International students host first Culture Night

Sara Ali, Staff Writer

The International Student Organization put together a Middle Eastern and African Culture Night on Saturday in the Social Hall.

Students from different ethnic backgrounds gathered together to enjoy music and dancing. Henna artists also attended the event. Abdul Malek, vice-treasurer of the organization and international student from Saudi Arabia, provided ethnic foods such as falafel, hummus, and chicken kabab.

The DJ played African, Arabic and Western music. He blended Western songs with traditional songs to “blend the cultures instead of keeping them separate,” said President of the International Student Organization Meghan Hospedales

According to Hospedales, the organization was founded upon the belief that culture and education creates an open-minded relationship between students and their peers.

“I believe that is what we are trying to do with these cultural events,” she said, adding that “not everyone knows someone from Syria, or Algeria, or Iraq, but when you have a relationship with someone from that country, it makes you so much less biased and close-minded on the country itself and the conflict going on in these areas.”

The International Student Organization put the event together to “focus on the beauty that is Middle Eastern and African Culture,” said Louis Guillermo, treasurer of the organization.

Guillermo also said he hopes that the event will give students a better understanding of the basic roots of Middle Eastern culture, and that they walk out with a positive view on Middle Eastern and African countries.

“A lot of the political things that people see in the media are completely off and inaccurate. It also gives Americans or people who are unaware a bad stereotype of Middle Eastern and African countries and people,” he said. “We want to keep it at the basic cultural level that it is just so we can get the essential beauty of the culture.”

Guillermo said that his organization tries to make these types of events as authentic as possible with the resources they have.

He said that Malik shared what he would like to see at the event and what he believes other students would like to know about Middle Eastern culture.

“We also have two African students and we tried getting as much information from those who know about the countries; they came up with a lot of ideas,” Guillermo said.

Imani Castro, freshman forensic chemistry major felt that the organization “did a wonderful job, this event makes me want to join the group,” she said. “This event is a good idea and spreads cultural awareness.”

Guillermo also said that the organization has one big event and two smaller events every month.

“We try to have the students mingle with one another,” he said.

He also said that last Friday, they brought international students and American students together to talk about where they are from and what they enjoy doing in their own countries to “get to know the real side of these places.”

Guillermo hopes to make this a monthly event so international and local students can socialize with one another.

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