Our Mission is to provide educational programs, services and advocacy to Duke global community on campus as well as outreach to the greater Durham area. We offer extensive cross-cultural information and training to enhance the mission of the university.
Our Motto: Connect, learn, and grow.
As the Student Development Coordinator, Esra’s responsibilities include planning and organizing the international undergraduate orientation and workshops; counseling international students, scholars, and their families; supervising undergraduate student workers; advising student culture organizations; collaborating with Student Affairs units, academic departments, and other university offices that share the mission of the International House; and assisting with hosting and coordinating other I-House events and programs.
Esra grew up in Istanbul, Turkey, and attended Istanbul University for her Bachelor's degree before moving to Greenville, North Carolina, to pursue a Master’s degree in English Studies at East Carolina University, focusing on Multicultural and Transnational Literature as well as Creative Writing. She completed her Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (CELTA) in London, UK. Esra taught English for various purposes ranging from English as a Second Language to Academic Writing, and she enjoyed working with a plethora of students and instructors from different cultural and social backgrounds both in the US and overseas. Her cross-cultural experiences as a wanderlust traveler, a former foreign student, and an international educator inspired her to explore other venues to reach out and help diverse groups achieve their personal and academic goals by providing them with necessary resources in addition to language acquisition, responding to their questions or concerns effectively, and supporting them with their needs for a smooth transition and adaptation to their new environment.
Esra loves hiking, traveling, reading, writing short stories, watching movies, cooking and trying new cuisines with her husband, attending local wine and beer tasting, playing with her two cats, and spending quality time with family and friends. Apart from her travels within Turkey and North America, she has also visited Italy, Spain, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Cyprus, England, Germany, Netherlands, Denmark, Slovakia, Austria, and the Maldives. She is passionate about studying folklore, especially researching folk narrative (myths, legends, tales), beliefs, rituals, traditions, and practices and how these elements coincide with the complexity of individual and group identity based on how individuals identify themselves in juxtaposition to how others may define them in a multicultural and multiracial context.
Lisa Giragosian, Director
300 Alexander Avenue
Durham NC 27708
Office Phone: 919-681-3922
As Director of International House, Lisa Giragosian provides leadership for the development, implementation and assessment of programs and policies that support international students, scholars, visitors and their families at Duke University and the Medical Center. While at Duke Lisa has chaired and served on the board of the North Carolina Association of International Educators. NCAIE is a professional organization of over 600 administrators, educators and community volunteers, committed to promoting the cause of international education in the state of North Carolina. In spring of 2008 Lisa received the Martha Fitch Trigonis Award for Excellence in International Education.
Lisa grew up in the Boston metropolitan area. She studied International Relations at Mount Holyoke College in western Massachusetts and obtained her Master’s degree in International Education from the School for International Training in Brattleboro Vermont. Along the way Lisa was an exchange student at the University of Bristol, England and a visiting student at the Instituto Cultural Oaxaca in Mexico. She spent one year as a Peace and Justice Intern working for the Palestine Human Rights Information Center in Jerusalem. A few places Lisa has traveled to include Bermuda, Cyprus, Bolivia, Romania, Armenia and of course Canada! In her spare time Lisa loves hiking in the area’s state parks or anywhere near water.
Paige Vinson, Assistant Director
300 Alexander Avenue
Durham NC 27708
Office Phone: 919-684-3253
Paige is responsible for planning the International Parent/Family Orientation and managing IHouse service as well as International Friends Program. In addition, she leads the Lunch and Learn Series for postdocs and scholars, as well as workshops for administrators and local business members. She assists the Assistant Director for Training & Outreach with cross-cultural training sessions. She also moderates the Intl-House listserv and advises the Passport magazine staff. In addition she counsels international students, scholars, and spouses with the issues they present.
Paige moved to North Carolina from her hometown of Austin, Texas where most of her family still resides. After pursuing a BA in archaeology, and living and working abroad in pursuit of fossils and cross-cultural experiences, she returned to school to get her Masters in Education. After teaching English as a Second Language for a number of years, she determined that her real passion was for assisting internationals in more ways than just acquiring English fluency. She began working as a Program Coordinator for International House in September 2008, and has enjoyed every minute.
Paige lives with her family in Durham County. She enjoys cooking (she can make a decent Spanish tortilla with local sweet potatoes), walking (ask her about her pilgrimages to Santiago de Compostela and Mont St. Michel), enjoying a glass of wine with friends (she’s a big fan of big, bold zinfandels), playing with her daughter (Mancala is one of their favorite games), and supporting local farmers by shopping at the Durham Farmer’s Market. She would love to see you there some Saturday morning.
Seun Bello Olamosu, Associate Director
300 Alexander Avenue
Durham NC 27708
Office Phone: 919-684-3585
In her role, Seun oversees the planning, designing, coordination, and facilitation of trainings that promote cross-cultural awareness and understanding between the international community and the university at large. She acts as liaison among International House, various university administrative offices, academic departments as well as the Durham community and professional organizations to develop and apply latest knowledge and research in cross-cultural education and training. She oversees the office website, publications, and social media marketing. She supervises programs and orientations for international spouses and partners. Seun has said, “One of my biggest joys in my position is to serve and advocate for all the international spouses/partners that arrive on Duke campus”.
Seun’s experiences after moving to the US triggered her interest in intercultural encounters and adaptation. As a result, she concentrated on Intercultural Communication/Counseling while receiving her Masters in International Studies and she is currently working on her doctorate in Leadership in Intercultural and International Education. Her research interests include cultural identities, immigration, globalization of education and how it influences internationalization of academic institutions.
Seun’s biggest inspiration for personal and professional development is her three young boys, whose curiosities motivate her to keep learning. She is also inspired by the legacy of her parents who dedicated their life to educate and mentor young people. She is further inspired by the marginalization of the voiceless in a globalized world and hopes to contribute to bringing their voices to the forefront. She enjoys road trips with her husband, international travel, reading, watching movies, and writing both songs and prose.
Phoebe is the Undergraduate Student Assistant responsible for writing a weekly blog called the "Flag of the Week" and a monthly scholar highlight post, managing social media, welcoming guests at International House and supporting the staff in operational duties. Phoebe is an international student from Kenya. She is currently a sophomore majoring in Biology and Global Health. She is passionate about promoting health and well-being for underserved communities, more specifically women and children in Sub- Saharan Africa and the developing world in general.
Other than the International House, Phoebe is involved with Baldwin Scholars, MasterCard Scholars, Club Tennis, Africa Conversations Club and a global health research team on reproductive health. During her free time, Phoebe enjoys reading short stories, watching movies, dancing, wine tasting, tea sampling, long Skype calls with family and traveling. The countries she has visited include France, Italy, Netherlands and Uganda.
Deborah A. Maske
Deborah is the Graduate Student Assistant at International House. She is a native of Smithfield Virginia, now living in Durham, NC. She has two beautiful and talented children, Chelsea (22) and Xavier (16). Deborah is a 1993 North Carolina Central University graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Communications. In 2003, she received her Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix. She served as the Wells Fargo Accelerated Management Program site leader for Raleigh NC and led Wells Fargo's Home Mortgage Foreclosure and Document Execution division before leaving to focus entirely on her studies in the ministry of reconciliation, healing, and Christian Education. She is now a second-year Duke Divinity School student pursuing a Master’s in Divinity.
Deborah advocates in the corporate arena by providing survival tools to make a team(s) or an individual(s) the most successful within their career choice and path. She believes corporate leadership must be willing to provide all the tools and coaching needed for a healthy work environment as well as creating a desire and motivation for all team members to deliver excellence in meeting corporate, professional and personal goals. Deborah challenges each client to take advantage of the information and tools provided for their personal and vocational growth. The most underdeveloped areas of professional growth include emotional intelligence; corporate culture, and diversity; valuing of individuals, difficult conversations development and communicating through organizational culture changes. These are the areas of focus that she directs her energies in developing successful teams.
She has 22 years of experience in customer service—including 21 years of practicing and executing different trainings for corporate and private leaders and their teams.
For fun, she enjoys poetry, dancing and relaxing with friends.
As part of her Spiritual development, Deborah served as one of the adult learners--Sunday school teacher at Monument of Faith Church in Durham.
She devotes her current community focus by lending her talent to StandUp SpeakOut in Durham NC, an organization that aids women and children that have experienced or witnessed domestic violence, learn to use the arts a method of healing.