Nov 132005
Authors: Julie Abiecunas

The Lory Student Center was alive with music, food and dance Saturday night at the 52nd annual International Fest World Unity Fair.

The event featured an array of cultural booths including Japanese, Islamic, Pakistani and Turkish. At the booths, students and community members had the opportunity to chat with volunteers about the culture, sample food and often buy items from the culture's region. Many attended the event in order to gain a better understanding for a particular culture.

"Coming here tonight has allowed me to continue to learn more about the different problems in the world between certain groups such as Israel and Pakistan and even the Taiwanese and the Chinese," said CSU alumna Christy Ritter.

Some of the dinning choices offered included traditional Thai tea, the Indian dish "gulab jamun" (consisting of sweet dough balls with sugar and syrup) and the Greek dessert baklava (a flaky pastry layered with nuts and honey). Many of the booths sold out of the foods.

Along with the opportunity to sample food and purchase cultural items, some booths offered their own activities, such as the Jewish group, Hillel, which offered to write anyone's name in Hebrew. Jessica Axelrad, sophomore environmental health major and member of Hillel, enjoyed the opportunity to inform community members about her personal experiences in Israel and what the country is about.

"I would want to tell people what it is, there have been lots of conflicts there….what the history is and that there's always both sides to the story," Axelrad said.

Senior economics major Akihiro Nakazato, who volunteered in the Japanese booth, said the one thing he wants people to understand about his culture is the "Japanese Spirit." Nakazato is in his third year of volunteering at the festival.

Along with different cultures having the opportunity to educate others through their booths, a festival dance show was presented at the end of the evening. One such put on by the Japanese Student Association included the presentation of a traditional poem with members dressed in brightly colored kimonos using chants and, at one point even rap to present their poem.

Recognition was given to 15-year volunteers, Bob and Nancy Sturtevant for their work with the International Programs office, the two were fondly called "mom and dad" by several participants in the program.

Upcoming international fest events include a Spanish film night Tuesday and a U.N. World Aids Candlelight vigil Dec. 1.


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