April 16, 2001
25th Cultural Festival shines on Quad
By Michael Terrazas
Two days after Emory students, faculty and staff tried their hand at ruling the world in the World Issues Workshop (see story above), thousands more convened on the Quad with the more modest goal of simply watchingor tastingjust a piece of it at the 25th annual International Cultural Festival, themed Crossroads of the World, held Saturday, April 7.
More than 40 student groups representing an equal number of countries
fashioned booths to display coffee-table photograph books of their chosen
lands, cultural items and, more often than not, samples of exotic culinary
fare. The booths lined the Quads sidewalk perimeter from the Carlos
Hall to the Callaway Center.
Set up in front of the Administration Building was a stage on which 18
separate performances entertained the crowds from noon until
I am so happy that the weather was perfect just in time,
said Mitzy Attokaren, vice president of the International Association,
of the sunshine and summerlike temperatures the festival enjoyed. The
International Association, a student group, cosponsored and organized
the festival along with International Student & Scholar Programs (ISSP).
A lot of people come to the festival year after year, said
Dawn Williams, international student and scholar advisor for ISSP. Its
a good opportunity for the larger Atlanta community to join in and participate.
We just want to have a respect for everyone sharing cultures.
Williams last wordculturesis very important; festival
organizers prohibited participants from sharing potentially more abrasive
aspects of international life such as political ideologies, any religious
proselytizing or commercial ventures.
We didnt let [the student chapter of] Amnesty International
participate, not because we dont appreciate what they do, but because
were trying to maintain the festival as a cultural event, not a
political one, Williams said. We have to be fair to everyone.
The result was an atmosphere where groups and ethnicities that sometimes
exist in conflict in the larger world could come together to celebrate
their own individuality and distinct flavorsliterally. Festivalgoers
were treated to an array of international foods, from curried chicken
at the Thailand table to chips and salsa at the Mexico table, to baklava
at the Arab countries table and much more.
For the first time this year, organizers asked participants to fashion
felt patches that were assembled in a large mosaic quilt that served as
the backdrop for the performance stage. Organizers awarded prizes for
the best entries, with Venezuela, Curacao and Vietnam taking first, second
and third place, respectively.
There also were prizes for Best Booth, with categories for
small booths, medium and large. From first place to third, the winners
were China, Arab countries and Mexico (large booths); Iran, Turkey and
Romania (medium); and Morocco, Armenia and Switzerland (small).
Parts abroad were not the only ones represented in the festival; there was also a United States booth at the opposite end of the Quad from the stage. The menu? Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on white bread.