WorldFest 2015 Celebrates Global Diversity, Multiculturalism at UConn

By Reid DiRenzo & Jennifer Jaramillo

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The Polish Cultural Society stood out among the crowd in their traditional Polish attire. (Photo by Santiago Pelaez)

Students, families and local community members gathered at the University of Connecticut on Sunday to experience the diverse cultural organizations offered on campus. Many students and members were adorned in traditional cultural attire, and booths were lined up all around Rome Ballroom to highlight different artifacts, history and food.

Many participants in WorldFest expressed the importance of both learning about various cultures and reaching an understanding between other groups.

“We are all human from different parts of the world. We are wearing different clothes, but a majority of people all around the world have the same way of thinking they are kind and they want peace.”

That’s President of the Iranian Cultural Organization at UConn Reza Amin, a Ph.D. student who came to the U.S. in 2013. He says the group wanted to participate in WorldFest this year to counter the negative light in which he thinks Iranian culture is often portrayed.

“Since I came here I realized that people that many people don’t realize where Iran is geographically located, how the people look like, how the music sounds, how people write for example.”

The Bangladeshi Student Association was also featured at WorldFest and members performed a traditional Bengali song.

“We are you know very prideful in our own culture but we also really want to know about other cultural organization and respect other cultural organizations in the way that other respect us and I think that mutual respect is really important.”

That’s Rubayet Lasker, a member of the Bangladeshi Student Association at UConn, who was stationed at the organization’s booth to provide guests with information about show artifacts. Here’s Fariha Rashid, also from the Bangladeshi Student Association.

“It is a way to showcase my culture because you can see what I am when you look at me you don’t know what it means or where I come from. All these artifacts are things from my living room that my parents collect, things are really significant to me and it is important to share with the student community.”

Bangladeshi Student Association Member Shanjida Jui said "We are performing a Bengali song 'Modhu Maloti.'" (Photo By: Santiago Pelaez) Many other organizations put together a performance showcasing traditional dances, music and chants.

Bangladeshi Student Association member Shanjida Jui said the group performed a Bengali song ‘Modhu Maloti.’ (Photo  by Santiago Pelaez)

Sounds of traditional culture filled the air from the drum beats and chants from UConn Taiko. UConn Taiko President Timothy Siu says Taiko is a traditional form of Japanese drumming modernized for performances.

Representatives from Education Abroad were also in attendance to give interested students information on the different opportunities UConn offers to study abroad. One representative was UConn senior Franklin Bravo who studied abroad in London.

“Having lived in Europe for three in a half months and being Ecuadorian and having that different side of me it a good way to spread my enthusiasm for traveling diversity to other students and expand my own knowledge about the diversity on this campus.”

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