Nov 142010
Authors: Courtney Riley

Wearing a red skirt adorned with bells, Jose Gomez danced a traditional Matachines from his hometown Durango in northern Mexico.

He was representing the student organization La Raza in front of its booth displaying authentic Mexican sombreros, instruments and crafts at the 57th annual World Unity Fair Saturday in the Lory Student Center.

The freshman undeclared major grew up in Mexico and used to do the Matachines dance, which is Spanish for the areas’ native people, when he was younger. He said he enjoys being able to share his culture because it helps him communicate better with his fellow students.

The East Ballroom was filled with booths ran by student organizations representing different countries around the world, including Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Mexico, Germany and many others.

Many of the booths displayed unique artifacts and pictures from that particular country.

Ahmed Alesa, a senior business management major and treasurer of the Saudi Student House came to CSU from Saudi Arabia on the King Abdullah scholarship, which provides financial means for qualified Saudi youth to attend universities worldwide. The Saudi Student House’s booth had a traditional tent set up next to it where visitors could go inside and sit on cushions.

Most people living in Saudi Arabia do not choose this form of housing, but Alesa said a small number of people, even billionaires, will choose to live outside the city in traditional tents without electricity.

Visitors could also try on traditional Saudi clothes and have their names written in Arabic.

Alesa said his culture is very similar to that of Kuwait, which also had a booth.

“We might as well just be one big booth because our cultures are almost the same and we’re all friends,” he said.

Charlie Vest, a senior international studies major and president of the Chinese club, studied abroad in Beijing last year. The Chinese booth also wrote people’s names in Chinese and displayed traditional garments.

“My favorite thing about the Chinese culture is that it is always changing,” he said. “Beijing is a very dynamic place right now in regards to its political environment, and the way people live in the age of globalization.”

He also respects how some aspects of the culture are persistent throughout the years, such as the importance of family and education.

Booths from other countries had crafts for children to make, music videos playing on televisions, books, magazines and jewelry.

Outside the ballroom was the international bazaar, which was a set-up of artifacts from different countries donated by travelers in the Fort Collins community. There was also a silent auction, which included European scarves, a Japanese sword, a purse from Azerbaijan and other foreign objects.

All proceeds went toward the international programs of the Fort Collins International Center.

“I was able to get a different perspective of the world and understand people differently,” Luke Kincaid, a sophomore business major, said.

Staff writer Courtney Riley can be reached at

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