continued with musical performances. Diana Boyle and her husband played three lovely melodies on the flute and piano. Their performance was followed by a beautiful violin piece by Sabina Rakcheyeva ’04 titled “Reflections.” The final performance was an enchanting one by Syrian classical guitarist Ayman Jarjour ‘00. Jarjour visited the House last in the fall of 2018, when he graciously gave a concert in Davis Hall to benefit the I-House Welcome Fund.
The event closed on an emotional note with the traditional lighting of candles and a toast to the connections and memories made at I-House.
Stay tuned for more I-House Days and opportunities for Alumni to reconnect–virtually and, we hope, in person, as conditions across the world allow. Alumni interested in attending or hosting a gathering are welcome to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Above photo: a scene from the 2020 I-House Day, UK)