PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – International House Philadelphia, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary as a safe haven for international students and scholars, is having a gala celebration on Friday.

The idea for International House began in 1908, when members of a Christian organization ran into two Chinese students on the Penn campus and found out that they were the first people to speak to the students.  A century later, International House Philadelphia houses 1200 students and scholars who speak 25 languages and hail from 95 countries.

Martha Buccino, Vice President for Institutional Advancement, says Friday’s black tie gala will be held in its award-winning iconic building at 3701 Chestnut Street which was designed to promote interaction.

“It has common lounges. Everything provides the opportunity so people can’t help but bump into each other and chat.”

Hear Karin Phillips’ interview with Martha Buccino in this CBS Philly Specials Place podcast…

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Reported by Karin Phillips, KYW Newsradio