Introducing the 2018 Gala award recipients

On April 9th, International House will celebrate the Annual Celebration and Awards Gala, welcoming Chancellor Carol Christ and presenting awards to I-House Alumni
Irving Tragen (IH 1943-47) and the members of WattTime. Now in its 30th year, this annual event raises funds to benefit the community of nearly 600 scholars from 73 different countries residing at I-House, while honoring alumni who exemplify the I-House mission of fostering intercultural respect and understanding. “We are thrilled to publicly recognize this year’s recipients as champions of I-House principles,” says Dr. Hans Giesecke, Executive Director of I-House. “The Gala continues to serve as the signature event of I-House that alumni, students, and friends look forward to year after year.”

We are pleased to present this year’s Gala award recipients:

Global Ambassador of Peace and Public Service Award

Irving G. Tragen lived at I-House from 1943-1947 while he attended UC Berkeley to obtain his B.A. degree and later to receive his J.D. at the Berkeley School of Law. He met his wife, Eleanor Dodson, while he was living at I-House.

His Foreign Service began in 1948 in Mexico, followed by three years at the Pan-American Sanitary Bureau. He entered the US Foreign Assistance Program in El Salvador, followed by assignments in Chile and Peru.

From 1960 to 1980, in the US Foreign Service, he had many varied assignments including Labor Attache to Venezuela; Labor Advisor for the Alliance for Progress (AFP); Director of the AFP Office of Institutional Development; AID Director in Bolivia; Director of Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay Affairs; Vice President of the Inter-American Foundation; Director of the Regional Office for Central American Programs (ROCAP); Economic Counselor and USAID Director in Panama during the Panama Canal negotiations; and, Deputy Chief of the US Mission to the Organization of American States (OAS), with rank of Ambassador when heading US delegations to OAS specialized conferences.

In July 1980, he joined the OAS Economic and Social Secretariat. In late 1984, he was named advisor to the Secretary-General on Inter-American Narcotic Drug Trafficking, which led to the creation of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) and his appointment as its first Executive Director in 1988. He retired at the end of 1994.

To learn more about his life and career, please click here.

The Young Alumni Initiative Award

How clean is your power grid? The answer changes every five minutes.

From smart thermostats to industrial-scale chillers, the world’s 20 billion smart devices now account for a rapidly growing share of all electricity consumption on Earth. Every one of those devices is now capable of automatically powering itself partly through renewable energy, thanks to a new technology called Automated Emissions Reduction (AER).

AER was invented by WattTime, a tech startup founded at UC Berkeley by a group of students. Many of those students were International House residents, and many of the early work on AER was done in I-House’s Great Hall.

The story of WattTime’s founding is in many ways the story of I-House: bringing together people from diverse backgrounds in pursuit of a common goal. And WattTime’s ongoing contributions have continued to mirror this diversity: unlike most tech startups, which emphasize innovation in software, WattTime’s broad range of talent has led to cutting-edge breakthroughs in an unusually wide variety of fields, including machine learning, finance, accounting, statistics, law, engineering, and public policy — all in service of a more sustainable world. And our story only could have unfolded at a place like I-House.

Gala ticket registration ends at 5:00 PM on Thursday, April 5th, so it’s not too late to join us for a special evening. Learn more at

6:00 PM Music & Mingling | 7:00 PM Dinner & Program

$275 per person
$150 per person for Young Diplomats (35 years of age and under)

See the Gala menu.

Eventbrite - 2018 I-House Awards Celebration & Gala


To reserve Gala raffle tickets, please visit or contact us at 510.642.4128 or

The Fund for I-House
Proceeds from the Annual Celebration and Awards Gala and the raffle benefit The Fund for I-House, a resource that provides life-changing scholarships, inspirational programming, and maintenance to our historic home. Your support of this year’s Gala will help ensure current and future residents are able to live, learn, and grow under the dome, furthering the I-House mission of fostering intercultural respect, understanding, lifelong friendships, and leadership skills to promote a more peaceful world.

The I-House Development, Alumni Relations & Communications Team looks forward to welcoming you back to I-House. If you’re in the area, please let us know!

I-House LogoI-House Development, Alumni Relations & Communications Team
(510) 642-4128 |

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About Laurie Ferris

As the Communications Strategist for International House at UC Berkeley, I share stories online and in our I-House Times Newsletter. I created this blog for alumni, residents, and staff to share the I-House experience with the UC Berkeley community and beyond. If you would like to contribute a guest post, please contact me at Share the I-House love! ♥
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