International Festival returns with food, music, dance from around the world

11th March 2016

By Steven Krolak (NEW ALBANY, Ind.)—It is now possible to take a trip around the world, without leaving campus.

The IU Southeast International Festival will be held on Tues., March 15, from 5–8 p.m. in the Hoosier Room of University Center North, offering students, faculty, staff and the wider local community an opportunity to sample cultural diversity right here in New Albany. Admission is free.

Music, dance and food representing cultures from around the world will be featured.

At this time, the winners of the 2015 International Photography Contest will be recognized and awarded their prizes. They are Chelsea Markuson, Adelene Sublett and Halim Chambers.

In addition, the 2016 International Education Award will be presented to David Winship Taylor, professor of biology and an instructor in the IU Southeast field biology program, whose achievements on behalf of international education include leading numerous field biology trips with students to Africa, South America, the Caribbean and other locales.

Now in its 17th year, the International Festival was initiated by Jean Abshire, associate professor of political science, to literally bring the world to IU Southeast. It has grown through the support of university administration to become a fixture on the campus calendar. This year’s performers include Appalatin (Latin-infused roots music), salsa dancers Deysi and Josh Surowski, the Louisville Lions dance team (traditional Vietnamese dance), River City Drum Corps (African rhythm), Indian dancer Mehru Hassan (Bollywwod dance) and the Louisville Ethnic Dancers (international folk dancing).

Food offerings range from sushi and falafels to Swedish meatballs with mashed potatoes and lingonberry jam. Meal tickets are $5 for students, $8 for nonstudents.

“The festival is intended to increase awareness of global diversity across the IU Southeast campus for those who cannot necessarily immerse themselves in another culture through travel,” said Lucinda Woodward, associate professor of psychology and international studies and co-director of international programs.

Community awareness of the event has spread over the years, according to Woodward, who noted that schools, clubs and other outside groups wish to attend as part of a multicultural curriculum, while international groups now based in the community want to participate in order to make connections at the university and other global organizations.

“For students, this is a fun and affordable opportunity to try new foods and make connections with others here on campus and in the community who share a passion for diversity,” Woodward said.

Homepage photo courtesy of River City Drum Corps.

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