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About Us

Our Mission:

To educate ourselves, our college and community about a world that is making new connections and discoveries all the time; whose old alliances and sympathies are giving way to the news; a world whose rapidly changing economies and culture demand a fresh understanding.

Who We Are:

We come from all majors and backgrounds. Some of us are International students while some are Americans. Some of us are "third culture" students who have roots in one culture but grew up in another. What we all have in common is the interest in the global world beyond Holland, Michigan. We combine our interested and experiences in politics, cultures, economics, the arts and the society to learn new things, meet new people and share what we have learnt with others.

Committee (2013-2014)

Name: Habeeb G. Awad
Position: Advisor
Country: Palestine / USA

Something About Him: I enjoy interacting with international students. They are at such an exciting time of life where they are doing a lot of personal growth, clarifying of values and beliefs, and deciding what to do with their newfound freedom. I find it interesting, challenging, and motivating to engage in dialogue with international students and to foster relationships with them challenging them to grow as people.

Thoughts About IRC: IRC fosters a bridge of understanding between cultures and people. It provides cultural light for our Hope community and challenge to become global citizens. It provides unique diversity of issues that enlightens our thoughts and perspectives of other nations. My challenge to our students is this: Strive for objectivity. Don't be on the defensive! Do be open to new ideas which enlarge understanding of our world.



President: Emma Stewart

I'm a TCK who grew up in Yemen, The UAE, Oman, Egypt, Texas, and Sweden. I love eating and laughing and being goofy and hiking and traveling. I was a Phelps Scholar freshman year and I love anything that has to do with PSP or International students. Finding a home within Hope through the International students has been the best part of my college experience.


Vice-President: Ivy Keen

I grew up in Houston, Texas. I am going to be a Psychology major and something else (haven't decided yet). I'm currently a sophomore, and last year I was a Phelps Scholar. I love meeting people from different cultures and learning about their traditions. I believe that the bridge the IRC builds between international and non-international students is an important aspect of the Hope experience. If you have any questions about theIRC, please don't hesitate to ask me or any of the other committee members.


Secretary: Yubing Mao

Hi, I am the secretary for the IRC. I grew up in Beijing, China. I came to the States when I was 13 and lived in Virginia until college. I am a Chemistry major and want to focus on nutrition and diet later on. I enjoy frolf, long board and outdoor activities! I like to talk to people because you can always learn something new about or from them every day.  Come to IRC events! Looking forward to see you guys there!


Treasurer: Yiran Zhi

Hey, I'm Yiran Zhi and I'm the treasurer of IRC. I grew up in a small city near Shanghai called Suzhou. I'm a Sophomore and a Public Accounting major on CPA track. I was a Phelps Scholar last year and I really like the program and Scott Hall! I love to be involved in many kinds of activities. I really enjoy IMAGES and food fair! Come to our IRC events and make friends with a lot of people from all over the world!! 


Publicity: Jenna Van Es

Major: Sociology
Minors: Creative Writing; Japanese Composite Studies

Like Emma, I’m a TCK (Third Culture Kid); I grew up mostly in Africa (Malawi, The Gambia, and Kenya) but spent my summers in the US. As a kid, I never felt like I fit into America, or that any of the American kids could understand my cultural experiences. I struggled a lot with figuring out who I was in an American context when I came to university. So I’m really passionate about establishing dialogue and conversations between American and international students, so that we can foster more understanding and acceptance of other cultures (and other people). My favorite way to do that is with food! I love getting to know a culture through its food – my favorite foods are groundnut stew, or chicken jeera with naan, or mushu pork – yum! I was also a Phelps Scholar as a freshman, and I really love the community that that program establishes. My hope for IRC is that we can be another place of community for international and American students to get to know one another, and have lots of fun while doing so!! :)