Nov. 9 2011 12:00 AM

MSU cultural festival kicks off International Education Week

This Sunday, Kyrgyzstan is coming to our doorstep — as
well as Japan, India, Bangladesh, Kazakhstan and numerous other
nations, via Michigan State University’s Global Festival. The 27th
annual event opens MSU’s International Education week.

“Bring your questions, bring your friends and bring a
little money for lunch,” said Peggy Arbanas, co-director of the
festival and MSU international student adviser. Lunch features
international cuisine for $5, served in the garden level of the MSU
Union; the festival itself is free.

“A lot of students love to wear ethnic and traditional clothing (from their countries of origin),” Arbanas said.

Students start off the festival with a style show,
displaying their garb and showcasing past and present fashions of the
country they come from. Throughout the rest of the afternoon, hundreds
of performances, displays, demonstrations, crafts and games are planned.

In a previous year, Arbanas said, “Latin American
students recreated a market with peppers and beans, stuff like that.”
She also described a booth where a professor recreated his mother’s
kitchen in his home country, complete with spices and a thatched roof.

Approximatelyt 20 groups will perform entertainment
representative of their country. Children are invited to have their
faces painted and their “passports” filled out, on which they can have
their name written in various languages.

For those looking to find international gifts or art, the
Global Festival offers the World Gift Shop, a charity gift sale with
the proceeds going toward a scholarship presented by the Community
Volunteers for International Programs. The scholarship helps spouses of
international students attend classes at MSU.

On-campus parking will be free, and visitors are
encouraged to park at the parking ramp off Grand River, which is the
closest available lot to the MSU Union.

Arbanas also stresses that the festival is not political
in nature. “We are trying to keep it a cultural event,” she said,
adding that international students view it as “an opportunity to share
their culture.”

The festival is sponsored by the University Activities
Board, Community Volunteers for International Programs and the Office
for International Students and Scholars.

Global Festival

Noon-5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 13

Michigan State University Union

Free admission; lunch is $5

(517) 355-3354