World Expo fosters cultural education
- Apr. 29, 2012
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At this year’s World Expo, visitors were attracted by a raindrop-like sound coming from the entrance of the Kansas Room of the Kansas Union. People later discovered the sound came from an amadinda, a traditional wooden, xylophone-like musical instrument from Uganda.
Milton Wabyona, a graduate student of music composition from Hoima, Uganda, and Tim Clark, a junior of physics from Lawrence, were playing the amadinda for visitors at the presentation table of Uganda. People are invited to play the instrument as well.
Wabyona said he came to the Expo because he wanted to present music from his country and be with his friends from home. He said it was also interesting to see the other presentations..
“It’s very interesting to see people from different countries and to see what they have to show,” Wabyona said. “It’s very different from what you know from your own country.”
Students from about 50 countries, including Vietnam, Malaysia, Bolivia, Sweden, Chile and Russia, demonstrated their cultures at the 60th annual World Expo, hosted by the International Students Association. Visitors learned about different cultures through presentation boards pasted with pictures of scenery, traditional costumes and food from different countries. Table exhibitions showed examples of handicraft works, jewelry and musical instruments.
Students who represented their countries at the Expo drew visitors’ attention in a creative manner. Japanese students invited visitors to fold colorful origami cranes; Chinese students taught people to play Chinese chess; a student from Singapore compared her country’s geography and population with Kansas’; and students from Saudi Arabia brought their living room at home to the Expo. They showed the Arab people’s hospitality by inviting visitors to sit on the Arab style carpet to have homemade qahwah and mamoul, the Arab coffee and cookie
Raed Alzarah, a sophomore from Saudi Arabia who was hosting guests on the carpet, said they had more than 150 guests.
“We wanted to show our culture,” Alzarah said. “This is what we did about 50 years ago, but it’s still our culture.”
This year’s Expo had large-scale performances, which made it different from past years’ celebrations. Two students represented Vietnam entertained the crowd with a lion dance, and Wabyona and Clark later played the amadinda on the stage as well.
Amanda Murphy, president of the International Students Association, said the organization wanted the World Expo to celebrate different cultures at the University and to provide a chance for people to experience more than 50 countries at one time.
“It’s a way to facilitate cultural education,” Murphy said. “It allows people studying here that are from other countries to have pride for their heritage and show off their culture.”
Edited by Nadia Imafidon