UT’s International Festival to offer cultural experience April 26Written by Staff Reports | | firstname.lastname@example.org
By Torrie Jadlocki, Toledo Free Press Staff Writer
Toledo residents will have the chance to experience different cultures April 26.
Toledo Sister Cities International (TSCI) will host the fifth annual International Festival at the University of Toledo Student Union from noon to 8 p.m., with a Parade of Nations at 12:15 p.m. to start the event.
Susan Miko, executive of Toledo Sister Cities International, said this year’s event will have “something for everyone.”
“We have wonderful foods of many ethnicities, great entertainment featuring the world as a showplace. … There are educational pieces including a ‘language corner’ with lots of chances to try a variety of different languages,” Miko said.
In addition, events will also include 23 performances to celebrate different cultures around the world, according to the Toledo Sister Cities International website.
Miko said having the event on campus has been great for participation.
“UT has been remarkable to work with,” Miko said. “This is now our second year with them, and it really blends the best of TSCI with the best of UT.”
Sammy Spann, assistant provost with the Center for International Studies at UT, has been working with TSCI for two years on the festival.
“It has been a tremendous honor working with them,” Spann said. “We do a lot of work with international cultures at UT, and it’s a pleasure to work with them.”
Miko said having the event on campus gets college students involved in different cultures as well.
“Last year’s International Festival accidentally coincided with “little sibs” weekend at UT,” Miko said, “and, remarkably, the theme they had chosen revolved around other cultures in the world. This year, again without knowledge of upcoming events, I recommended the theme of compassion and just found out a few weeks ago that there is a Compassion Conference being held at SeaGate Centre the day before our International Festival.”
Miko said these coinciding events, as well as the campus itself, help make the event a success.
“[UT has] a real commitment to diversity,” Miko said, “as well as the international community both here and abroad. It’s also a beautiful site and the auditorium where they hold it is spectacular.”
Spann said having the event at UT is just as beneficial to the campus.
“It helps build stronger ties to the community,” Spann said, “and it helps bring awareness to the local region.”
Spann said last year was a major success.
“Last year was huge,” he said. “I think this year will be even better, with more interest we’ve gotten from area businesses.”
According to the website, Toledo has sister cities in Spain, China, Hungary, Poland, Japan, Tanzania, Germany, Lebanon, Pakistan, India, and Egypt. In addition, Toledo has other sister cities that are currently in the works.
For more information, visit www.toledosistercities.org.