RWU Global Fest showcases international cultures on campus

Anya Dussault, News Manager

A variety of cultures from around the world were on display as the Intercultural Center and the Office of Intercultural Student Life presented he 11th annual Global Fest on Wednesday, March 29.

Every year, volunteers set up and host tables that represent as many countries as possible. The event also featured a global fashion show, several student performances, and a green screen photo booth that depicted students in locations all over the world.

In accordance with “A Quest for Refuge,” the year-long series currently being presented by RWU, the Intercultural Center is collecting clothing donations for Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island.

When senior Sean Carroll attended Global Fest his freshman year, he came across a table hosted by a student who had studied abroad in Scotland. The student shared some traditional Scottish dishes, including Haggis, and told him more about Scottish culture.

“I’m Scottish and I got to try Haggis for the first time,” Carroll said. “It was that that really got me hooked on Global Fest, and then I started going every year since then.” This year, Carroll worked alongside Cassidy Hammond, assistant director of international student life, to plan much of Global Fest.

The tables are all hosted by individuals in the Roger Williams University community who have a connection to the country they are representing.

“There are some people who are from the US, but they’re 50 percent Irish, so they’ll help out with Ireland’s table,” Carroll said. “It’s kind of the American way of doing things: well, I’m part this, so I can help with this table. It’s not strictly people from one country, but also people who identify with that country.”

Sophomore Jasmin Guerrero hosted Mexico’s table and finds her roots in her Mexican heritage, as both of her parents were native-born Mexicans.

“My favorite part of Global Fest has to be learning about other countries, because I don’t know a lot of their traditions, so it’s really cool to see what other people are doing,” Guerrero said.

Many of the event’s attendees and student planners shared Guerrero’s sentiment.

“Sharing [your own] culture and knowing about different cultures is so important, and you can learn more about people through it,” said junior Aseel Saeed.

Nemes-Le Creff Stephane and Emilie Le Mézo, two exchange students from France, hosted the table representing France.

“I think it’s very interesting to see a lot of different countries and to discover what things are in the country, and what they eat,” Le Mézo said. Both students are studying at Roger Williams University for the semester and were excited for the chance to show some pictures from their home country.

Many students would agree that no event is complete without food, and Global Fest is no exception. Many tables, including Saudi Arabia and Myanmar, were sharing various teas that are part of their culture. There were also tables in the center of the field house with traditional dishes made by Bon Appetit.

The Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, and Myanmar were just a handful of the countries represented at the event. Saudi Arabia’s table displayed an instrument called an “Oud.” Myanmar’s table created a PowerPoint with important facts about the country’s religious diversity, beauty ideals within their culture, and famous landmarks, among other pieces of information.

As students exit the event, they must walk through a tent set up to mirror what a real refugee tent looks like in an effort to allow students to see what life is like for those living in refugee camps.

“People can walk through it to get a little bit more of a feel for what’s going on in the world,” Hammond said. “It’s kind of a metaphor that all of these great things are happening around us, but we’re not focusing on something that’s also very important.”