Firstly, to the many students who have graduated this semester, your hard work and determination of completing your studies has finally paid off. Take the time to reward yourself for overcoming academic challenges while enriching the knowledge of your studies and appreciating the friendships you have gained from your journey.
“Do all the other things, the ambitious things—travel, get rich, get famous, innovate, lead, fall in love, make and lose fortunes…but as you do, to the extent that you can, err in the direction of kindness.” —George Saunders
Congratulations Class of 2020!
Varsha Thebo, ISH Deputy Resident Manager from Pakistan
Varsha Thebo is one of our graduates who shared some inspiration with fellow resident scholars at the virtual ISH Graduation Celebration (via Zoom). She identifies the one moment that was the beginning of her journey: "I first entered the House, early morning, on August 18th, 2018, threw my bags in my room, and eager to meet the fellow residents, joined everyone in the dining hall for breakfast. To my utter surprise and delight, I was sharing a table with people from Italy, Germany, South Korea, Brazil, and Russia. I recognized immediately that I was embarking on a very special experience." Today, Varsha is a graduate from Georgetown University with a masters degree from the School of Foreign Service.
Sofía L., Resident Scholars from Argentina and recent graduate
I would say it’s a fantastic time to self-reflect. As the summer approaches us at ISH, we are preparing to enjoy things a little differently this year. If you ask me, the pandemic does not put a damper on our graduates, interns, and students in the house who are working hard each day to succeed in their goals. Sofia Liendro who was the ISH Valedictorian Scholar for the Graduation Celebration says: "Although some of our plans have been compromised by the pandemic, I am hopeful that we will learn from this experience and improve as citizens of the world." Sofía is a graduate from Escuela de Negocios Formato Educativo and Universidad de Cádiz in which she has received her Masters in Business Administration.
Önder Y., Resident Scholars from Turkey and recent graduate
One thing I have noticed with many ISH residents is that the compelling force to further succeed is always present in mind. Önder Yalçın recently graduated as well, and his compelling story is one of the many historical ones as he is a graduate of the Covid-19 times. He is a recent graduate from two different programs, Fulbright's Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program, which allowed him to join American University’s Washington College of Law 2020, and a professional affiliation at German Marshall Fund. He also completed the UNA-NCA Graduate Fellows Program. With a successful completion and an optimistic mind, he is looking forward to the start of summer! “I do hope the pandemic will recede and the world will feel safer in summer time.” Later, Önder will return to his home country, Turkey, where he will work in the city of Gaziantep, working with refugees. When asked, What is your down time activity to do? Önder shared: “I love walking around DC! Walking to Georgetown Waterfront, watching sunset, enjoying nice weather and of course DC's trails close to the center are places to breathe for me.”
Meong A., Resident Scholar from the Philippines
There are many explanations on how ISH is a significant place during this time. As we residents experience changes that affect the whole world, we appreciate and love the community that ISH brings together. It’s a home to the future explorers, scientists, and intellects. Meong Arahan is a bold example of one of the students in the house who is applying his excellent work to his studies and keeping a healthy balance. When asked what he has in mind for the future: “I look forward to the reopening of DC as it would allow me to enjoy DC without worrying too much about my classes. During my down time, I like to walk, sometimes without even knowing where to go.” Meong attends Georgetown University where he currently studies in the Masters program of Global Human Development (December 2020).
The group of individuals who are living through the pandemic at ISH have creative minds about the future. They are willing to work hard and strive for the best. Whether we are enjoying dinner outside (with proper distance of course!) or a quick conversation in the hallway, we are on our way to continuing our work to make a difference.
So yes, reach out to that friend, aunt, uncle, or say hi to your friend's puppy through the webcam - we all need each other’s words of wisdom during this time. The point is to keep a healthy mind and heart until we reach the end of the pandemic (we will be closer than you think!).