By Maisha Fairuz, ECON '18, Bangladesh
Anyone who has ever entered one of the CEU buildings know the rich diversity of this community, but to actually be introduced the different cultures is a whole other astounding experience. On Saturday, January 28, the CEU Student Union organized the annual Intercultural Festival with representatives from 24 nations involved. Students from each country prepared impressive displays at their respective tables, from travel information to workshops in local traditions and traditional cuisines, and the various representatives in their traditional outfits really portrayed the colorful nature of CEU.
The event was hosted at the Residence Center, where members of the CEU community gathered in the afternoon to start the event. Michael Ignatieff, the CEU Rector and President, opened the Festival with a brief speech reminding us of the importance of diversity at CEU. Stunning performances of traditional songs and dance came next. There were dance performances from Hungary, Azerbaijan, Nepal, India, Pakistan, and more. The Brazilians even had a samba band on stage! More international entertainment came from African fusion and Bollywood dance routines. There were spectacular musical numbers from Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, U.S., Canada, and many more. In all, we got a glimpse at how talented our friends in the CEU community really are.
Throughout the afternoon, some tables hosted workshops. You could experience what it is like to be in a saree by visiting the Indian table or get a henna 'tattoo' at the Pakistani table. And if nothing else, you couldn't help but be tempted by the traditional food which was available at almost every table. There were cuisines to taste from across Asia, South America, Europe, and more.
Diversity is amazing, but it is rarely ever celebrated in style. The Intercultural Festival gave the CEU community an occasion to share our culture and traditions with each other. It was an opportunity to proudly represent one's nation while appreciating all the other cultures present. This is exactly what so many of us look for in an international experience; we have the chance to learn about our peers and understand their traditions. It gave one the feeling of having traveled the world in an afternoon.