Park embraces international diversity at annual event

3 Dec

Janek Sunga at the International Fashion Show during International Education Week. Photo credit/Babu Batchuluun

Over a cacophony of whoops and cheers bouncing off the high dome walls, in front of a rainbow swirl of international flags proudly waved by international students, senate president Jordan E. Korell addressed the crowd packed in Breckon Sport Center on Nov. 19.

“These are just a portion of the countries represented here at Park University,” said Korell. “We are a community of nations… And while we are all from different places on Earth, I am proud to call everyone here my friend.”

With a cheer that seemed to raise the roof, the International Festival began.

The International Festival and Bazaar was sponsored by International Student Services, Park Student Government Association, World Student Union, and the Ethnic Enrichment Commission, as the finale to International Education Week. It’s an annual event showcasing the cultures and traditions of students hailing from over 100 different countries.

“This is the best event of the year,” said Kate Davies, senior majoring in Spanish. “It really epitomizes all that Park is.”

The Festival followed several hours of performances during the annual International Dinner. Students crowed around tabled to sample authentic foods cooked by local restaurants and Sodexo. They ooh’d over hummus from Café Cedar and ahh’d over tamales from Agave Grill. Some students tried their first Grecian baklava and Indian chicken tikka, while others stocked up on their long-time favorites.

During the dinner, students and community members bid on pieces in Revive’s Empathy Week art auction, benefiting victims of sex trafficking.

The Festival showcased music and dancing from many different countries represented at Park, from American clogging to Arabic belly dancing to Chinese opera.

“I think American clogging really represents the melting pot of our country,” said Mindy Reynolds, sophomore in public relations.

Many of the arts were performed by natives of the originating country, but some were group efforts combining students from as many as six different countries.

“These performances are such a great glimpse of other cultures,” said Kirby Appollis, freshman in legal studies and psychology. “I love the embrace of diversity… I really want to take part in it next year.”

Published in The Stylus Newspaper, 3 December 2010

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