On April 1st, 1965, Kyoto International Students House (also known as “HdB”) was founded with civilian donations in Switzerland and Japan. The spirit of the House is summarized in an essay entitled “Principle and Purpose” written by the founder, Dr. Werner Kohler (a professor of Theology in Heidelberg University, who passed away in 1984). Dr. Kohler named the house as “Haus der Begegnung” in German, which translates to “the House of Encounter”. The “Principle and Purpose” essay explains the unique ideology of the house emphasizing “Life Together” and “Encounter” of students from diverse cultures. Another unique aspect of the House is the presence of two house parents and their family who live under the same roof with residents and scholars so as to provide leadership to the community. The house has a policy to limit the number of residents from each country; up to one third of the resident population may be Japanese, and the number of residents from each country other than Japan can be up to three. Residents are expected to participate in various house events and activities, and everyone must sign up for a specific task each semester to contribute to the house community. All residents must attend Common Meals on Friday evenings (twice a month during the semester), house meetings, and other official HdB events.Please visit “Resident Activities” tab above for more information.
One of the key concept of the house, “Life Together”, does not mean merely living together and working together. “Life Together” is life in relation with others, including those who have different convictions and opinions. In other words, “Life Together” means respect for those who are different. We can choose to agree or to disagree with one another. In appreciation of different values even when one does not necessarily agree, we believe that people from diverse backgrounds gain valuable experience toward true peace, which does not mean merely an absence of fighting.