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I-house foreign students cheer the new president

on November 4, 2008


Hundred of foreign students at Berkeley International house who gathered around big TV screens cheered and hugged each other to celebrate Barack Obama’s victory.

Some of the students watched the elections results at the I-House, a residential house for international students at UC Berkeley. Dozen of others took part in a panel discussion on the election that took place at the IHouse’s auditorium.

Though most of of I-House residents are foreign students, the US elections, they said, is very important to them. Almost everybody at I-House was a Barack Obama supporter.

“Yes excellent!” said Dutch student Benjamin Brenny when the network shows called the election for Barack Obama.

“I was very nervous,” he said. “It is a big relief.”

Most the I-House residents could not vote because they are not U.S. citizens. All day, though, they gathered to watch the news and the results.

“I always identify myself with him,” said Turkish student Sener Akturk. “It is an encouragement for minorities around the world,” he said. He said he believes that Barack Obama’s election will “push minorities to stand up.”

Farouk Hamzeh from Lebanon said he watched the U.S. presidential race during the last two years. He said he believes the election of an African-American is a big factor for unity. “It is going to unite the United States, but it will also unite the rest of the world,” he said.

To celebrate this election night, the I-House also held a panel discussion with students of the University of Waseda in Japan and two universities in Spain. It was an opportunity for foreign students to express their expectations for the new U.S. administration–especially on foreign policy.

The students had a live discussion with Bruce Cain, the director of the UC Berkeley Washington Center. By teleconference, he answered the students’ questions about the U.S. political system.||||||

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