Community will engage with world cultures at International Festival

contact: Margaret von Steinen
| WMU News
Photo of student hosts of International Festival.

Many students groups, as well as several University committees and departments, collaborate to put on the popular festival.

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—The music, dance, food and fashions of 17 cultures will be showcased on campus during Western Michigan University's 26th Annual International Festival from 4 to 8 p.m. Sunday, March 22, on the second floor of the Bernhard Center.

First hosted in 1989, the popular event features cultural display tables and four hours of staged performances, including a multicultural fashion show. Admission is free, and for a nominal fee, attendees may sample traditional foods prepared by international students in campus kitchens under the supervision of WMU Dining Services employees.

The International Festival annually attracts about 5,000 students and community members. It has outgrown its former venue in the Bernhard Center's East Ballroom, so the center's entire second floor will be utilized to host the 2015 festival.

During the event, attendees are able to "travel" around the world in a single evening while gaining an appreciation for the diversity of cultures represented on campus.

"The festival is a wonderful opportunity for both students and the community to come together to learn, as well as to teach their culture to others," says Karthik Balakrishna, chair of the festival planning committee and a graduate student from India majoring in electrical engineering. "It is the result of an incredible collaborative effort between WMU staff and students. The festival serves as a reflection of the University's multicultural strength and celebrates cultures from around the globe."

About the event hosts

The University enrolls more than 1,800 international students from some 100 countries and has many international student groups.

The groups hosting this year's festival are the:

  • Association of Chinese Students and Scholars.
  • Brazilian Students Association.
  • Fulbright Student Organization at WMU.
  • Dominican Student Organization.
  • German Club.
  • Indian Student Association.
  • Indonesian Overseas Association.
  • Iraqi Students Union.
  • Japan Club.
  • Korean Student Association at Western Michigan University.
  • Latino Student Alliance.
  • Malaysian Students' Association.
  • Pakistani Student Association.
  • Persian Student Organization.
  • Saudi Arabian Students Association.
  • TRiO Student Success Program.
  • Association of Vietnamese Students at Western.

Additional information

The festival is organized by WMU's International Programs Council and Campus Activities Board and is co-sponsored by the Haenicke Institute for Global Education, Graduate Student Association, University Cultural Events Committee and Western Student Association. Generous support is provided by WMU Dining Services and the Bernhard Center.

For directions to campus or a WMU parking map, visit wmich.edu/maps/printables.php.

For more information, contact Karthik Balakrishna at intl-coordinator@wmich.edu or (269) 387-3966.

For more news, arts and events, visit wmich.edu/news.