A Turkish saz player and a Russian guitarist. Belly dancers and capoeira performers. Baklava and bubble tea. Few events in Iowa highlight such a rich array of traditions as the Celebrating Cultural Diversity Festival, Feb. 25 at the University of Iowa Field House.
Each year, the festival invites people from campus and community to discover and share each other’s cultures through food, dance, music, and performance. In its 18-year history, the celebration has become one of the most popular nonathletic University events.
With more than 100 domestic and international cultures represented on campus, The University of Iowa is the perfect setting for multicultural education and exchange. Annual celebrations from the Chinese New Year to Cinco de Mayo advance awareness and knowledge, and the diverse UI community lends cross-cultural flair to Iowa traditions like Homecoming.
Such celebrations also showcase the many multicultural student groups on campus. The Indian Student Alliance’s annual Diwali celebration, for example, captivates more than 1,000 audience members each year.
The University of Iowa’s 2005-2010 strategic plan recognizes that diversity “is essential to the educational experience and central to all parts of the University’s mission.” Cultural celebrations enrich the campus and the community, and bring people from many different backgrounds together to learn, reflect, and simply have a good time.