The University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD) has celebrated its annual Multicultural Festival with a spectacular display of costumes, customs and cuisine that characterise some of the 96 nationalities represented on the university campus.
Under the banner ‘the colours of diversity’, this year’s event was the biggest ever, with four full days of festivities paying tribute to the huge diversity in cultures and nationalities that exists across the UOWD student community.
Recently hailed by His Highness Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, as an institution that has helped ‘to make the world safe for diversity’, UOWD is now in its eighth year of this colourful event.
Throughout the four day fiesta, students representing 19 different countries showcased the flags, costumes, imagery and artefacts that characterise their home nations through cultural stalls displayed across the university campus. The final day saw prizes awarded to the most traditional, creative and informative stalls, with Sri Lanka winning the popular vote, followed by Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Oman.
The four day event also included an exhibition of students’ paintings and photos and a daily food festival, showcasing traditional foods from countries across the world. Throughout the event, students took part in a photo click corner against multinational backgrounds and staged their own Playstation3 World Cup.
The final day of the event brought an energetic, interactive performance from the Dubai Drums group, followed by an enthusiastic display of national pride as students took to the stage for a ramp walk to showcase their countries’ traditional dress.
The grand finale involved a dazzling display of traditional music, dance and theatrical showpieces from students representing many different countries and cultures. Indian students treated the crowd to a fast-moving tour across their homeland, performing traditional song and dance from different regions around the country, while the participants from Afghanistan lined up to showcase the customary Rabab music.
The student performances went on throughout the afternoon, with the traditional Egyptian belly dance enthralling the crowd, before the show stopping India/Pakistan collaboration. The award for the ‘best dressed’ participants concluded the week’s activities, which were organised by the Student Services Department, with the support of Student Leaders, UniCrew and volunteers.
Summing up the thoughts of students who took part in the memorable event, Noor Ahmad, a BCom (Marketing) student from Afghanistan said, “This festival is a wonderful opportunity to showcase our countries but also to celebrate and share our pride in our national identities and to experience and learn more about the customs and cultures of our friends.”