The Collegian
Tuesday, December 01, 2020

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International Month begins with opening ceremony

The festivities for International Month begin with an official opening ceremony at the Carole Weinstein International Center on Friday.

Events for the opening ceremony include a student-led parade starting at 4:30 p.m. in the Forum. Students with flags from all over the world, maracas and tambourines will lead parade participants and viewers to the International Center where Office of International Education representatives will give some opening remarks.

The ceremony will conclude with an international cuisine tasting session with food provided by various on-campus student organizations featuring dishes from local eateries. Cultural dishes represented will include: Italian, Ethiopian, Balkan, West Indian, Chinese, French, Hispanic, and Japanese.

"I think you can learn a lot about a country through food," Ali Amaral, Westhampton College Government Association President and International Month committee member, said. "The best way to begin learning about something is through your taste buds," she said.

International Month was created based on the combination of two ideas for an international event, junior Shirley Leung, a member of the International Month committee, said. Every year, the United World College in the United States puts on a cultural performance, Leung, who attended the school, said.

Leung said she was inspired by these cultural performances and wanted to bring something similar to the University of Richmond.

Leung told associate director of multicultural affairs Jean Pierre Laurenceau-Medina her idea for an annual cultural performance at Richmond, she said.

After hearing that senior Diana Trinh, another member of the International Month committee, had an idea for an international month, Medina recommended that the two combine ideas to create one big event.

"I'm really excited for the opening ceremony," Leung said. "Many other months throughout the year celebrate individual cultures. Here, during International Month, we can all co-exist," she said.

The itinerary for International Month, created by Leung and sophomore Maria Lee, includes various multicultural events leading up to the month's closing ceremony on Nov. 19. The International Month closing ceremony will include live performances and music performed collaboratively by the department of music, department of theatre & dance, department of modern literatures & cultures and various on-campus student organizations.

One of the special things about planning for International Month had been working across departments, Leung said.

"This has been a good way of networking. I've met people I normally wouldn't have met," she said.

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Some other events include National Pride Day, Monday, Nov. 8, in which students are encouraged to dress how they identify themselves culturally, Leung said. The winner will be decided based on three categories including: creativity, effort and expression and communication, Leung said.

The rest of the month includes keynote speakers, an international game night, student forums on understanding what it means to be international on campus and a salsa dancing workshop.

Contact staff writer Liz Monahan at liz.monahan@richmond.edu

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