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AURAK Celebrates Diversity: Students Showscase Cultures of 23 Countries at Global Day 2024

by Belinda Breeze

Campus comes alive with dances, music, food, fashion, traditions and artifacts

The campus of the American University of Ras Al Khaimah (AURAK) celebrated the sights, sounds, smells and traditions of 23 different countries, at the 11th Global Day celebrations held under the theme of “Celebrating Cultures From Across The Globe.”

The unique and enriching experience, which echoed the university’s ethos of diversity, featured a nations’ parade, booths showcasing cultures and cuisine of different countries and a fashion show of national costumes from around the world sponsored by AURAK’s Fashion Club to highlight the beauty and elegance of traditional outfits.

Dr. David A. Schmidt, President of AURAK, said: “The Global Day celebrates the rich tapestry of cultures from across the globe. At AURAK, we proudly host a diverse community representing 80+ nationalities on campus. The Global Day provided a significant platform for nurturing cross-cultural understanding and unity within our university community. It offered an invaluable opportunity to break down barriers, exchange knowledge, and celebrate the diverse perspectives that collectively shape the essence of AURAK.”

Prof. Stephen Wilhite, Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs and Student Success and Provost, AURAK, added: “Cultural integration and harmony are key values at AURAK. Global Day 2024 provided the perfect setting for demonstrating this spirit through cultural performances, music, dance and food. It was heartwarming to see our students exploring and appreciating the cultures of their fellow students and making the event a happy global family gathering.”

Colourful booths designed and staffed by students in national costumes and displaying unique national offerings lent an air of harmonious camaraderie. The Sudan booth was adjudged Best Booth, with Ethiopia being declared runner-up. The competition for best cultural performance was also won by Sudan, while Russia and Kazakhstan were declared joint runners-up.

The Parade of Nations featured 23 countries: Bangladesh, China, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, India, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Saudi of Arabia, Kurdistan, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestine, Philippines, Russia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Tanzania, Yemen and United Arab Emirates.

The Fashion Show segment was a visual delight of colour and elegance – distinguished with Nigeria’s beautiful ladies’ gowns made of colorful and vibrant fabrics; Chinese silk robes with wide sleeves and intricate art; and Ethiopia’s traditional Habesha kemis and Zuria dresses made of hand embroidered cotton.

There were delicious dishes from every corner of the globe, such as Couscous and Tajines (Morocco); buckwheat porridge and Plov (Russia); Beef and chicken dumplings, Beef hot pot, (China); Kachori, Badia and Urojo (Tanzania); Biryani, Kashmiri chai, rose drink, gol gappay (Pakistan); Bent al sahn, Batat homr, Bakhamri, (Yemen) – Dolma, Kulega (Iraq), Mansaf (Jordan) – Msakhan (Palestine) and vine leaves and kebbe (Syria) and several other tantalising dishes.

The event provided rich cultural insights through interactive exhibits the highlights of which were the very first Arabian script discovered in ancient Yemen; vintage Russian dolls; Syrian folklore Dabke dance, and glimpses into the traditions associated with the Emirati Falcon, a symbol of courage and nobility.