Western celebrates cultural diversity during virtual International Festival

Contact: Korey Force

Left to right, students Joseph Yang and Po-Hsien “Johnny” Chen cook Taiwanese beef noodles by a stove.

Left to right, students Joseph Yang and Po-Hsien “Johnny” Chen, both from Taiwan, prepare  Taiwanese beef noodles as part of a video for the virtual International Festival’s food competition.

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—The campus and southwest Michigan community will celebrate Western Michigan University’s cultural diversity during a three-day virtual festival highlighting international food, fashion and entertainment.

The event was canceled last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic but has returned in a virtual format for the 2021 International Festival: Keeping Us Connected from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Friday,  April 7, 8 and 9 on YouTube.

For more than three decades, the International Festival has highlighted cultures from around the world for the southwest Michigan community to experience in just one visit to Western’s campus. While the pandemic still prevents the traditional format of the event, celebrating the significance of global engagement is more important than ever.

“This has been a difficult year for all of us. But one thing it has taught us is that it’s essential that we have the skills to work together with people across cultures and borders to solve complex problems,” says Dr. Paulo Zagalo-Melo, associate provost of the Haenicke Institute for Global Education.

The International Festival will feature video submissions from international and cultural student organizations as well as discussions and showcases of global engagement at Western. Student groups will compete nightly for the best video submission in three categories: food, fashion and fun. Winners will be determined by a panel of judges and nightly, live community voting.

“The theme of this year’s festival is ‘Keeping Us Connected’ and focuses on three topics that are universally important to all of us—what we eat, what we wear and how we have fun,” says Zagalo-Melo.

Tune in and learn more about the International Festival.

For more WMU news, arts and events, visit WMU News online.

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