I-House Executive Director Spotlight: Joe Lurie

International House Executive Director Emeritus Joe Lurie (IH 1988-2007) is featured in an oral history “spotlight” series, where he is interviewed by journalism graduate student Chan’Cellore Makanjuola (IH 2019-20). All four parts of the interview video are available to watch on our YouTube channel. I am pleased to announce that the audio podcast versions of the interviews are now available and linked below. 

Joe Lurie Interview in Home Room

Watch or listen to the interview series below:

Part 1 Highlights:
-Stunning Discoveries: The Long Forgotten Pioneering Origins of I-House Berkeley
-Understanding the Needs of the Disabled and Gay Communities
-How Experiences in Africa Helped Prepare Joe Lurie for Understanding Inexplicable Encounters at I-House
Part 2 Highlights:
-Breaking Stereotypes and Resident Transformations: I-House at its Best
-Reflecting on how a Fax Machine Brought the First News of Tiananmen Square to I-House
-Welcoming/Honoring Famous Alumni and Other Recognized World-Renowned Figures
Part 3 Highlights: 
-Officiating at Weddings of Former Residents
-Initiating New Programs; The Magic of Doing Things Together Across Cultures
-Navigating the  Cross-Cultural Challenges of Alcohol and Dining Protocols
– Discovering Different Approaches to Names and Gestures Across Cultures
Part 4 Highlights:
-Discovering the Hidden Meanings/Stories Behind  I-House Architectural Features
-The I House Years Propel Joe Lurie in his retirement Into A New World of Discoveries
-The Profound Impact the I House Journey has had on Joe Lurie and his wife, Alumna Donna Rosenthal

Listen to the I-House Forum podcasts on Apple, Google, Spotify 

Apple Podcasts Logo  Google Podcasts Logo    Spotify Logo

Additional podcast apps are listed at https://anchor.fm/i-house-berkeley


Comments from interview viewers:

Remarkable institution – so grateful to learn of its riches and of the passionate voices of its history.  Though I have heard of it before, Director (former) Joe Lurie brings it to life in a way that makes me long for it to be a staple of every signature state university.   Kudos to I-House Berkeley!! 
– Peter Beasecker
It was a pleasure and an honor living in I-House (2004-05) during the last phase of Joe Lauri. Joe really made us feel in an International House where people of all cultures are welcomed and celebrated.
–  Saeed Rid
I don’t think there is another person like Joe! Not only is he kind to the core, but he walks his talk. Even though his tenure at I-House has concluded, he truly believes in the mission and values of I-House and he has devoted his life to uplifting people of all backgrounds and increasing our awareness of the unique experience of immigrants, including international students. I feel privileged to have had Joe as our Executive Director while being a resident at I-House in 2002-2004 and to continue to have him in my life as a mentor. Thank you Joe, for giving us continued opportunities to rekindle our memories of I-House and reflect on the impact it had on us. 
–  Roshan Gujar
Living at I-House was the best experience of my undergraduate education at Berkeley!  
– Junk Can

This interview was recorded in August of 2020 by I-House Social Media Ambassador Chan’Cellore Makanjuola (IH 2019-2020). Read her accompanying blog post Joe Lurie: I-House Berkeley Through His Eyes.

In a recent statement, Joe provided additional thoughts:

Having seen and experienced the transformative power of the I-House mission over so many years,  I was deeply saddened to learn of its closing in 2020. I remember in particular the words of one alumna at the time: “Prudent but Heartbreaking.” 

Now, as we look forward to the reopening of I-House in the Fall of 2021,  its mission of building bridges across different backgrounds and perspectives could not be more urgent during this period of cultural, political and ethnic polarization across the globe. For those of us deeply touched by the intercultural magic of living, dining and learning together under the dome, let us light the way forward for a new generation of residents with our stories and with, yes, our important financial support.

–Joe Lurie, I-House Executive Director Emeritus 

Behind the scenes of the virtual interview:

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Joe Lurie and Laurie Ferris

Joe Lurie and Laurie Ferris masked up for the interview session in August 2020

I had the honor of working with Joe Lurie during his last few years as executive director and have maintained a connection with him over the years. Joe is an active member of the I-House Berkeley Connect Global Community. To read Joe’s insightful posts and connect with fellow I-House friends, alumni are encouraged to participate at ihberkeleyconnect.org.

If you would like to share a message for Joe, please leave a comment below or email us at ihalumni@berkeley.edu.


The interview is part of a series of “spotlights” where alumni and former executive directors are featured for an oral history discussion about their time at I-House. While I-House is temporarily closed for the 2020-2021 academic year, the oral history discussions are a way to help keep the alumni community connected virtually. If you would like to provide an interview or volunteer to help, please contact Laurie Ferris at lferris@berkeley.edu.

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! ♥
This entry was posted in Faces of I-House, Oral Histories and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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