Festival celebrates diversity, culture

IUS Horizon

Barnie Carducci
Barnie Carducci, professor of psychology, emcees the International Festival on Tuesday, March 2.

On Tuesday, March 2, the 15th annual International Festival took place in the Hoosier Room. The room was decorated with cultural paraphernalia and tables scattered between the entertainment and booths of various countries.

The festival was composed of several forms of entertainment, including performances from cultural groups.

The first act was the Jungle Drummers from St. Xavier High School in Louisville. The group specializes in traditional West African tunes and performs with djembe and djun-djun drums to provide an African feel.

The second performance was by Flamenco Louisville, where they showcased authentic flamenco music and dance from Spain.

Flamenco Louisville is comprised of a participatory group of dancers, musicians and teachers who desire to share the Flamenco experience with everyone.

The last performance of the evening was by Heartstrings, a Celtic band that was formed in 2006.

The band’s performance includes Celtic reels and jigs created by Turlough O’Carolan, 17th century Irish harpist.

“I try to come to the festival every year because I enjoy the food and entertainment,” Gloria Murray, dean of School of Education, said. “The entertainment is both funny and fun.”

The three international performances were not the only source of entertainment for the night, Bernie Carducci, professor of psychology, hosted the event as the emcee.

Carducci generated laughs and enjoyment amongst the crowd with his cultural enthusiasm.

“I’ve been the emcee for probably 5 years and I continue to do it because my experience is always extremely positive,” Carducci said. “It is one of the best events we do at IUS. I think it is a very fun and enthusiastic event with lots of really good food.”

“I’ve been at IUS for 30 years but I continue to meet new people at this event. It’s a great combination of the familiar and new, as well,” he said.

While watching the entertainment, guests were able to visit each booth that offered diverse experiences for students in the area.

The Ecuador booth was promoting a 21-day Ecuador trip for this summer to educate and expose students to other cultures, education systems and language.

“This festival is a good opportunity for students to find out about different cultures and broaden their global perspectives,” Jean Abshire, political science and international studies professor, said. “It’s important to learn about the world around us, especially in the current times.”

Guests that attended the International Festival indulged in the culturally diverse food.

This year, Dylan Starkey, IUS chef, catered the event with various dishes. One dish was falafel from Egypt.

“This festival gives people a chance to taste foods they’ve never seen before or would ever order at a restaurant,” Lucinda Woodward, director of international programs and assistant professor of  psychology, said.

Other dishes featured on the menu were chicken tikka kebab, kimchi, hummus, potstickers, chicken adobo and groundnut stew. The desserts included baklava, crème brulèe and Turkish coffee.

Prior to becoming a largely engrossed event at IU Southeast, the International Festival started as a student pitch-in where they made samples of different, cultural food.

Charles Pooser
Charles Pooser, professor of French, sits at booth representing France at the International Festival on Tuesday, March 2.

The first year the festival took place, 100 guests attended the informal event. In its 15th year, 300 to 400 guests attend annually.

“The goal of IU Southeast is to increase diversity,” Woodward said. “This festival gives us a change to live this experience. I’m very interested in other cultures and at this festival I am able to meet like-minded international organizations and individuals. We hope to eventually make the festival a weekend event.”

The festival’s primary purpose is to provide students with knowledge and experience of other cultures. Having a wide cultural experience can be very beneficial to students entering any occupation.

“I think the exposure to so many sorts is the biggest benefit,” Ruth Garvey-Nix, vice chancellor of Student Affairs, said. “The different cultures, food and beliefs that people can experience are benefits. No matter how educated you are, you can always learn something new.”


Staff Writer