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Del Mar International:
Who should Del Mar be?
Art Olsen | Avenida Primavera


2006 outside Americana Cafe. from left to right: Charlotte Gumbrel (who hosted the scholar in DM); Prof. Opa Vajragupta (scholar’s Ph.D. advisor, visiting from Thailand with her mother (standing next); Maleeruk Utsintong, the visiting student; Shirley King and Art Olson. Photo courtesy Art Olson.


While some may ask who lives in Del Mar, and why, it may be more productive to ask who could live in Del Mar, and why not. Clearly the current price of a home in Del Mar makes it unaffordable for most. This fact alone excludes numerous individuals that could enrich our Community in a number of positive ways. Case in point is the large number of foreign scholars who study and work in our nearby academic and research institutions on the Torrey Pines Mesa. Typically they come to learn and do research for a period of one to three years as graduate students, postdoctoral fellows or sabbatical visitors. At The Scripps Research Institute, for example, over 75% of the 800 or so postdoctoral fellows and visiting scientists are foreign nationals. Many seek affordable housing with easy access and public transportation to their institution on the mesa.

These long-term visitors to our shores represent the best of their countries’ intellectual and cultural resources. They are focused on their research and study, but appreciate the opportunity to learn more about the U.S. and experience the local environment. Because of the shared housing program that has been run by Del Mar Community Connections, a number of such foreign scholars arriving in my own laboratory have had the opportunity to live in and experience Del Mar’s charms and hospitality. These arrangements have provided not only an opportunity for inexpensive housing for the researchers, but also in many cases additional security and help for those providing housing. Many of those Del Marians who have shared their homes with these scholars have enriched and broadened their own lives by forming new and long lasting relationships with these visitors. Importantly, our small city has become known and appreciated around the world by those who eventually become scientific and intellectual leaders in their own country. It may be that through these types of experiences and relationships that Del Mar could become the “Scientific Davos on the Pacific” that Sam Borgese and others dream about.

If you are interested in bringing more of these foreign scholars to Del Mar, please consider sharing your house with them. Each of our neighboring research institutes has an international office that handles the visas and paperwork that allow non-US students and scientists to come and work in our country. They also guide them to local resources, such as housing. Either independently or through DMCC we should be building more bridges to Del Mar for these foreign scholars. It will make Del Mar an even better place. For info please contact Heather Glenn at (858) 792-7565 or email her at heather@dmcc.cc


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