I-House Executive Director Emeritus Joe Lurie made local and national headlines this week. UC Berkeley News featured his new book Perception and Deception, and National Peace Corps Association interviewed Joe about his lifelong commitment to cross cultural engagement. We are happy to share excerpts of both articles below.
Peace Corps Was a Gateway to Lifelong Cross Cultural Engagement
Emily Schaefer, National Peace Corps Association | July 31, 2015
Say hello to Joe Lurie (Kenya 1967-1970) and he might greet you in Swahili, French or even Twi. Why? The Peace Corps — which sparked Lurie’s interest in languages and in other cultures. It also launched his extensive international education career.
A Love for Cultures
For 20 years, Lurie was executive director of International House at UC Berkeley, a cultural center for the campus and residence for over 1,500 U.S. and international students and scholars annually from over 80 countries. [. . . ]
In honor of his distinguished service, the International House Board of Directors and UC Berkeley alumni established The Joe Lurie Returned Peace Corps Gateway Fellowship, an endowed doctoral fellowship. Each year one RPCV is awarded full UC Berkeley tuition, fees and a stipend to complete the first year of doctoral studies. With full room and board at International House, awardees continue their cross-cultural experiences while sharing Peace Corps discoveries with American and international residents.
In July 2015, Lurie’s book, Perception and Deception: A Mind-Opening Journey Across Cultures (www.PerceptionandDeception.com) was published. . . . In the book, he describes cultural misunderstanding in the Peace Corps and at International House. There are also eyebrow-raising stories from his work as an intercultural trainer and researcher; as well as a speaker and consultant for non-profits and multi-national companies. . . .
It Began in Kenya
During his service in Kenya, Joe was a secondary school teacher and participated in vaccination, school construction and Swahili translation projects. In Perception and Deception, Lurie describes his misunderstandings such as seeing men holding hands, a teen calling an American professor “grandma,” strangers sharing food on a bus; and why his Kenyan friends never invited him to their homes. “I finally understood the Swahili expression: ‘the door is always open,’ ” he notes. “Because of my own cultural prisms I misunderstood many things. Discoveries I made about cultural differences, inspired this book and a career focused on international educational exchanges. Today the need is more urgent than ever.” . . .
As executive director of International House UC Berkeley, he inspired and helped shape a documentary about International House which aired nationally on PBS and throughout China. Lurie also led fundraising efforts which raised over $20 million for scholarships and renovation projects. When he retired from International House, he was awarded Executive Director Emeritus status for his significant accomplishments. . . .
Former I-House director explores cross-cultural encounters in new book
Berkeley News | August 4, 2015
Everything from lunch to laundry is fodder for cross-cultural encounters in a new book by Joseph Lurie, who served for two decades as executive director of International House, Berkeley’s 85-year old residence for students and scholars from around the world.
In Perception and Deception: A Mind-Opening Journey Across Cultures, Lurie explores surprising misunderstandings between individuals from diverse backgrounds, based on his years in the Peace Corps and at I-House, which has established an endowed doctoral fellowship in his name.
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