International Festival celebrates culture and community – MSU Reporter

This year’s Mankato Area International Festival drew hundreds of people as they celebrated international cultures at Minnesota State University in Mankato on Sunday.

Food, fashion, and performance were showcased during the festival, along with a photo contest, quizzes, and cultural booths set up all around the Centennial Student Union.

With MNSU having a large representation of international students on campus from approximately 96 different countries, the festival was rich in culture.

“We need to celebrate our differences because that’s what makes us special, that’s what makes our community special,” said MNSU President Edward Inch. “It’s a real opportunity to understand, appreciate, celebrate and appreciate those differences that make our campus such an incredibly special place.”

International students at MNSU were able to express their culture and prepare some of their traditional dishes and culinary dresses.

Dishes, drinks and desserts from India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and more were prepared for the event which lined Mav Avenue.

“It’s the first time that I discover and meet so many different cultures since it’s the first time that I leave my country,” said ShizraTariq, a first-year exchange student at MNSU from Pakistan. “I think everyone should learn about different cultures because even things like weddings are different here. It’s not just the countries that are showcased, it’s also their culture that’s celebrated and how they do things.

During the festival, the fashion show in the CSU Ballroom featured traditional clothing from around the world. The countries that marched on the track were Senegal, Nepal and Japan.

Gloria Lee, an MNSU senior who represented South Korea, took to the track.

“I wanted to show off my traditional dress because some people maybe don’t know much about the south, especially traditional dress, so I wanted to share that part of my culture.”

During the event, prizes were also given to those who were brave enough to guess flags representing different countries.

Representing the northern part of Ethiopia, second year Makda Gebre performed and shared a traditional dance from her culture.

“I can’t wait to have fun and let people know what kind of culture we have and show off the traditional moves,” she said.

Majd Alharbi, Maverick Global Ambassador at MNSU, spoke about what today meant to her.

“It is a day when we all unite together. A day when it will not just be my culture, but an international day when I will be heard and other cultures will be heard,” Alharbi said.

Usually taking place in the spring, the festival has been unable to hold this event for the past two years due to COVID-19. This year’s festival was organized by the Kearney Center, the Centennial Student Union, students and community members.

Darcy J. Skinner