An expression of culture and diversity

Friday, Nov. 20 the International Cultures Club (ICC) will host its largest annual event, the International Festival. The event will take place in Alumni Hall from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Student groups, as well as members of the faculty, will exhibit informative cultural displays and take part in music and dance performances, followed by a fashion show. Some groups will also be offering food samples from their respective cultures. All of the activities will be focused on presenting the unique aspects of international cultures and giving students a chance to experience them.

The event will begin with students touring the cultural displays and food samples for the first hour. The scheduled displays will include France, Korea, Lebanon, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Malawi, Singapore, China, Vietnam, Tibet, Guatemala, Russia, Germany, Japan, Sri Lanka and Sweden. Those scheduled to provide food samples are Japan, China, Vietnam and Tibet.

The second hour of the event will be dedicated to music and dance performances. These will include a Korean hip-hop set performed by the Asian Cultures Club and two performances by Gustavus professors. Professor of French and Latin American, Latino and Caribbean Studies Paschal Kyoore and Professor of French Laurent Dechery will both perform French songs. The conclusion of the event will be the fashion show, beginning near 8:00 p.m. This will feature participants from various groups showing traditional or modern garments of their culture.

This event is sponsored by the ICC, which is made up of both international and American students. The participants of the International Festival will similarly be made up of international and American students.

The students will either representing their own culture or a culture they have experienced through study abroad or otherwise.

This is the biggest event the ICC sponsors each academic year; previous years have seen attendance in the 400-500 range, including students, faculty and community members. International student clubs from Minnesota State University-Mankato and other universities in the metro area are also invited. “This is probably one of the most popular events on campus,” ICC Co-President and Senior Political Science Major Joel Herrick said.

“People who have attended the [International Festival] enjoyed it for various reasons,” International Student Services Director Jeff Anderson said. The ICC’s goal for the event is to promote international awareness and appreciation of cultures. “[The] International Festival is a chance do this in a fun way,” Anderson said.

“The event is primarily educational, but in the sense that it’s all these amazing cultures, it’s a lot of fun. The performances are not  something you’ll see somewhere else on campus,” Herrick said.