100,000 Grains of Sand Tour

Alice Lewthwaite, great-granddaughter of Harry Edmonds, the founder of the International House movement, is currently on a world tour called “100,000 Grains of Sand,” which represents the approximate number of alumni of International Houses worldwide. Following in Harry Edmonds’ footsteps, Alice will travel to 18 countries and appear at more than 25 events along the way. On January 6, 2019, International House Berkeley was her second stop after New York!

Passing the Light from House to House

Alice uses the tall candle to light the candles at each I-House she visits on her tour

Alice uses the tall candle, pictured on the left, to light the candles at each I-House she visits on the tour. The middle candle came from I-House New York, the first stop on the tour. It stayed in Berkeley, while our candle was brought to the next stop where it stays with I-House New York alumni in Honolulu. This candle relay continues on the tour, symbolizing the light that International Houses have spread throughout the world. As we say in Berkeley, Fiat Lux!

While in Berkeley, Alice stayed in our Ambassador Suite and met for coffee with executive director emeritus Sherry Warrick and his wife Betsey.  Alice enjoyed the reception in her honor, and then a tour of I-House, led by the executive director, Hans Giesecke. She also had the opportunity to meet I-House executive director emeritus Joe Lurie, and  alumni from I-Houses in Berkeley and New York.  Read what Alice wrote about the visit on her blog.

Below are photos from the reception on January 6th in the Home Room.

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Following in Harry Edmonds’ Footsteps

Almost 53 years ago in 1966, founder of International House Harry Edmonds embarked on a 104-day tour of 22 different International Houses worldwide. His travels took him all across the United States from New York, to California, to Hawaii. He also traveled to multiple countries across Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. Now, his great-granddaughter Alice Lewthwaite is retracing his steps in order to revitalize the mission of International Houses Worldwide. She also hopes to collect stories from the many I-House alumni she meets along her journey.

This trip is of great emotional importance for Alice, as she hopes that following in her great-grandfather’s footsteps will help her better understand his life. She never met her great-grandfather in person, but after coming across articles about him in 2008, she was inspired to learn more about his mission. In order to do that, Alice plans to travel around the world, making more than 25 stops in 18 countries. During that time, Alice will travel to cities including Berkeley, Lahaina, Honolulu, Tokyo, Taipei, Manila, Hong-Kong, Bangkok, Delhi, Mumbai, Beirut, Istanbul, Athens, Rome, Paris, Berlin, Stockholm, Oslo, Helsinki, Copenhagen, London, and Chicago. She hopes to connect with alumni in each location to hear about their experiences and to further understand her great-grandfather’s legacy.

That legacy began in 1909 when Harry Edmonds, Alice’s great-grandfather, first met a Chinese student at the Columbia University library. Edmonds greeted him, to which the student replied, “Thank you for talking with me. You are the first person who has spoken to me since arriving here.” Recognizing the importance of helping international students feel welcome in the United States, Edmonds decided to invite a small group of foreign students to his home for dinner on a Sunday afternoon. As Edmonds’ dream of building community spaces for international and American students blossomed, John D. Rockefeller Jr. rose to the occasion and donated to build International Houses in New York, Chicago, Berkeley, and Paris. Keeping with the theme of global connections, the inscription “May Brotherhood Prevail” stands out prominently above the main door to the NYC International House, as Rockefeller requested. With her tour, Alice is continuing that tradition of brotherhood by traveling around the world to engage with International House alumni from numerous countries. She hopes to ‘pass the light on’ of understanding and international friendship.

See a listing of her events at: https://www.ihouse-nyc.org/news_events/100gos/

I-House World Tour graphic courtesy of I-House Chicago

I-House World Tour graphic courtesy of I-House Chicago

Follow Alice’s journey through her blog or Facebook page, both of which she will be updating throughout her trip!

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 lferris@berkeley.edu. Share the I-House love! ♥
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