Thursday March 16, 2017

International Festival 2017

The time is here for International Festival!  Sponsored by the Center for International Programs (CIP), International Festival is a celebration of sharing food, performances, and cultures from around the world. The CIP plans to make this festival dynamically different this year, blending old and new traditions for a spectacular program.

“This event is a chance for students to share their culture in an artistic way with the rest of the university,” states Emily Grasso, an International Student Advisor and one of the International Festival coordinators. “We really try to empower the students to take ownership of how they will creatively share their culture; either through performing on stage, setting up a table, and/or walking in the fashion show.”

One of this year's performers is Romaisha Rahman, a first-year graduate student, who will represent her Bangladeshi culture by dancing to a folklore drama, referred to as Jatra. Romaisha explained the Bangladeshi student organization is very small with only 10-12 students. She expressed performing in events, like the International Festival, can help increase recognition on campus and help to grow their organization. Romaisha also shared that the International Festival “gives the Bangladeshi students a chance to connect in with each other.”

Another participant is Abdulaziz Aljuwaeed ’18, who is part of the Kuwaiti organization, who will be sharing their culture through an interactive table. The students are organizing their table to demonstrate interesting facts about their country, as well as continuing their annual ‘have your name written in Arabic’ activity. Abdulaziz believes that a student-led event, such as the International Festival, “allows the students to show their creativity, management skills and leadership. This will sure help them in their workplace in the future.”

Since the conception of the festival, it has been considered one of the bigger event that the CIP hosts in terms of size, but also in how involved the students are each year. The festival has generally had around 400 attendees. In past years, students could showcase foods from their culture at their tables. This year, due to the facility, students are unable to bring food so we decided to revamp the food offerings for the festival. Emily shares, “it will have a sort of a Bazaar feel. (The festival) will be regionally organized so that people can explore the different areas of the world represented. For example, the Latin American region will include the Latin American tables and food. It is going to be really neat this year.” Other regions will include Rwanda, Panama, Saudi Arabia, India, Germany and many more.

The festival will be extending an invitation to groups outside of UD to perform this year, such as the Dayton Association of Chinese Americans and the a dance group from the Philippines-American Society of Greater Dayton. The university’s all-male acapella group, Audio Pilots, will be pitching their perfect tunes at the festival as well. There will also be a ‘creative surprise’ during the festival.  

The International Festival is on Saturday, March 18, from 5:30-8:00pm in the RecPlex. U.S. and international students, faculty, and staff are invited, as well as their families and friends. There will be lots of family friendly activities like balloon artists, face paintings, henna stations, and caricature artists. Admission is free and meal tickets can be purchased for $5 to try the international cuisines from all regions in the bazaar. And in tradition, proceeds from the International Festival will be donated a charity in the area. This year, donations will be given to Catholic Social Services, a refugee resettlement program.

For more information visit udayton.edu/international/connect/programs/festivals.php

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