Intercultural Night to display cultural diversity

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On Friday, Jan. 27, members of SVSU’s diverse international student body will demonstrate their talents at the 16th annual Intercultural Night.

The event brings together international students who create a performance specific to their nation, which includes music, dancing, skits and traditional garbs.

While Intercultural Night has changed little from previous years, International Student Adviser Pat Shelley said the only major difference in 2017 is the date of the event.

“The main new thing is that the program will be much earlier in the semester than it has been in the past,” he said. “Since the date is Friday, Jan. 27, we have less than three weeks.”

Shelley said the International Student Club (ISC) began organizing and recruiting acts for the event in December, and they still expect 12 more countries to participate.

Participating countries include: Azerbaijan, China, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Japan, Korea, the U.S., India, Tunisia and Algeria, Russia, Indonesia and Costa Rica.

“The country of Pakistan will be represented by students who arrived only last week for their first and only semester at SVSU, but they seem enthusiastic about having a dance in the program,” Shelley said.

The ISC aims to provide students with different backgrounds a chance to experience American culture while promoting understanding and education.

Coordinator of Intercultural Night Rubaiath Hossain Sharthok said the ISC organizes two big events every year.

“In the fall, we organize the International Food Feast at the Marketplace, where students from different countries cook their traditional food for the SVSU community,” he said. “In the winter, we organize Intercultural Night. Intercultural Night is the event where students from different countries represent their culture to the SVSU community through songs, dances, presentation and different acts.”

Sharthok said they are expecting students from over 14 countries and contributions from on-campus organizations and companies.

He also said Intercultural Night brings diversity to campus and helps the SVSU community better understand different countries and cultures.

“It also helps people understand the core values of different cultures, like how people in different countries dress, how they celebrate and their food,” he said. “It also helps people overcome stereotypes.”

Similarly, Shelley said international students want to show their fellow classmates what their countries have to offer in the way of culture and artistic expression.

“This event is important to our international students because they want to use their talents to give something to the university which showcases their countries and cultures,” Shelley said.

Furthermore, he said Intercultural Night’s significance lies in what can be gleaned from each act and performance.

“It is also important to the students and staff of our university to have the opportunity to broaden their horizons and understanding of the world by meeting students from all over the globe and enjoying the unique variety of talent that is displayed at Intercultural Night,” Shelley said.

The event is free to students, faculty and the public, and tickets are available at the Office of International Programs and Advanced Studies (OIAS) on the second floor of Wickes Hall.