Pearl S. Buck Conference and Event Center

Pearl S. Buck Institute is building a new Conference and Event Center in its Welcome Center. 

HILLTOWN — A planned new Conference and Event Center at Pearl S. Buck International will give more room for PSBI programs, as well as being available to be rented for weddings, corporate meetings, conferences or other events. 

The Conference and Event Center will be in the existing Welcome Center, PSBI said in a September release announcing that groundbreaking had taken place. 

The 5,500-square-foot center, which will have an estimated capacity of 200 people, is being made by converting what was office space, Chief Financial and Operations Officer Jill Reeder wrote in answer to emailed questions for this article.

The Conference and Event Center, which has a $730,000 construction cost, is expected to be completed in February and be available for rental no later than March 1, she wrote.

The new meeting space, available year-round, will add to the other existing event options, she wrote. 

The Estate Pavilion tent site, operated at PSBI by Jaimie Hollander Catering and Events, is available May through October and is primarily used for weddings and PSBI fundraising events, she wrote. The Cultural Center, primarily used for banquets and events, has a capacity of about 60 persons.

After being closed for almost five months because of the coronavirus pandemic, Pearl S. Buck International buildings, including the Pearl S. Buck House National Historic Landmark, International Gift Shop, Cultural Center, Awards Room, and Welcome Center reopened Aug. 3, information on the pearlsbuck.org website said. After being informed Oct. 5 that an office staff member tested positive for COVID-19, the campus was again closed and scheduled to reopen Monday, Oct. 19, another announcement said.

"Pearl S. Buck — author, activist, and humanitarian — first became committed to bridging cultures and changing lives after experiencing discrimination as a child with blonde hair and blue eyes in China and then witnessing with disbelief discrimination against minorities in America. These experiences inspired her passionate commitment to civil rights and social justice," the release about the new Conference and Event Center said.

"Today, over 100,000 children and community members facing discrimination are impacted annually through programs that provide them with education and medical care," the release continued. "In addition, through engaging tours of the Pearl S. Buck House National Historic Landmark and public programs, visitors are inspired to take action and make a difference in the lives of those in need."

The release says the Conference and Event Center will be:

• A place where people of different experiences, cultures, and beliefs can gather in critical conversations to engage each other in innovative ways.

• A place where educators, students, law enforcement, business people and every day Americans and visitors from around the world can take a respite from their hectic lives in the beautiful setting of the Pearl Buck estate.

• A place where visitors can be inspired and renewed so they can reengage their communities with an even wider perspective of humanity.

Pearl S. Buck International programs that will be using the Conference and Event Center will include the Welcome Workplace cross-cultural diversity and inclusion training and the High School Global Leadership Program, the release said. 

Information is available at pearlsbuck.org or by calling 215-249-0100. 

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