CU students and affiliates, as well as local residents, gathered at the UMC Saturday night to experience the culture and cuisine of 25 international countries and regions in an event run by CU’s Cultural Events Board.
Students representing 25 countries and regions all over the world ran the booths lining the Glen Miller Ballroom. Students served traditional cuisine specific to each culture while also exchanging their knowledge of culture and values with attendees.
Awet Yohannes, a 21-year-old integrative physiology major, said he served jollof rice, a West African dish of rice, tomato, and spices, at the African Students Association booth.
Yohannes said that being able to share his eastern African heritage is what motivates him to participate in the International Festival.
“My family is from Eritrea and Ethiopia on the east coast of Africa,” said Yoahnnes. “I’m proud of my heritage and I like to educate people so that they get to know all the good things about it.”
Aside from cuisine, entertainment was provided in the form of music and dance.
Some of the entertainment was dance performances by the African Students Association and the Ensemble bulgarche, traditional music and dance from Bulgaria.
The booths engaged guests through a multitude of interactive activities.
The students representing Saudi Arabia provided guests with the opportunity to try on the traditional male headdress and garb.
Attendees were also able to receive henna from the Pakistani booth for free.
Ray Phillips, a CU affiliate and local resident, said that it’s the combination of cultural interaction and great food that keeps him coming back to the International Festival every year.
“I’ve been attending this festival almost every year that it’s been going on,” Phillips said. “Basically, I just love it; the food and the entertainment.”
Kayla Thompson, a 20-year-old junior Spanish major, said that she volunteers for the International Festival to support the exchange of cultures.
“I volunteer for this event because I have a lot of friends that are from other places and I like to support culture awareness in general,” Thompson said.
She said that events like the International Festival provide the opportunity to unite the multitude of cultures present at CU.
“It’s like having a little bit of the whole world in the same room at one time,” Thompson said. “You get to have a taste of every culture.”
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Nora Keating at Nora.firstname.lastname@example.org.