The 32nd Annual International Festival

Isaak Kifle

Every year, the International Student Association organizes the International Festival alongside the International Student Office. This festival is the club’s largest event, as well as one of the largest events on campus in general. This year, the 32nd Annual International Festival took place on Saturday, April 14, 2012 in the North Campus Gym. After months of preparation and hours of set-up, the gymnasium was transformed into a decorative and colorful area adorned with the flags of over a dozen different countries around the world. Those countries included Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United States (represented by the Graduate Student Council), Uganda, Columbia, India, Iran, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Bahamas, Thailand, Nigeria, and Ecuador. Organizations that assisted with the festival included the Graduate Student Council (GSC), Undergraduate Student Government Association (USGA), Caribbean Student Association (CSA), Black Student Union (BSU), Sigma Chi, and the Hospitality Department.

People began to crowd into North Campus around 4:00 p.m., and had the opportunity to view the displays each country had at their table, including their flag, artwork, facts about the country, and more. Dinner began at 5:15 p.m., and every country served a variety of appetizers, entrees, and desserts. At 6:30 p.m., as everyone was finishing up the food, Karima Jackson, Director of International Services, took the stage to begin the awarding. First, she brought President Kaplan on stage to talk a little on the importance of the festival and international students to the university. Following this, Karima came back on stage with Joshua Low, President of the International Student Association, to present the display and food awards. The display judges this year were Fadia Narchet from the Criminal Justice Department, Karen Ludington from International Admissions, and Lisa Saverese from the Office of Student Activities. The award for most interactive display went to India, the awards for most information display went to Egypt and Uganda, and the best cultural presentation awards went to Nigeria and Saudi Arabia. The food was judged by Charles Vigue from the Biology Department, Deborah Chin from Athletics, and Wanda Tyler from the Office of Intercultural Relations. Best appetizer was given to Iran, best dessert was given to the United States, and best entrée went to India.

After the display and food awards were finished, the floor was given to Lakshmi Venkatanarasimhan and Terance Thomas, the mistress and master of ceremonies, to introduce the evening’s entertainment. First, Egypt performed a belly dancing routine. Ireland, represented by sophomore David Janovsky, followed with an Irish step dancing routine. India was next and performed several different dancing routines of different Indian styles. Nigeria then performed a lively and comical routine set to a popular Nigerian party song. Saudi Arabia performed a few instrumental and vocal compositions on piano and strings, and the final performance of the night was the United States, represented by the Monsoon Dance Crew. For the finale, Karima and Joshua got on stage one last time to announce the entertainment awards. The entertainment judges were Arleen Anderson from the Career Development Center, Alexis Coubrough from Campus Police, and Alex Guzman from the Psychology Department. Egypt and Ireland won for visual appeal. Nigeria and Saudi Arabia won for the most original performances. Last but not least, India took home this year’s award for best in show! As was pointed out throughout the night, not only is the International Festival a great event that everyone who attended enjoyed, but it highlights UNH’s commitment to diversity as well as the perfect platform to showcase what the different groups on campus have to offer. A huge thanks to the International Student Association, International Services Office, and all the organizations and individuals that helped give the campus community another fantastic International Festival!