The multicultural spirit of the University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD)’s 4446 students from 117 different countries was celebrated recently with a three-day festival.
During a finale that took place at the Knowledge Village Courtyard, the University’s students and staff enjoyed celebrating traditional UAE culture with a Majlis with coffee, tea, henna and a falcon, a food festival featuring authentic food from the UAE and beyond and interactive performances from the Dubai Drums group.
Commenting on the festival, Emirati Bachelor of Commerce: Management student Hassan Abdul Aziz said “It’s brilliant that the University are putting on a festival to celebrate both Emirati traditions and the vast number of different cultures we have both here at UOWD and in the UAE as a whole. I think it’s very important that we talk about our culture.”
Throughout the three-day fiesta, which was organised by the University’s Student Services Department, students representing UOWD’s many different nationalities ran cultural stalls featuring the flags, imagery, artefacts, paintings, photos and costumes of their home nations. There were also cultural performances and fashion shows from Africa, India, Pakistan, Ukraine, Russia and Lebanon.
The festival finale saw prizes awarded for the most informative, traditional and creative stalls, with Sri-Lanka winning first prize followed by Bangladesh, Yemen and Africa.
Additionally, students had a chance to participate in a global PlayStation World Cup football tournament and enjoyed being photographed wearing traditional national dress in a dedicated photo booth. Festival sponsor Air Arabia ran a lucky draw for students who chose to wear national dress over the course of the festival, with student Saaim Squib Ahmed winning a return flight to Karachi, the destination of his choice, in the competition.
Summing up the thoughts of the students and staff who took part in the event, Bachelor of Commerce: Finance student Kavleen Singh said: “The festival brought together the entire university and highlighted our united spirit. It was a brilliant opportunity to learn more about Emirati culture and traditions and those of the other nationalities at UOWD and in the UAE as a whole.”