Celebrating the Beauty of Diversity

10th annual Culture Night Takes Visitors on a Vicarious Trip around the World

More than 1,000 visitors from around the Kansas City metro crowded into Pierson Auditorium on Saturday, April 21 to experience and celebrate the beauty of diversity at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Hosted by International Student Affairs student ambassadors, the 10th annual Culture Night was an opportunity to learn about different areas of the world through a free food buffet, talent show, fashion show of traditional apparel, and student-run educational booths.

International students at UMKC represent 78 countries, each with different cultures and traditions. As they traveled around the room, visitors were taken on a vicarious trip around the world. From the sounds of hand-made instruments, replica models of cities and villages, and many dishes to taste, Culture Night was an experience for each of the five senses.

Student booths represented nations such as Kuwait, India, China, Spain, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Oman and Saudi Arabia.

“One of my favorite things about UMKC is the extensive diversity our community enjoys, and the way we embrace that diversity,” said Interim Chancellor and Provost Barbara Bichelmeyer in her welcoming remarks. “We want all people to know, and feel, that they are welcome on our campus.”

Culture Night has grown exponentially to become a featured event at UMKC, with a focus on learning from and about one another; and fostering unity through cultural exchange, respect and empathy.

Audience members clapped and cheered as students paraded around in traditional garb from countries including Nigeria, Turkey and Pakistan. Talent performances included songs in various languages and traditional dances from Cameroon, Bangladesh and India.

“We have proven to the world that students from around the globe can come together in peace and understanding in respect to race, gender and sexual orientation,” said Bingshiun Low, Ph.D. student in economics. Low served as Culture Night co-host alongside senior computer science major Doreen Mbugua.

Awards went to student groups with the best displays and performance. Winners were:

Best Booth: Oman

Best Food: India

Talent Show Winner: The African Student Union

Culture Night was organized by the International Student Affairs Office and sponsored by The Division of Diversity and Inclusion, School of Computing and Engineering, School of Law, Student Government Association, College of Arts & Sciences, and the Henry W. Bloch School of Management.

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