WMU News

International Festival gives area residents broader world view

March 8, 2004

KALAMAZOO--Kalamazoo-area residents don't have to leave town to broaden their world view, thanks to Western Michigan University's 15th annual International Festival.

The event spotlights more than 20 countries on five continents and this year, will take place from 4 to 8 p.m. Sunday, March 21, in the East Ballroom of the Bernhard Center.

Many of WMU's international students will dress in traditional costumes and be on hand to provide entertainment and serve ethnic dishes, drinks and desserts. Admission is free and food will be sold for a nominal fee.

"WMU plays host to more than 2,100 international students from 110 countries," says Jin Abe, admissions/program coordinator in the University's Office of International Student and Scholar Services. "Our International Festival is a huge global open house that allows area residents to 'travel' around the world in a single evening while gaining an appreciation for the diversity of cultures we have right here in Kalamazoo."

Participating students start planning the event months ahead of time, and many will be up early on Saturday to help prepare their country's cuisine for hundreds of eager tasters and set up cultural displays. Scores of students also perform and stage a fashion show during the festival.

Among the international student groups participating this year will be the Latino Student Alliance; Brazilian, Russian and Japan clubs; and African, Arab, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, Indian, Israel, Lebanese, Malaysian, Muslim, Pakistan, Taiwanese, Turkish and Vietnamese associations.

International Festival 2004 is being organized by WMU's International Programs Council and the Campus Activities Board with funds from the Student Assessment Fee. Sponsors include the Office of International Student Services, Student Activities and Leadership Programs, the Division of Student Affairs, the Cultural Events Committee, the Graduate Student Advisory Committee, and the Western Student Association.

More information is available online at <www.ipc.wmich.edu/if> and by contacting Suraj Belani at (269) 387-5872 or <surajwmu@yahoo.com> or Kristen Betser at (269) 387-2115 or <kristen.betser@wmich.edu>.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, 269 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

WMU News
Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
269 387-8400