60, 40, 20 Anniversary Celebration brings together Tufts’ international community
Published: Friday, March 2, 2012
Updated: Friday, March 2, 2012 10:03
International alumni will gather on the Hill this weekend to commemorate an important year in the history of Tufts' international community. The 60, 40, 20 Anniversary Celebration Event marks 60 years of the International Center, 40 years of the International House and 20 years of the Oliver Chapman Award.
The International Center (I-Center) was founded in 1952 in order to manage immigration visas for the small international community at Tufts. As the center expanded, it developed many new programs as well as a support system for students of different nationalities.
Included among these are International Orientation and the International House (I-House). The I-House was founded in 1972 through the joint efforts of I-Center staff and students and provides undergraduate housing for both international and American students.
According to Jane Etish-Andrews, director of the I-Center, the I-Center's affiliated programs and organizations play a vital role in integrating the international community with the larger Tufts community.
"[The students] form very strong friendships with both internationals and Americans," she said. "A lot of our programs and philosophy is … bringing everyone together and breaking down all the misunderstandings and differences people have."
The Oliver Chapman Leadership and Community Service Award began in spring 1993 after the death of Oliver Chapman, an international student from Panama.
Founded by Chapman's peers, the award honors one senior who demonstrates service to the international community either within or outside Tufts. The recipient of the award is chosen by the International Club and honored at the annual Parade of Nations ceremony.
This year, the Chapman family will be present to speak at the awards ceremony. Etish-Andrews expects a moving response.
"I'm thrilled that they're coming," she said. "I feel that it's a very nice way to close a circle, embrace them back at Tufts, and for them to feel the warmth of this community that [Chapman] felt when he was at Tufts."
Freshman Jaime Sanchez is an international student from Panama with close ties to the Chapman family and is a member of the committee to select the award recipient.
He cited the difficulty in picking just one individual out of the highly qualified candidates and said he eagerly anticipates the Chapmans' arrival.
"I'm excited to see the Chapmans. They're my neighbors, I've known them my whole life," he said. "I think it's very meaningful for them, to come back and have an award for their son. It gives closure."
In addition to the award, Oliver Chapman's friends also began a financial aid loan fund, which is available to international students on financial aid, according to Etish-Andrews.
Along with the Chapman family, over 50 Tufts and Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy alumni will join around 100 students for a packed schedule of speakers, meals and events.
Saturday will commemorate the 60th anniversary of the International Center, and will feature speeches by University President Anthony Monaco and several distinguished Tufts alumni, including Ioannis Miaoulis (E '83, AG '86, EG '87), current president of the Boston Museum of Science and former Dean of Engineering at Tufts, and Leslie Rowe, U.S. Ambassador to Mozambique, former Director of the International Center and Fletcher graduate.
Festivities continue on Saturday night with the International Club's Parade of Nations, a yearly tradition that will feature performances by cultural groups on campus and a fashion show to exhibit Tufts' ethnic and national diversity.
President of the International Club and main coordinator of Parade of Nations Matthew Park, a sophomore, emphasized the importance of the event in reaching the student body as well as alumni.
"Parade of Nations is probably the best way the greater Tufts community can be reached, because a lot of these events are geared towards alumni," he said. "It allows a moment to celebrate how we're different, and how amazing it is that we have people here that come from dozens of different places."
Sunday celebrates the 40th anniversary of the I-House, and will feature remarks from Dean of Students John Barker and Mehrdad Toofanian (E '73), the I-House's first house manager. Immediately following will be an alumni tour of the I-House led by its current residents.
"The tour of the I-House with people who lived there 30 years ago is going to be crazy," Park said. "They're going to be walking around saying, ‘Oh, I slept there!'"
The weekend will also feature videos and slideshows from the Tufts archives.
According to Etish-Andrews, several alumni have shared their stories via Skype, and 19 of the past 20 recipients of the Chapman Award have written statements about their personal experiences at Tufts.
"We've started interviewing two graduates from the 1950s, and it was very exciting because they're still very connected to Tufts," she said. "Their memories of Tufts as undergraduates are still very strong and important."
Having worked as Director of the I-Center for 29 years, Etish-Andrews maintains personal relationships with many of the returning graduates.
"It will be very moving for [the international alumni] to hear and see what they left behind," she said. "I think when they come back, they'll see … [that] the legacy continues. [They'll see] the vibrancy of the community, the programs that exist, the love for Tufts, the feeling that they had here both academically and socially and how important their existence here at Tufts was and is."
Tala Kayyali (A '11), who will be speaking at the celebration, said the event is representative of her own time as part of the international community at Tufts.
"This celebration reflects the most important part of my Tufts experience," she told the Daily in an email. "It is through International Orientation, the International Club and the International House that I've grown to be who I am as an individual. They have not only had an impact on my social life, but also my leadership skills, and my growth as an individual."