International Dinner celebrates cultures

Wednesday, April 12th, 2017
Members of the Winona community gather in Winona State’s East Hall to attend a sold out International Dinner on the evening of Saturday, April 8. The dinner included entertainment and a buffet for students and community members. (Photo by Taylor Nyman)

Members of the Winona community gather in Winona State’s East Hall to attend a sold out International Dinner on the evening of Saturday, April 8. The dinner included entertainment and a buffet for students and community members. (Photo by Taylor Nyman)

Kilat Fitzgerald / Winonan

Winona State University’s student body  originates from distant nations and from all corners of the world.

The 30th Annual International Dinner was a chance to remind them how all are welcome at Winona State.

The sold out event on Saturday, April 8 turned the East Hall of Kryzsko Commons into a melting pot of Winona State’s multinational backgrounds.

With ushers dressed in the cultural attire of their respective country of origin, guests were shown to their seats where they enjoyed a diverse set of performances.

The theme of the evening was “One World, One Community” and it permeated across all spectrums as songs, dances, poetry, martial arts and a fashion show took the stage.

The “Lion Dance” from China served as the opening act, with intense drums and a vibrant choreography. Songs and dances from many nations were demonstrated with the energy of tradition, and a Japanese karate demonstration was recited with power and precision.

One of the performances was a poetry reading from Mavi Perozo, a Winona State student from Venezuela.

“I just wanted everyone to know that this is a struggle not only for me, but for most international students, and also my friends,” Perozo said. “I feel like I just wanted to have that message there so people can realize what we go through.”

Ailen Butler, an international student from Argentina, performed bachateros at the dinner. Bachateros is a dance done to bachata music, a type of music originating from the Dominican Republic.

“I love all the energy and all the passion that the dancers bring to the dance, and it was an amazing experience for me and the whole group,” Butler said.

Everyone who came for the entertainment stayed for the food, complete with an authentic touch from each dishes’ geographical origin.

Guests at the International Dinner were treated to Moroccan grilled chicken kebabs, representing the African continent. From the Indian subcontinent, chole chickpea curry made an appearance.

The Turkish borek a baked pastry with a thin, flaky outside, filled with meat and other ingredients was also featured at the meal The Middle East shared the quinoa tabbouleh salad, which contains parsley as one of the main ingredients.

The South American flan disappeared shortly after it was served. All of this was washed down with the Malaysian Teh O Ais Limau drink from Southeast Asia, making it a truly unique combination of dishes and flavors.

Mark Fitzpatrick, an international student from the United Kingdom, and two other students were the masters of the ceremony.

“I just hope everyone had a really good night,” Fitzpatrick said.

With 18 different segments, the action of the evening filled up the entire two and a half hour slot scheduled for the event.

The whole event culminated into a flash mob taking to the stage to dance the night away, as the community rejoiced in their unified differences.

By Kilat Fitzgerald

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