I-House is a social gathering space where people from all over the world come together to celebrate our common humanity, share cultural practices and traditions, engage with our differences, cultivate joy, combat isolation, foster civic dialogue, and tackle global issues for a better tomorrow! 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.
At I-House, our firm stance against racism, oppression, and injustice informs our work for dignity, justice, and belonging. We recognize that the history of slavery, colonialism, and racial inequity in this country disproportionately impacts people of color and affects the ability of all people to thrive. We are committed to addressing historic and systemic racism, striving to be an anti-racist organization, and providing a space to engage in safe and productive civic dialogue. In the face of continued social injustice, we feel it is more important than ever before to celebrate culture, diversity, community, and human connections.
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.
Community Code of Conduct
We establish this code of conduct to create a safe, productive, and welcoming space and to combat the racism and systems of oppression that often come through in our interpersonal interactions.
I-House expects that you:
- Treat everyone with respect, dignity, kindness, and consideration.
- Communicate in a spirit of collaborative inquiry and learning.
- Welcome and listen to diverse views and opinions, and respect cultural differences.
- Approach other people’s experiences, impressions, and understanding with an open mind, even if their experience does not match your own.
- Recognize the right of individuals to think, speak, express, and debate any idea freely within the bounds of courtesy, sensitivity, and respect.
- Reflect on your own ideas and stereotypes, and avoid using language based in racism, prejudice, discrimination, or stereotypes.
- Behave in a safe and responsible manner.
- Treat the premises with care, leaving the venue clean and orderly.
- Understand that engaging with difficult issues may be uncomfortable and recognize the difference between uncomfortable and unsafe.
- I-House reserves the right to determine what constitutes unacceptable behavior.
- I-House staff (or a designee) may take any appropriate action deemed necessary to stop unacceptable behavior, including immediately removing the offender from the venue.
- I-House reserves the right to prohibit future attendance of anyone who has violated our Code of Conduct.
- I-House leadership is continuing to learn and grow in our commitment to anti-racism and inclusion and will periodically review and revise this Code of Conduct.
At I-House or I-House functions you may not:
- Harass or intimidate others, nor discriminate against them.
- Physically or verbally abuse others.
- Display inappropriate anger or disruptive behavior.
- Disrupt presentations, classes, or any other events.
- Damage any property.
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 two of their kids from foster care, and are in the process of adding another sibling set to their family. She lives in Sacramento with her wife, 6 kids, 3 dogs, and 3 cats.
Shahzana helps manage, coordinate, and implement programs, including our classes, workshops,
cultural programs, and annual events recruit and train volunteers, which are crucial parts of the events and daily workflow of the organization.
Shahzana started as a volunteer and with her background in event planning she worked with International Festival, and many other events at I-House. She enjoys cooking for the community and taught an Indian cooking workshop a couple of times. Shahzana also 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. 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.”
Manuel is the Event and Programs Assistant at I-House. He is a fourth year student at UC Davis, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in International Relations with a minor in Human Rights. Before becoming a staff member at I-House, he was an intern volunteer assisting with tasks to help run I-House programs and events since November 2019. Manuel believes that his position will help further the I-House goal of international understanding and cultural exchange.
He is from a small town located in the Central Valley of California. Among his interests include rights for LGBTQ individuals, indigenous peoples’ rights, and migrants’ rights.
Besides working at I-House, he is also the secretary for International Relations Student Association (IRSA) at UC Davis, a student-directed club focused on IR related themes, events, and topics.
Berenice enjoys the process of problem-solving, working with others, and creating visual communication through the use of typography, colors, arts, illustrations, and much more. Berenice received a BA in Design and a minor in Art History from the University of California, Davis. She enjoys printmaking, heat pressing, sewing, and drawing in her free time.
Board of Directors
- Chair: Bahram Kavousi
- Vice Chair: Travis Lybbert
- Secretary: Margie Ratto-Young
- Treasurer: Irena Asmundson
- Tim Ainsworth
- Jammal Anibaba
- Bob Biggs
- Edward Callahan
- Diego Campos
- Jim HIll
- Logan Legg
- Phyllis McCalla
- Joanna Regulska
- Mikael Villalobos
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.