No passport is needed for the 12th annual International Festival at Mill Creek Regional Park today, Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Office of International Programs and Services at Georgia Southern University hosts the festival, which features international foods, World Craft Bazaar and performances highlighting cultures from various countries.
“We’ve been hosting the International Festival since 2005, and over the years it’s been so rewarding to watch it grow — especially seeing the school children and their families come out and learn about the world,” said Angie Threatte, the university’s coordinator of international programs and events.
“Educating our children about different cultures is essential in today’s world,” she said. “I hope participating in the festival helps them become aware of the importance of being a global citizen.”
Attendees can sample foods from Latin America and countries such as China, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Japan, Mongolia, Nigeria, the Philippines and Thailand. Specialty items from countries including China, Ghana, Haiti, India, Kenya, Korea and more, may be purchased in the bazaar. Children can create free arts and crafts such as Tanzanian animals, Mexican flowers, African beaded necklaces, henna handprint tattoos, Singapore flags, African stamp bags, a Persian “magic carpet,” Japanese calligraphy and origami, and Arabic calligraphy at the “It’s a Small World” display.
Performances, ranging from Flamenco and Latin dancing to belly dancing to taekwondo, will take place on the World Stage and feature groups like Magical Fires of Polynesia.
Local elementary, middle and high schools, as well as home and charter schools, from surrounding counties have teamed up with international students from the University’s Global Ambassadors Program to create educational booths featuring specific countries. These booths form the Global Village with information, arts and crafts and other educational activities available.
For more information on the festival, visit GeorgiaSouthern.edu/intfest.
In another international event this week, the university is hosting the Southeast Model African Union, which began Thursday and ends Sunday. His Excellency Carlos Dos Santo, African Union ambassador from Mozambique, was featured speaker for Thursday’s opening ceremony at the Nessmith-Lane Conference Center.
This is the first time in 10 years that Georgia Southern, which has an award-winning Model African Union team of its own, has hosted the event, now in its 21st year. The university’s Center for Africana Studies is one of the sponsors.
“We are extremely proud to offer students the continued opportunity to solve worldwide problems, with an emphasis on Africa,” said Saba Jallow, Ph.D., director of the Center for Africana Studies.
After student teams research issues related to a specific country, they gather for simulated meetings of the actual commissions of the African Union, which are being held in the Nessmith-Lane Center and the Russell Union.
All delegates receive a certificate at the end of the simulation, and outstanding teams and delegates also receive recognition and awards. The top delegates will then go on to Washington, D.C., and participate in the National Model African Union.