Our Commitment to Diversity

At the dedication of International House on October 3, 1932, there was an address by Raymond Fosdick titled, The New Internationalism A Plea for Diversity. The text of the address appeared in the first International House Yearbook published in the spring of 1933. Raymond Fosdick was an integral part of the Rockefeller Foundation, serving as a trustee and leading adviser to John D. Rockefeller, Jr., founder of the four original International Houses in New York (1924), Berkeley (1930), Chicago (1932), and Paris (1936). An excerpt from Fosdick’s address states:

…I should hope that this place would be a home of honest differences, a refuge for conflicting opinions, a haven for contrasts. I should wish that this institution would be a forum for economic ideas orthodox and unorthodox, a center of social and cultural theories that reflect the whole range of human experience. I should hope that here would be woven a fabric of variegated pattern and of many shades and colors– a fabric from which a flag might be fashioned to unfurl in the face of a leveling mechanism. In brief, if I should be asked to suggest a motto for this new house, an inscription to be placed over its doors, I would give you these words: Not standardization but diversity. Not nationalism but nationality. (The complete address and photos from the 1933 International House Yearbook are available to the right).

The International House mission to promote peace through cross-cultural understanding grew out of the aftermath of World War I, when countries started to look inward. Our mission has never changed, and our community remains committed to this important work. As globalization brings new opportunities and complexities, our work to prepare leaders for the global community resonates today with renewed urgency. We remain dedicated to our founding principles and to creating an inclusive environment where all individuals are empowered to fully participate in the exchange of ideas and perspectives. In autumn of 2020, we look forward to welcoming a new class of students and scholars and to continuing to serve a broad array of communities across the campus and around Chicago.