The International Center (founding name) was founded in 1949 by Yale University’s Christian Association and was operated by Dwight Hall. Once known as the International Student Center, the Center served the international students and their families who arrived in New Haven to study and work at Yale University. The Tudor mansion at 406 Prospect Street was originally donated to the International Center in 1949 by the Twitchell family of New Haven. The mansion was a home to graduate students and scholars from all over the world, providing housing and a community away from home.
The International House gave residents from a wide variety of backgrounds the chance to share their experiences in a safe and comfortable environment. House residents represented countries as diverse as Austria, Bolivia, Bulgaria, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico, and even the United States. Residents shared their cultures through dinners, such as a Spanish evening hosted by the three resident Spaniards. Many a fine Thanksgiving Dinner were held in the dining room over the last fifty years! For the last half-century, the House served as a welcoming place where the New Haven community met the world and served as host to the Center’s gatherings and language classes.
In 1954-1955, the Center became an independent organization and was formally recognized as a not-for-profit organization in 1957. Over the years, the Center partnered with local organizations, such as the New Haven Rotary Club and the Junior Chamber of Commerce, to help introduce the international students to life in the New Haven community.
In 1955, the Center launched its Hospitality Program which later became known as the International Community Friendship Program. The Center has traditionally had a membership of over 300 individuals and families in the New Haven area. Besides sponsoring the International House as a residence, the organization offered host family programs for 75 visiting students and scholars annually, supported ‘Round-the-World Women, a cultural organization for spouses of international visitors, and offered regular classes in English as a Second Language.
When the International Center sold its International House to Yale University, many of the interior furnishings were donated to New Haven non-profit organizations, including Sister City’s Freedom Town, Sierra Leon project (which shipped ten teachers desks to their new university), New Haven Home Recovery, the Center for Mental Health of CT, and Interfaith Refugee Ministries.
In 2006, the organization became The International Association of New Haven (IANH). We are committed to funding programs that enhance and promote cultural understanding in our diverse community.