At I-House, we believe that culture, community, and fellowship are the lifeblood of a healthy and vibrant city, region, and society. We envision a community where all people belong. Regardless of race, gender, color, place of origin, or belief system, all people feel safe, respected, and seen. It is in this spirit that I-House moves forward as the community hub of international activity in Davis. It is a space in which to celebrate our common humanity, share cultural practices and traditions, engage with our differences, foster civic dialogue, and tackle global issues for a better tomorrow!
Mission and Purpose
International House Davis (I-House) connects people, experiences, and perspectives within a global framework. Our programs, classes, services, and events provide opportunities to learn about and experience cultures from around the world, while building connections within our diverse local community.
I-House brings individuals and communities together to explore the global issues of our time and to celebrate culture through talks, workshops, seminars, lectures, and events. We operate from a lens of equity, inclusion, access, and diversity – striving to be at the forefront of conversations around social justice, climate change, and many other issues of global importance.
A longtime Davis resident, Shelly joins I-House after serving for five years as the Programs Officer of the California Arts Council where she was responsible for grant programs to support arts, culture, and creativity across the state. Shelly oversaw the programs at the Arts Council during a period of tremendous growth, initiating and implementing new programs that extended the agency’s reach to support cultural communities, artists, and grassroots organizations. She will bring her commitment to supporting and uplifting all cultures to her work at I-House.
Shelly states, “I have learned so much about the incredible cultural richness that shapes California over the past five years, and I am excited and humbled to bring that knowledge to I-House. I look forward to building upon the 40-year history of I-House by uplifting, supporting, and sharing the traditions, perspectives, and ideas of the people and cultures that shape Davis, the region, and the world.”
Shelly has over 20 years of experience in nonprofit management and cultural policy as well as a Ph.D. in Performance Studies from UC Davis. She spent the first 10 years of her career in nonprofit management working for performing arts organizations, first in her hometown of Philadelphia and then in New York City. Looking for a change of scenery from NYC, she and her husband Sangho Byun moved to Davis in 2004 so she could pursue her graduate work. At UC Davis, she studied sustainability and community engagement models for dance organizations. After graduating from UC Davis, she and Sangho decided to stay in Davis to raise their two children. Shelly’s deep knowledge of non-profit management, her interest in community engagement and her commitment to cultural exchange and inclusion will coalesce in her new post at I-House.
Kate has a wide range of experience supporting non-profits. Prior to joining I-House, Kate was the Business Office and Human Resources Manager for a small non-profit organization, supporting all back-office functions while enabling public-facing staff to focus on volunteers and programming. Kate previously served as the Director of the California LGBTQ Health & Human Services Network, a statewide coalition making policy change to address LGBTQ health disparities. While there, she was one of the premier LGBTQ health policy advocates in California and recognized nationally for her work ensuring that California’s implementation of the Affordable Care Act fully included LGBTQ people. Kate managed over $1 million in Outreach, Education, and Enrollment grants from Covered California, reaching over 1.5 million LGBTQ community members in California. Kate has worked as the Legislative and Policy Assistant for Health Access California, a Program Analyst for the Office of the Patient Advocate, a Community Organizing Resident with Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice, and a middle school science teacher in East Los Angeles. Kate is also a founding member of Kol Rinah, a new Jewish community in Sacramento.
Kate holds a B.A. from Oberlin College in Biology and Religion, an M.A. from Loyola Marymount University in Secondary Education, and an M.A. from U.C. Berkeley in Molecular and Cell Biology.
Kate grew up in the Los Angeles area, raised as a Nichiren Buddhist within a large extended Mexican Catholic family, and converted to Judaism as an adult. She and her wife adopted their two kids from foster care, and are in the process of adding another sibling set to their family. She lives in Sacramento with her wife, 5 kids, 3 dogs, and 1 cat.
Shahzana helps plan and coordinate International House Davis’s language classes and also works with the volunteers, which are crucial parts of the events and daily workflow of the organization.
Shahzana began as a volunteer and worked with the International Festival, and she also taught an Indian cooking workshop. In August 2018, she received the coveted SEN Award for outstanding service as a volunteer. She joined our paid staff first as a Facilities Assistant, adding to her knowledge of the workings of I-House. She then graduated to her current position, and still teaches cooking classes when she is able. Her goal is to make all visitors feel that they are welcomed and comfortable in our home-like environment.
Shahzana has a degree in journalism from India. She is also a certified Zumba instructor, where her journey at I-House began when she taught a class for a year. She is also a community theater artist and won an ELLY award for her performance in the documentary play, “SEVEN.”
Board of Directors
- President: Phyllis McCalla
- Vice President: Bahram Kavousi
- Secretary: Margie Ratto-Young
- Treasurer: Irena Asmundson
- Tim Ainsworth
- Jammal Anibaba
- Bob Biggs
- Edward Callahan
- Jim Hill
- Kamal Lemseffer
- Travis Lybbert
- Rahim Reed
- Joanna Regulska
Thanks to a generous gift from Mr. and Mrs. Shunta Yamamoto of Tokyo, I-House found a home at 10 College Park in 1984. The Yamamotos wanted to create a unique space for cultural learning. Our historic building occupies a perfect location right between UC Davis, a world-renowned university, and the growing city of Davis. Our programming is rooted in our distinctive space, and through committed collaborative efforts, in the communities where we live and serve. Our classes, programs, and events attract participants from throughout the Sacramento region.