2016 International Festival: Around the World in One Night

Flags at the Embry-Riddle International Festival

For one night in February each year, the world shows up on the Prescott campus of Embry-Riddle. At this year’s International Festival students and the local community were treated to an evening celebration of international culture and diversity. It was the largest festival yet with 550 attending.

“If you’ve ever visited a market in an international country you know there’s a lot going on. It’s loud and festive and fun. That’s what the International Festival is like. It’s a great opportunity to get to know people from all over the world, one-on-one,” said Andy Fraher, Director of the Center for International Programs and Services (CIPS) and International Student Affairs.

Woman dances at International Festival

International students on campus dressed in their cultural attire and mingled with the crowd exchanging information about their home country. Some even had educational materials provided by their country’s embassy to share. The delicious food was a focal point of the evening but many participated in free face painting, international quizzes, and Mehndi henna art. Additional highlights of the evening included traditional dancing performances from India, Hawai’i, Saudi Arabia/United Arab Emirates/Libya and Latin America.

“Yes, the food is always a popular part,” said Mwangi Karuri, President of the International Student Association and senior in Aviation Business Administration from Kenya. “I think everyone enjoyed my Sukuma wiki which is fried kale in a tomato, onion, ginger, and garlic sauce with special Kenyan spices.”

This year, attendees experienced the culture of 22 countries/regions. Brazil, China, Hawai’i, India, Iran, Ireland, Japan, Kenya, Libya, Malaysia, Mediterranean, Mexico, Nigeria, Poland, Ukraine, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Texas, UAE, USA, and Papua New Guinea were all represented.

“Every year we take a group photo of everyone who participated by wearing their country’s dress or cooking for us. For me it summarizes what the festival is about. We have 235 international students from all over the world. We get to be proud of where we came from and showcase our culture with our Embry-Riddle family and the larger public community. It’s also eye-opening to see the differences and yet because we have such a great time together we know that we are all together,” said Karuri.

The International Festival is supported by CIPS, the Student Campus Enhancement Fund, and Sodexo dining and facilities along with the student clubs and organizations.

The International Student Association is represented by students from different countries around the world. The main purpose of the club is to promote the sharing of ideas and cultures among the students of this University.

For more information on CIPS or the International Festival contact 928-777-3773 or deborah.parris@erau.edu.