Flags flew high and the aroma of delicious cuisine filled the air April 15 as almost 30 different campus organizations celebrated their unique cultures through food and performances at the 2023 Global Expo.
The International Student Association, an organization that aims to foster community among international students, and Office of Global Services, which aids international Hoyas with visa and immigration-related affairs, co-hosted the event, which featured distinct cultures and ethnic groups from across the globe. Nations and regions represented included Greece, Ukraine, the Caribbean, Eritrea, Palestine, South Asia and France, among many others.
Alongside serving international dishes, the event showcased dance and music performances from groups like GU Jawani, a bhangra dance team; the Vietnamese Student Association, an affinity group for Vietnamese Hoyas; the Hellenic Association, a community for Greek and Cypriot students; and the Ballet Folklorico Mexicano, a student dance ensemble for traditional Mexican ballet.
Chris Tengey (CAS ’26), a Ghanaian American who lived in Ghana for several years as a child, said events like the Global Expo are key in engaging in cultural conversations to embrace diversity at Georgetown University.
“You can go to an event and know individuals have similar backgrounds,” Tengey told The Hoya. “You can also learn from other people and how their backgrounds have shaped them.”
Student cultural and religious groups, academic departments and sports teams alike participated in the event at tables displaying a sample of their corner of the world. For instance, the Armenian Student Association (ASA) set up a table and shared Armenian food.
ASA member Armen Asik (SOH ’25) said he appreciates spaces to express campus diversity and demonstrate pride in his Armenian identity.
“Georgetown’s a university that encourages a lot of multiculturalism, and it was good that we were represented even though we’re a small club on campus,” Asik told The Hoya. “There aren’t a lot of Armenians who go to Georgetown, but we’re very proud to be Armenian.”
Lela Tolajian (SFS ’26), another member of the ASA, said the best part of joining the organization is the Armenian community she’s made on campus.
“We do a lot of cultural events,” Tolajian told The Hoya. “We’ve gotten together and had food, and gone to protests together.”
Kyryl Myronenko (SFS ’26), a member of the Ukrainian Society, said he enjoyed sharing his country’s culture at the event.
“Global Expo was nothing but a great time on a Sunny Saturday on the Copley Lawn! At the Ukrainian Society’s table, we had varenyky (traditional dumplings), syrnyky (cheese pancakes), kompot (sweet beverage), Ukrainian candy, and many more,” Myronenko wrote to The Hoya.
Myronenko said food was a key channel for fostering connections and introducing students to Ukrainian culture.
“Through presenting cuisine, all students engaged in intercultural dialogue and were able to share with the student body something important to their identity,” Myronenko wrote. “It was a wonderful opportunity to meet new students and spread the word about Ukrainian culture!”
Tengey said he hopes Georgetown will continue to foster intercultural dialogue to welcome new and existing students, especially those from abroad.
“I think it’s important that Georgetown as an institution creates spaces where people of color feel safe and feel in community, especially if they are coming from parts of the country or other areas of the world where their culture is very unique to them,” Tengey told The Hoya. “So it feels like home to them when they come here and can adapt easier.”
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