IUPUI’s International Festival Returns for 13th Year

On February 22, the Campus Center will be filled with live music, food, and dancing. Students in international costumes will roam the floors surrounded by 195 flags of countries from around the world. For one day, the Office of International Affairs will host a celebration of IUPUI’s international pride, free of cost and open to the public.

2016 International Festival. Photo by Paris Garnier. 

2016 International Festival. Photo by Paris Garnier. 

IUPUI’s annual International Festival is coming back for the 13th year on Tuesday, Feb. 22. From 10:30 to 2:30 in the Campus Center, students, faculty, and members of the community will be able to experience the event with a variety of performances and events, from traditional Iranian dancing to a children’s mariachi band. Visitors will be able to join the fun with free food, a best dressed contest and a photo booth.

“The main goal of the International Festival is simply to promote international understanding through IUPUI,” International Program Manager Jill Jean-Baptiste said. “We have over 2,000 international students on our campus, which is something that we take pride in.”

The festival began in 2005 with only a few performances and vendors. Now, performances last throughout the four-hour event with dozens of vendors, contests, food samples, and activities. The event has become a highlight of IUPUI’s International Week, which will take place from Feb. 20-24.

“The International Festival has grown a lot since it began,” Jean-Baptiste said. “The first year, it was in the hallway between the ES building and the library. Now we have the first floor and the lower level of the Campus Center.”

Student participation has been and will be a vital facet of the festival, with student performances and organizations headlining the event. Edward Vaughan, sophomore and president of the Chinese Cultural Club, will be leading a medley of Chinese martial arts in his second year performing. Despite not being of Chinese heritage, Vaughan stressed the importance of learning about other cultures and ways of life.

“For people who don’t have the means or desire to travel, the festival gives them a chance to see a glimpse of what culture is,” Vaughan said. “Ten percent of the student population is international, so we interact with different cultures all the time. To interact and foster relationships with people of different cultures is so important.”

Candies from around the world at the 2016 International Festival. Photo by Paris Garnier. 

Candies from around the world at the 2016 International Festival. Photo by Paris Garnier. 

This academic year, a record 2,010 international students are enrolled at IUPUI. These students represent countries from around the world including India, China, and Saudi Arabia. The festival aims to represent and celebrate these countries, but also encourages students born in America to experience other cultures through festival participation and study abroad opportunities.

Following the International Festival, a continuance of music and global discussions will take place Feb. 23 in the Campus Center at the Taylor Symposium’s ‘It’s Not Foreign. It’s Us.’

For more information or volunteer opportunities, please contact oiaevent@iupui.edu.