International Festival celebrates culture and community

This year’s Mankato Area International Festival brought in hundreds as they celebrated international cultures at Minnesota State University, Mankato on Sunday. 

Food, fashion and performances were highlighted during the festival along with a photo contest, trivia and culture booths set up all around Centennial Student Union.

With MNSU having a large representation of international students on campus coming from roughly 96 different countries, the festival was rich with culture. 

“We need to celebrate our differences because that is what makes us special, that’s what makes our community special,” MNSU President Edward Inch said. “This is a real opportunity to come to understand, appreciate, celebrate, and enjoy those differences that make our campus such an incredibly special place.” 

International students at MNSU were able to express their culture as well as prepare some of their traditional culinary foods and dresses. 

Food, beverages and desserts from India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and many others were prepared for the event that lined Mav Ave.

“This is my first time experiencing and meeting so many different cultures since this is my first time out of my country,” said ShizraTariq, a first year exchange student at MNSU from Pakistan. “I think everyone should know more about different cultures because even things like marriages are different here. It’s not just the countries being showed off, it’s also their culture being celebrated and how they do things.”

During the festival the fashion show in the CSU Ballroom featured traditional clothing from all around the world. The countries that walked the runway included Senegal, Nepal, and Japan.

Gloria Lee, a senior at MNSU who represented South Korea, took to the runway. 

“I wanted to show my traditional dress because some people may not know about the south as much, especially the traditional dress, so I wanted to share that part of my culture.”

During the event prizes were also handed out to those who were brave enough to guess flags representing different countries.

Representing the Northern part of Ethiopia, sophomore Makda Gebre performed and shared a traditional dance from her culture. 

“I’m looking forward to having some fun and letting people know what kind of culture we have and show the traditional moves,” she said.

Majd Alharbi, Maverick global ambassador at MNSU, expressed what today meant to her.

“It is a day where we unify all together. One day where it doesn’t feel like just my culture but an international day where I am heard and other cultures are heard,” Alharbi said.

Usually occurring in the spring season, the festival was unable to host this event for the past two years due to COVID-19. This year’s festival was hosted by the Kearney Center, the Centennial Student Union, students and community members.

One thought on “International Festival celebrates culture and community

  • Abdur

    Great article. I believe you should add International Student Association as a host too as ISA have worked with lot of different International RSO’s to make this event happen.
    Overall a fantastic event. Wonderful success.


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