International Cultural Night: An SA Affair

International cultural night, held on the 5th of April, was truly one of the most diverse event brought to you by SA’s very own International Student Bureau(ISB). Billiouw, Himshikha, Omar and Aaqib were the amazing group of emcees for the night.

The event kicked off with the proud nation of Nigeria exhibiting their culture in an enthusiastic dance number orchestrated by Favour, the activities officer, which was closely followed by a rather international fashion show that fascinated the audience. Just as the crowd had their feet tapping to the energetic Nigerian beats, the crowd was given a taste of K-pop that kept spirits running high. Perhaps the highlight of the show was the guest performance, “The Debka”, Palestine’s very first debut on the UNMC stage. It was organized by a group called “NGAT” who brought in professional artists, their dancing and singing to Arabic songs definitely stole the audience’s heart.

The focus shifted towards Asia as Bangladeshi ladies took over the stage in their traditional costumes and danced the night away and were followed up by their geographical neighbor, Pakistan, who dazzled the crowd with their melodious voices and their extremely talented musicians. How could we go out without the musical medley of songs (Aadat by Atif Aslam and She will be loved by Maroon 5). The combination of Urdu and English songs was mesmerizing and beautifully bridged two cultures.

As the night progressed we went local and celebrated Malaysia, the land that embraces all cultures. The very first Malaysian performance for the night was a soothing Chinese poetry by a Malaysian-Chinese student, after which we witnessed the rise of our very own UNMC Michael Jacksons. The Malaysian Indians even provided us with a beautiful rendition of a classical Indian dance. We went further north and hit India, because no international event would be complete without a Bollywood performance. Representing India, there was a song sung by Sandhya from the movie agent Vinodh (Dil Mera Muft Ka). It was definitely a breathtaking performance. Then came the traditional and contemporary India with a hyper-energetic dance medley performed by the girls which got the crowds clapping to the tunes of the Punjabi Bhangra.

Moving upwards toward central Asia we had our very charming and very talented Kazakhstan performances. The instrumental music brought the audience to life. Then we visited the culture of the tropical paradise that is Sri Lanka through a beautiful medley of Sinhalese and English sung by Aaqib Kurfan, the Sri Lankan ambassador, followed by a traditional dance performance by some very graceful Sri Lankan girls, dancing to Sinhalese and Tamil beats in perfect timing, who all had an authentic feel in their expressions.

UK, being a nation that has adopted several cultures, the ambassador of U.K. sang a classic Punjabi Folk song. As they say, go Britain, but the Punjabi way. Then we switched back to another tropical paradise, as we were entertained by the Mauritians, who had dedicated their performance in the loving memory of Neeraj Geerjanan, showing us that in times of sadness, happiness can also be found. The peppy songs definitely got all of the Mauritians to get up from their seats and show some of their moves, including Sattyam, our current SA President.

A UNMC stage production isn’t complete without Kareema gracing us with her lovely voice, and this time she surpassed herself by singing a mesmerizing medley of nine songs, each of a different language: Malay, Japanese, Korean, Sinhalese, Mandarin, Hindi, Arabic, Russian and Italian. In a similar spirit of international camaraderie, a mash up performance by India, Pakistan and Bangladesh followed up Kareema’s spectacle, proving that political borders do not define the love that people from each of these countries have for each other.

Finally this very long journey across the globe came to an end with the East African performance (Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda). There was a choir performance followed by the dances. The audience gleefully hooted to the African beats and all the Africans out there jumped to the stage to make sure they aren’t left out. The SA execs of the academic year 2012-2013 wrapped up the night with an enthusiastic dance number on five different songs: Nigerian, Mauritian, Srilankan, Pakistani/Indian, Egyptian.

As promised by the ISB, the ICN night was indeed a truly global experience which proved that the world is one and at UNMC, all though diverse, we are all united. Kudos to Tharaka, the Diversity and Environment Officer, the man behind it all and ISB team for pulling of an amazing event.

By Arushi Gupta

"Zeal without knowledge is fire without light." - Thomas Fuller, 17th century historian

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