International Festival to take Statesboro around the world

Jeff Licciardello

For those who need their international culture fix, but cannot afford an international flight, the Center for International Studies has the cure.

The International Festival will bring a worldwide experience to Statesboro on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Mill Creek Regional Park.

The event will feature various activities including performances and an international food court.  The festival is free to the public.

A major aspect of the International Festival is to educate the local community about diversity. The attractions at the event showcase elements from the assorted countries offered. This educational aspect is featured through the Global Village.

The Global Village is comprised of 10 different countries chosen by local elementary, middle and high schools. Once selected, International Ambassadors from the Global Ambassadors Program go to the classrooms and provide a presentation about their country.

“I enjoy talking to them about our president, typical food and Portuguese.  The students are very eager to learn and ask me many questions including how to say their name in Portuguese and how to make some Brazilian foods,” Tulio Meireles, Global Ambassador for Brazil and senior electrical engineering major, said.

After learning about their prospective countries the schools then build a booth representing the information they learned which showcases items such as flags, food and cultural artifacts.

“We work to expose the youth to different cultures. The ambassadors give presentations about their home country from its education systems to its food and eliminate the stereotypes that are seen about them in the news,” Assana Magagi-Alio, graduate assistant for the Global Ambassadors Program, said. “This is a big factor because the kids have the opportunity to ask questions they have always wanted to ask about these stereotypes.”

“Those ten countries will get judged based upon knowledge of the country, presentation, and other categories the judges look for and we give out three trophies to the best schools,” Angie Threatte, coordinator of International Programming & Events, said.

Among the festivities, event goers will have the opportunity to purchase products from many different countries including Haiti, China and Kenya at the World Craft Bazaar, see musical performances at the World Stage, create free arts and crafts from various countries and experience world cuisines at the international food court.

“Those who are interested in study abroad should come as well. It’s a fun festival and can really open the eyes to what else is out there,” Magagi-Alio said.

The festival is greatly driven by volunteers who assist in setting up, work with the activities and also help direct traffic for parking.

Threatte said, “We really need more volunteers. All volunteers will receive a festival T-shirt and volunteer credit hours. Students can sign up online through our website or by email.”