Whitworth celebrates multiculturalism

by Chris Reichert| Staff Writer 

Tonight the International Club is hosting its 32nd annual International Festival to wrap up a week dedicated to celebrating multiculturalism on campus, which included last Sunday’s Top Chef Competition, featuring foods from various cultures, and a separately hosted international forum on Thursday.

The festival begins at 5 p.m. in the dining hall with an hour of Japanese Taiko drums, which will be followed in the MPR at 7 p.m. by a flag procession representing 24 different countries, a fashion show and a talent contest featuring music, dance, poetry and more.

“The international festival is bringing all these different cultures together to share…to show it off to the community,”  said sophomore Deedee Kagawa-Burke, cultural diversity advocate for Warren Hall.

These exhibitions also take on an educational aspect. The fashion show will feature traditional clothing from the represented cultures, with explanations on the origins and history behind some of the garments.

“You see the diversity in one night…it’s really cool to learn from them about their country. For me, that’s the best part – you are having fun, but at the same time, you are learning,” sophomore Roland Baez said.

Baez is not there only to learn, but to also participate in the talent show for a second year, dancing to two separate songs and carrying the Paraguayan flag in the procession.

“I am really excited because I really like dancing,” Baez said. Last year, I really wanted to show a little bit more about our culture in Latin America by showing off a dance, but I just couldn’t do it last year. This year I am able to do that, to show more about our culture.”

He encouraged as many students to attend as possible saying, “It’s going to be super fun!”

The international festival is not the only time students can interact with and learn more about the many cultures represented at Whitworth, as the International Club is open to all students. The Intercultural Student Center in Hendricks Hall often offers a place for both international and local students to meet.

“You’ll always find someone from a different background…Every day is international day in here,” said junior Mutsa Chiromo, president of the International Club.

Chiromo believes the International Festival is something special, she said.

“It’s only once a year when you get to see over 40 countries represented in one and a half hours, and so I would encourage everyone and anyone who wants to know more about what’s happening in the world and about culture to definitely be there,” Chiromo said.