Hope. That is the word that rang in my mind throughout the night of the International Student House (ISH) Global Leadership Awards Dinner.
Hope, as I walked through the doors of the United States Institute of Peace, my first large-scale event since the start of the Pandemic. Hope, that despite the pandemic, life is continuing on and we are all adapting. Hope, as I met and befriended some of the international students residing in the International Student House. Hope, as I heard the residents and speakers tell their stories of wanting to make a difference. Hope, as they spoke of peace, understanding, and intercultural communication. Hope, as I thought of my future career once I graduate from American University this May. Hope, that I can one day work with amazing student leaders and global citizens such as the ones I met on Thursday, December 2nd, 2021.
This event helped to reinforce my belief in the importance of intercultural communication; a theme of the night. Intercultural communication and cultural exchanges are vital for creating peace and understanding in our world. I can’t speak on behalf of all of the residents, but I believe they would agree on the importance of the cultural exchanges and experiences that occur every day in the International Student House. The mission of the non-profit organization states:
[ISH] provides an exceptional residential experience to a highly diverse international community of graduate students, interns, and visiting scholars. The House promotes inter-cultural dialogue, encourages life-long connections, and fosters global citizenship.
The International Student House is first and foremost a home. Home to hundreds of students each year from all over the world, and yet not many in DC seem to know about this hidden gem. This organization has become a safe space for its residents, some of whom have had to flee their countries. The only place they feel welcomed is here.
This event highlighted the ISH mission by bringing people from around the world together to discuss global citizenship and the need for collective action through intercultural dialogues. The keynote speaker, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, reflected on his own time as a Rhodes scholar and the importance of intercultural experiences and exchanges.
The night ended with a speech by Executive Director of ISH, Daniel Bremer-Wirtig, emphasizing the welcoming community of ISH. These residents are global citizens that are the core of igniting student leadership and global change. I look forward to continuing to build relationships with the residents and newfound friends I met at the Global Leadership Awards Dinner.
International Student House: https://www.ishdc.org/
Marci has been living in the Washington, DC, area since about 2004. She graduated from Texas A&M University in 2018 with a Bachelor’s degree in International Studies and a double minor in Mandarin and Psychology. She returned to the DC area to pursue a Master’s in Teaching and earned her degree in 2020. During this time period, Marci worked as a teacher specializing in Early Childhood Education and Teaching English to Students of Other Languages (ESOL). She is currently a Graduate Student at American University where she is earning a Master’s degree in International and Intercultural Communication. She is also the PDC Fellow for the 2021-2022 school year, renamed Hans “Tom” Tuch PDC Fellow. Her interests lie in understanding the connection between international education, exchange, and public diplomacy which she believes is important to develop to be able to create peace and understanding in our world.