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Alumni and Friends of International House Philadelphia Newsletter July 2013

IN THIS ISSUE: Annual Alumni Reunion p3 Love IHP style p5 Introducing the Alumni Council p11 IHP Resident Emergency Fund Launch p13

Message from the editor Welcome to the latest issue of iWorld. Hope everyone is doing well. As for me, life is quite hectic. I am busy with teaching summer school, trying to finish papers before the deadlines of the conferences approach, supervising numerous graduate (MSc and PhD) students, visiting companies to examine their project proposals, organizing private computer courses, grading exams and doing some administrative stuff at our computer engineering department. It gives me great pleasure to be a part of IHouse community as an Editor-in-Chief of iWorld. I believe it is very important to keep the connection with the iHouse community and the friends we made at the time. iWorld serves as a great tool for this purpose. When I read iWorld, I get a chance to hear how some of my iHouse friends and staff are doing, and this makes me really happy. I would like to thank Sarvelia Peralta-Duran, the Alumni Relations Director at iHouse, for her great efforts to keep iWorld alive. I would like to thank all the alumni who shared their stories with us. Please keep in touch by contributing to iWorld. Best regards from Turkey,

M. Fatih Akay (2001 – 2005)

Alumni and Friends of International House Philadelphia Newsletter – July 2013

Resident + IHP Highlights 2012-2013 RAAC Staff Top row, left to right: Xin Liu (Penn, Netherlands), Mariam Naeem (Penn, Pakistan), Melisa Kabilizya (Temple, Zambia), Michael Beachem (IHP Associate Director Resident Life), Sheng Mao (Penn, China) Bottom row, left to right: Yoon “Steve” Ho Chang (Penn, South Korea), Jessica “Oriana” Grant (Penn, USA), Sojung “Lindsey” Lee (Penn, South Korea), Ufuoma Abiola (Penn, USA/Nigeria), Min Wang (Penn, USA/China)

The Resident Advisory and Activity Center commonly known as The R.A.A.C. continues to provide a wide variety of support to our residents during their stay at International House. Our aim is to take care of the social and support needs of residents to enhance their academic endeavors. We do this through content specific programming, one on one and group counseling and leadership opportunities. The spring term began with an eventful and well attended Welcome Back program at the end of January. The following month of February was our busiest. Many of our residents were able to enjoy “American” football together as we watched the XLVII Superbowl in the Student Center Café. Residents were able to express their love for the house during Valentine’s Day with hand written shaped hearts that were hung in our lobby. Each resident wrote a few words about how they appreciate the house as they enjoyed holiday sweet candy from around the world. Lunar New Year filled our Ibrahim Theater to capacity with wonderful cultural performances. The month concluded with an Academy Award Oscar Party that attracted guests from the community. International House plans to make this an even larger event for the community in the future. Traditional movie nights were held once a month allowing residents to view recent features on the big screen of the Ibrahim Theater from the comfort of home. Our Resident Hall Council (RHC) continued to grow this year, lending a residential voice to business of the house. We will continue to nurture this program to allow for more students involvement and leadership development. RHC held weekly hot chocolate/tea gatherings and a final end of the year social in the Berwind Student Center. Our Resident Advisors this year hailed from a variety of nations such as Zambia, Pakistan, Nigeria, China, Netherlands, South Korea, and United States and each helped support our residents in a variety of ways. They held numerous house meetings to allow for small social interactions amongst the

house suites. The RA staff counseled and intervened to help with conflicts and concerns. They offered guidance to resources provided in the house, through the city and at partnering colleges and universities. Resident Advisors were charged with offering complimentary social and educational programs that ranged from: Learning about Karate, Applying to Medical and Dental School, Safety and Security Self Defense, Cake Making, and Japanese Tea ceremony. We honored a number of our residents at the annual Farewell Party and Awards Ceremony. President and CEO Tanya Steinberg, Director Glenn Martin and Associate Director Michael Beachem offered parting words of appreciation to these residents that went above and beyond and now join the ranks of our esteemed alumni. Our awardees this year included: Resident Leadership Award, Kalbillah Galmai; Most Involved Resident Award, Farah Azhar and Lokesh Prabhu; Resident Ambassador Award, Kevin Bass. Two of our Resident Advisors were awarded for outstanding contribution and dedication to IHP, Sojung “Lindey” Lee and Yoon “Steve” Ho Chang. We continued to welcome students throughout the summer with a well attended 4th of July barbecue of over two hundred attendees and look forward to a productive start of the Fall term in August.

IHP Resident Awards: Resident Leadership Award – Kalbillah Galmai, Chad Most Involved Resident Award – Farah Azhar, Pakistan Most Involved Resident Award – Lokesh Pabhu, USA Resident Ambassador Award – Kevin Bass, USA Recognition of Outstanding Contribution and Dedication to IHP – Sojung “Lindsey” Lee, RA, South Korea – Yoo Ho Chang, RA, South Korea 2

From top row, left to right. Some 2013 Alumni Reunion attendees. From back row, left to right: Juan Pablo Irarrazaval Espinosa (Current Resident), Nour Halabi (Current Resident), Saad Anbari, Ed Wise, Liz Einsig Wise (IHP ‘97-’98), Tanya Steinberg (IHP President and CEO), Ludo Scheffer (IHP ‘88-’94), Sarvelia Peralta-Duran (IHP ‘98-’02), Cigdem Ogutveren Knebel (IHP ‘00-’03), Niloofar Gholamrezaei (Current Resident), Mariano Pintado Garcia (Current Resident), Thomasina Tafur (IHP Staff), Richard Knebel (IHP ‘01-’03), George Khalaf (IHP ‘00-’03), Norma Hanna, Yuting Wang (IHP intern), and Shanshan Li (IHP intern) Past and present IHP generations from Syria and Colombia! This is what IHP is all about: forging life-long friendships across difference. George Khalaf (IHP ‘00-’03) with baby Dean and Julio Correa (IHP ‘98-’02) with baby Briana From left to right: George Khalaf (IHP ‘99-’03), Norma Hanna, Cigdem Ogutveren Knebel (IHP ‘00-’03), Richard Knebel (IHP ‘00-’03), Julio Correa (IHP ‘98-’02), Clelia Lyra Battestelli (IHP ‘96), Mary Rose Correa, and Sarvelia Peralta Duran (IHP ‘98-’02) Yuting Wang (IHP Intern) and Jonathan Gaev (IHP ‘80-’82) Alumni and Friends of International House Philadelphia Newsletter – July 2013

IHP Annual Alumni Reunion + Please Touch Museum visit On May 18th, I organized my first alumni reunion in my role as Alumni Relations Director and I am happy to report that it was a big success! Over 20 alumni and friends gathered together to share a lovely brunch catered by Assad Khoury from the restaurant Kuzina by Sofia. Brunch consisted of a buffet keeping with the theme of the Global Gala, Treasures of Armenia, which took place later that day. The food was great, but the best part of the morning was the reminiscing about times spent in the house and trading fun anecdotes with the current residents. It is incredible to see how their experiences mirror those of many of us who lived in the house even over 30 years ago! A funny anecdote happened when Jonathan Gaev arrived at the reunion. Jonathan is an alumnus from the 80s and has continued his involvement with IHP in different capacities throughout the years. When he arrived he was pleasantly surprised to find our caterer and went straight to greet him at the chef-manned station. They started laughing loudly and cheerily, and I got curious to find out how they knew each other. I found out that Jonathan Gaev has a tradition of taking his mom out to lunch every Saturday at the Kuzina by Sofia restaurant in Cherry Hill. This particular Saturday, Jon thought it was OK to miss Assad’s food in order to make it to the IHP alumni reunion. Well, he ended up still having Assad’s food for lunch! I didn’t know it, but Jonathan and Assad have been good friends for many years. This was such a great coincidence and added an element of surprise and camaraderie to the event that I could not have planned. A fun fact about Assad is that his sister Anastasia Khoury, is an IHP alumna from 1979 and this is how we were connected to Assad in the first place!

The alumni reunion was a great opportunity to see familiar faces and also meet a few new ones. In fact, some of our young alumni came with brand new additions to their families and it was a chance to introduce these generations to each other. Julio Correa (IHP 98-02) from Colombia and George Khalaf (IHP 00-03) from Syria, were there with their babies Briana and Dean who have birthdays just a couple months apart. They said that they are looking forward for their children to grow up with an extended international family. For these children, like for mine, an international circle of friends growing up will be the most natural thing in the world. In my case, my children (who are Mexican-American and are growing up bilingual in Spanish and English) consider our friends from International House their extended family. Their favorite “cousins” are the children of Cigdem Ogutveren (IHP 00-03) from Turkey and Richard Knebel (IHP 01-03) from Norway. For my kids, having “cousins” who are Turkish-NorwegianAmerican is absolutely normal and provides an example of a multicultural family life like their own. A life where differences are cherished and celebrated, multilingualism is encouraged and international travel is part of growing up. In order to accommodate the growing families of our young alumni, we also organized a trip to the Please Touch Museum after the brunch, during which time we caught up with even more friends like Clelia Lyra Battestelli (IHP 96) and Eric Battestelli. This was a fun-filled day and we hope that next year more people will be able to make it down to Philly to celebrate with us. The next alumni reunion is being planned for June 7, 2014... so mark your calendars and start planning your trip to Philadelphia!

Sarvelia Peralta-Duran 4

Alumni SPOTLIGHT LOVE IHP STYLE Names and where you are from: Karl Nass, US Maggie Baenninger Nass, US & Swiss Kids - Lukas (7) and Selamawit (5), US & Ethiopian When and how did you meet at IHP? We met in August 1998 during an RA orientation. We both were RAs that year, and our outgoing RA team planned an orientation skit that lacked theatrical brilliance of any kind but was alive with IHP spirit and love! We learned a lot from Doris (Fretz) Rippey, who was our fearless Resident Programs Office Director and guided our transition to iHouse life with a rich awareness for inter-cultural context, communication, and leadership. Our RA team and the residents on our floors taught us how significant community and friendship are to finding purpose and strength in life. What were your favorite things to do while at IHP? Maggie and I befriended each other from the beginning and enjoyed the WaWa coffees with each other and with friends on Chestnut Street late at night after a long day of school and work. Our favorite things to do included celebrating various holidays and festivals, among them Diwali and breaking fast for Ramadan. We enjoyed talking with friends at the coffeehouse downstairs, playing ping pong, cheering on World Cup Soccer one memorable summer, and dancing at parties until late at night year round. We met and made friends with people from all over the world who helped shape our values that we continue to try and live out as a family and in our work places today. How has this experience shaped your life after IHP? We are thankful to IHP for an amazing experience that instilled a hope deep within us - a hope that continues to inspire us and give us confidence to raise a trans-racial family in a society that so often communicates messages that are rooted in division, fear, and prejudice. We hold the IHP mission in our hearts, and we are grateful. That mission forever reminds us that: “Together we can build a humane world!” To contribute your story of love and friendship to I-World email us at

Alumni and Friends of International House Philadelphia Newsletter – July 2013

Alumni News Who is Doing What?

Jacqui (Flordeliza) Sweeney (IHP ‘01-’03) and Shawn Sweeney, welcomed their son Carter David Sweeney to the world on January 29, 2013. He was 8lbs and 14 oz. The parents say: “We are so in love with him and so blessed that our dreams have come true.”

Lisa (Jacobellis) Caputo (IHP ‘01-’02) had to miss this year’s IHP Alumni Reunion because of the imminent arrival of Thomas Nicholas Caputo, who joined big brother Ryan on May 22, 2013. Congratulations from IHP to the whole family! IHP would like to congratulate George Khalaf (IHP ‘00-’03) and Norma Hanna, for the birth of their son Dean Musa Khalaf, born on January 8, 2013.

Antonio Moacir says: “I lived for almost 1 year in iHouse, a long time ago (1996). I won´t be exaggerating to say those were the best days of my life. Wonderful people, great place, friendly staff. The best was to be a RA. Fantastic experience. To all iHouse Philadelphia: enjoy, take advantage of every single aspect of iHouse.”

Alumna Yuna Choi’s (IHP ‘09-’10) Wedding Pictures. Yuna Choi got married July 28, 2012 andis now a Teacher at Dongtan Global High School in Korea 6

Annual Global Gala Treasures of Armenia

Armenian dancers greeted guests as they arrived to the Gala.

Alumnus Ashok (Art) Davar (IHP ‘60) generously donated a set of his Philadelphia prints to the International House Philadelphia Global Gala silent auction. The prints were autographed by the author and he joined us at the Global Gala cocktail reception to meet our guests Alumni and Friends of International House Philadelphia Newsletter – July 2013

Alumnus Chuck Gupta (IHP ‘56) and his wife Margot Gupta joined other International House Philadelphia alumni in a small group that attended the Gala. Chuck Gupta got the winning bid for fellow IHP Alumnus Art Davar’s prints!

The 52nd Annual Global Gala, Treasures of Armenia, was a magnificent celebration of the rich and colorful history of Armenia and its people around the world. International House was delighted to have so many supporters (it was a sold-out event!) join in honoring this wonderful occasion. The Gala is a major annual event that brings together both foreign and American students, alumni, and the larger Philadelphia community, including corporate and government leaders, and other prominent people and families of the region. After a one-year hiatus, IHP was thrilled to bring the Gala back! It was truly a pleasure to share such a vibrant and long-standing event with the Greater Philadelphia community and what a party it was! Gala-related events leading up to May 18th included a gorgeous art exhibit representing the best of Armenian artists from this region, a delightful winetasting, and a tour-de-cuisine of Armenian staples. These events plus impressive song, dance, and revelry on the gala night showcased a vivid glimpse into Armenian culture.

IHP Residents: Mi Soo Lee, Min Chul Son, Woo Na Lee, & Yun Suk Hyun (Penn ELP)

The Annual Global Gala opens a world of art and culture to fellow Philadelphians, many of whom may not find time or resources to reach these various cultural centers of the world. IHP would like to sincerely thank the many supporters and guests again, and hope for continued support to sustain the important tradition of the highly-anticipated Gala for years to come! Please stay tuned for details on the 53rd Annual Global Gala, scheduled for Saturday, May 17, 2014!

From top row, left to right: Gala guest, Jorge Rodrigo Salgado Tello (Penn ELP, Nicaragua), Paige Hoimes (Penn, WA), Mariano Pintado Garcia (Penn ELP, Spain), Adrian Lorenzana (Drexel, USA), Michael Beachem (Associate Director Resident Life), Kalbillah Galmai (Drexel, Nijer), Farah Azhar (Penn, Pakistan) 8

Other International Houses

Visit to IH Chicago for the dedication of the Rockefeller Lounge. From left to right: Jessica Carroll (Director IH Sydney, Australia), Dean Preddy (Manager IH Darwin, Australia), Sarvelia Peralta-Duran (IH Philadelphia), Denise Jorgens (Director IH Chicago, US), Peter Anwyl (Executive Director IH London, UK), Carla Tromans (Director, IH Brisbane, Australia)

Candle light ceremony at IH Chicago. From left to right: Peter Anwyl (Executive Director, IH London), Sarvelia Peralta-Duran (IHP), Jessica Carroll (Director IH Sydney)

Alumni and Friends of International House Philadelphia Newsletter – July 2013

Sarvelia meeting Marie Pius at the IH in Washington D.C

Alumni Visits & Reunions

Rosie Phillpot (IHP ‘69-’73) visited in May. Rosie remembers Jan Colijn and Paula Ward and says hi!

Aswin Mannepaeli (IHP ‘07-’09) visit.

Jonathan Gaev meeting with Naisan Barrett, celebrating 30+ years of friendship... I had the good fortune to meet my former iHouse neighbor, Naisan Barrett and her husband Michael during my trip to Long Beach, CA. They kindly met me at my hotel and took me to dinner. That’s saying a lot as they had to fight a lot of traffic in LA to do so.

Chuck Gupta with Lord Watson of Richmond. Lord Watson was a past chairman of the English-Speaking Union of the Commonwealth from (‘99-’05).

Naisan was my neighbor at IHP over 30 years ago. We are very proud of our friendship and we were delighted to think back about the fun that we had there and the friends we made. IHP is certainly a magical place.


Meet the 2013-2015 IHP Alumni Council Chuck Gupta (1956) Country of Origin: India – Current Residency: Philadelphia, PA Languages: English, Hindi Areas of Expertise: Organic Chemistry, international import-export business in textiles iHouse Roles & Responsibilities: Philadelphia reunions & events; Finance committee.

G. Jan Colijn (1970-1975) Country of Origin: Netherlands – Current Residency: Philadelphia, PA Languages: English, Dutch, German, French (reading) Areas of Expertise: Higher education, with specialty in international relations generally, and genocide in particular iHouse Roles & Responsibilities: Philadelphia reunions & events; Reunions in Netherlands; Ambassador to prospective residents; Mentor to new residents; Point of contact for new alumni in Philadelphia region.

Karl L.E. Nass (1996-1999) Country of Origin: United States (Madison, WI) – Current Residency: Chicago, Illinois Languages: English, Spanish Areas of Expertise: Economics, city planning, faith and civic engagement, student leadership development iHouse Roles & Responsibilities: Organizing mentor program for current residents in conjunction with alumni. Contact person in Chicago for those moving to the area; helping with transition and other resources. Chicago-wide reunions or networking events.

Maggie Baenninger Nass (1997-2001) Country of Origin: Switzerland/United States (Doylestown, PA) – Current Residency: Chicago, Illinois Languages: English, French Areas of Expertise: Administration, program development, fundraising, accounting, and finance iHouse Roles & Responsibilities: Organizing mentor program for current residents in conjunction with alumni. Contact person in Chicago for those moving to the area; helping with transition and other resources. Chicago-wide reunions or networking events.

Quy Cory Quach (1998-1999) Country of Origin: U.S. (Houston, TX) – Current Residency: Savannah, Georgia Languages: English, Mandarin, Cantonese Areas of Expertise: Marketing, IHP Former Resident Assistant iHouse Roles and Responsibilities: Surveys and data-gathering to assess interest on and success of alumni events.

Alumni and Friends of International House Philadelphia Newsletter – July 2013

The Alumni Council is a group of alumni volunteers who represent the interests of IHP alumni from different generations and cultures, participate in and lead alumni initiatives, and provide leadership to the alumni body, also known as the iWorld Community. Julio Correa (1998-2002) Country of Origin: Colombia – Current Residency: Wilmington, DE Languages: Spanish, English, French Areas of Expertise: Mechanical Engineering, Manufacturing & Operations Management, Lean Principles, Project Management & Implementation, Recruiting and Development of Technical Talent. iHouse Roles & Responsibilities: Organizing a mentor program for current residents in conjunction with alumni.

Cigdem Ogutveren-Knebel (2000-2003) Country of Origin: Turkey – Current Residency: Audobon, PA Languages: Turkish, English, Norwegian iHouse Roles and Responsibilities: Helping with IHP reunions and events. Mentor new residents. Professional development + networking programs.

M. Fatih Akay (2001-2005) Country of Origin: Turkey – Current Residency: Adana, Turkey Languages: Turkish, English Areas of Expertise: Parallel computer architecture modeling and simulation; applications of machine learning methods. iHouse Roles & Responsibilities: Reunions in Turkey; Point of contact for new alumni & travelers in Turkey; Editor-in-Chief of “IWorld” Alumni Newsletter; Alumni Directory project.

Christopher Hearsey (2002-2005) Country of Origin: U.S. – Current Residency: Washington, D.C. Languages: English Areas of Expertise: Public international law and US space policy and law, non-profit management, legislative affairs, and foreign policy. International House Philadelphia 2005 Leadership Award iHouse Roles and Responsibilities: Networking events either at the house or elsewhere. Reviving the resident lecture series in conjunction with alumni participation; organizing presentations in people’s fields of expertise. Kerina Khiudin (2011-2012) Country of Origin: Malaysia – Current Residency: Seattle, Washington Languages: Malay, English, Indonesian, Basic Spanish Areas of Expertise: Marketing and Communication; especially working with International Students. iHouse Roles and Responsibilities: Contact in the Seattle, Washington area.


Resident emergency fund International House Philadelphia is proud to announce the launch of the IHP Resident Emergency Fund. This fund is an initiative of the IHP Alumni Council and will begin distributing funds to qualifying residents once an initial $10,000 has been raised. Entirely dependent on donations, the International House Philadelphia Resident Emergency Fund will provide limited emergency financial assistance on a case-by-case basis to a small number of IHP residents who are unable to meet immediate, essential expenses due to an emergency situation such as accidents, illness, death of a family member, or fire damage, among others. You will be glad to know that all donations will be matched up to the first $5,000 by a generous pledge made by fellow IHP Alumnus and Alumni Council Member, Chuck Gupta (IHP 56). As Jan Colijn (IHP ‘70-’75) who pledged the first $500 writes:

“When I first came to IHP, I had rent to pay as a resident fellow, but as F1 Visa holders could not work apart from in the summer, I was poor! I remember going to Horn & Hardart, where you could get a roll and a coffee for a dollar. You could load up on free condiments to actually have a meal. I have known fellow residents from Eritrea, Palestine, India, and other places where all of a sudden money dries up, and they become desperate. I remember receiving $500 from the NetherlandsAmerica Foundation; a loan at the time, but also a life vest. It is my hope that others can benefit from such assistance, too.” Help us in the effort to assist our residents by donating online or writing a check to International House Philadelphia. Please make sure to note that you donation is intended for the “Resident Emergency Fund”. For more information about making a financial contribution contact: Jessamyn Falcone at 215.387.5142, or email Please send checks to: International House Philadelphia Attn: Development 3701 Chestnut Street Philadelphia, PA 19104

Alumni and Friends of International House Philadelphia Newsletter – July 2013

Alumni Giving Back Alumni Honor Roll

Alumni contributions to IHP ensure the development of programs that enhance resident life and intercultural communication. Alumni involvement is crucial to the health, growth and success of our organization. Alumni can contribute in many different forms either by volunteering to run programs for residents and other alumni, by donating goods and services or by making much-needed financial contributions. IHP would like to thank and recognize the following alumni for their generous contributions this past fiscal year: Aravind Joshi | Frank Anbari | Jeanne Delcasino | John Tom | Chuck Gupta | Sheldon Lipson Parviz Sorouri | Patricia Le Foll | Inaldo Nascimento | Ashok Davar

How Can You Give Back?

Donate to The Arts + Humanities Fund, Residential Life Fund, or to Areas of Greatest Need. For more information about making a financial contribution or naming opportunies, contact: Jessamyn Falcone at 215.387.5142, or email

Become an IHP Ambassador!

We need your help letting other people know about IHP and the amazing community it helps develop. Also, we like helping our alumni get together with each other even after they have left the building, so you can assist us in bringing people together for gatherings in your region of the world.


Contact Alumni Relations: or 215.895.6598.

Save the Date July 19, August 16, September 13, October 18 Social Hour & Departing Resident Receptions Saturday, July 27, 2pm Family Matinee – My Neighbor Totoro Thursday, August 8, Time TBD EID feast Saturday, August 24, 2pm Family Matinee – Red Balloon / White Mane Thursday, September 12, 7pm IHP’s Benefit Art Auction & Season Kick-off: featuring live performance by Zola Jesus + JG Thrilwell Saturday, September 14, 2pm Family Matinee – Nana Tuesday, September 17, time TBA Culture & Cuisine 14

International House Philadelphia is a multicultural residential center, a source of distinctive programming, and the embodiment of an ideal. It has a critical threefold mission: to maintain a diverse and welcoming community for scholars from around the world, while introducing them to the American experience; to broaden the horizons of its Residents and the larger community through high quality international arts and humanities programs; and to encourage cooperation and respect among the peoples of all nations.

International House Philadelphia – 3701 Chestnut Street – 215.387.5125 –

I-World, Summer 2013  

International House Philadelphia's alumni and friends newsletter for Summer 2013.