Belmont is widely known as a music school with the sounds of pop and rock everywhere, but at the World Culture Fair Friday, performances from Laos, Kurdistan, India and other countries will show the school’s broader talent.
“The purpose of the fair is to showcase the diversity within Belmont’s campus,” said Farah Manjiyani, one of the event’s student leaders.
The World Culture Fair is from 5-7 p.m. Friday in the Neely Dining Hall. Students and faculty will have the opportunity to interact and learn about other cultures through music, food, dance and several other art forms.
Several universities host annual cultural events, and Dr. Amy Crook, assistant professor of management, thought it was time Belmont jumped on board.
“It was my personal vision and goal since the moment I got here to put on an event like this,” said Crook.
Crook attended Duke University, which hosted several cultural celebrations throughout the year.
“Here at Belmont were not quite as diverse as some other schools, but there is still diversity and rich culture here,” Crook said. “However, there’s no one place to really celebrate those, so we wanted to do one big showcase or festival that displayed all that Belmont has to offer.”
The fair is an opportunity for students to express their native culture and heritage as well as for those who are just interested in other cultures to learn more about them.
“People sort of think of Belmont as a monoculture that only appreciates music, but we want to move out of that stereotype,” said senior Grayson Carroll.
Carroll will perform poi, a performance art native to the Māori people of New Zealand. He became interested in the art after learning about it through a friend.
Senior Mary Akhom looks forward to celebrating her Laotian heritage by performing a Lao song that her grandfather wrote. Her grandfather, So Akhom, is a well-known Laotian singer and songwriter.
“The song serves as a reminder to the younger generation to not forget about their Laotian heritage,” Mary said.
Group performances will highlight even more cultures.
Junior Mardin Dosky will perform a Kurdish dance with a group of students from her native region of Kurdistan. Dosky has collaborated with other Kurdish students to choreograph the dance.
“I am eager for people to see the different dynamic of the culture, dress, and dance in Kurdistan,” Dosky said, “The music is very fast-paced and upbeat, so I hope it gets people excited.”
The planners and participants hope to make the cultural festival an annual staple of Belmont tradition.
“We want this annual cultural festival to be a part of Belmont’s tradition moving forward,” said senior Rami Nofal, one of the five student leaders on the festival board. “This serves as a way to add on to the idea of diversity and enable the student body to play an important piece through artistic expression.”
The event is co-sponsored by several of Belmont’s student organizations such as the Black Student Association, Rumi club, International Business Society, Student Affairs Program Board and China Culture Club.
In addition to receiving a multicultural experience, students who attend the World Culture Fair will also be able to receive Culture and Arts convocation credit by visiting each country’s booth.