CUA Celebrates Cultural Diversity With International Week Events

Students gather in the Pryzbyla Great Rooms to celebrate International Week with cultural food and presentations.
Students gather in the Pryzbyla Great Rooms to celebrate International Week with cultural food and presentations.

By Duane Paul Murphy

The Catholic University of America’s Center for Global Education, Office of Admissions, and Office of Campus Activities sponsored Global Fest and Embassy Row as part of the university’s International Week, on Thursday, February 18th.

The event celebrated multicultural diversity and was organized by several international student organizations on campus, scholars, and invited foreign nationals. The event was held in the Great Rooms of the Edward J. Pryzbyla Center. More than 170 students attended this culturally driven event.

Most of the invited embassy guests were from various nations such as Burkina Faso, Taiwan, Spain, Iraq, the Dominican Republic, Poland, and Malta. The Spanish Club, Student Organization for Latinos, the Arabic Club, and the Saudi Student Alliance were among the many student organizations present and participating at the event.

From Latin America to the Middle East, the event was filled with edible cuisines and displays of culture and traditions. The representatives from the Central Asian nation of Tajikistan not only presented brochures about the country, but also clothing and semi-precious stones. Tajikistan has one of the most abundant natural metal materials in the world including semi-precious stones and rare earth elements.

“The ambassadors at the Tajikistan table were very enthusiastic about their country and proud to show me various artifacts and share facts about their country,” said freshman Media Studies major Michelle Erin Minjarez. “They gave me a traditional robe and handed me artifacts so that they could take pictures of me. Extremely friendly people, great experience over all.”

The Honduras booth served a dish that consisted of a thick flour tortilla, sour cream, and beans called a “baleada.” Its neighboring booth, representing the Caribbean nation of the Bahamas, was offering a shellfish appetizer known as conch fritters. The Arabic Club offered coffee from Lebanon that is grown from a Brazilian coffee plant and the Saudi Student Alliance offered falafels and coffee that inhabitants of the Arab Gulf states consume from Ethiopia and Yemen.

Not only food and flags were on public display, but also offerings in study abroad programs including a Persian language program at the University of Isfahan in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The representatives from Iran also offered graduate studies at Shiraz University’s International Division.

Many students who attended the event were satisfied with their emersion into such multicultural diversity from the representatives, however, the food was the most popular part of the event.

“It’s a great experience to learn about all these different cultures,” said freshman Mary Kate Walsh. “There’s good food and so many cool people you get to meet and opportunities that you can make of meeting these new people.”

“I really enjoy the food, obviously,” said Chris Gleason, a freshman Musical Theater major. “I love being immersed in the different cultures and there’s so many different cool countries here and the walnut cakes are great.”

The last event for International Week is a lecture by a visiting professor on Israeli-Palestinian Conflict on Friday, February 18th, in McMahon Hall, room112.

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