Global Culture Night 2011

Ascending Voices perform at Global Culture Night 2011. The group was one of many groups sharing their culture through the arts.

UNA’s ninth annual Global Culture Night presented a unique experience for many on and off campus community members April 16.

This year, the performance was sponsored by the Student Multicultural Advisory Committee and hosted by the newly elected SGA president Ralph Akalonu and current reigning Miss UNA Brandi Lewis.

“I think this is a great learning opportunity for the local community, but also to give our international students a chance to showcase their culture and make them very proud,” said Dr. Chunsheng Zhang, vice provost for international affairs.

Zhang said one of the best parts of the night was to see the complete unity of students, regardless of the national background of each.

There seemed to be a great turnout, said UNA junior and SMAC adviser Allison Ray, who calculated more than 300 people in the audience.

“We want all our local and international students to come together, get to know each other and enjoy life together,” Zhang said.

The event began with a bang with an upbeat African welcome rhythm from the POZA Troupe and CORE drummers.

The night continued with a series of other acts which included a vibrant Nepalese dance duet from Priyanka Karky and Tulaja Rayamajhi, a Tai Chi demonstration from the Chinese Student Organization, a tango dance from Dr. Robert Adler and songs from the UNA Ascending Voices.

The final act impressed many, as Karky and James Baxley appeared with an endless medley of each culture in dance.

To top off the performances was a fashion show with students and faculty returning to the stage, representing countries like China, Japan, Korea, Africa, Germany and many more.

Some of the costumes varied from brightly colored traditional ones to some interesting themes, such as two students dressed up as Sumo wrestlers and another as a Pokémon character.

The performance and fashion show were not the only parts of the event. More events took place in the GUC as audience members got the chance to meet with performers. Different booths were opened and represented countries like China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and various African nations. Also laid out was a cuisine of special dishes from Africa, India and other countries.

The night seemed as if it would never end as the DJ played on and the floor opened to students, faculty and other audience members to join in on a community dance.

Special attention was brought to the relief effort in Japan, as Yoshihiro Sato, president of the Japanese University Meal Project, expressed his gratitude on behalf of the organization as he announced how much has been donated to helping Japan in the midst of the recent earthquake. JUMP accepted more donations during the event and offered paper cranes to donors in return.

“It means so much to us,” said Mack Cornwell, vice president of JUMP. “It’s been primarily students giving money, so that’s very powerful to us and very emotional, especially for the Japanese students.”

“For me, I’m an international student and most of the time I feel lonely, so with this performance and activity I feel like we are a big family,” said UNA student Jiabao Zhang.