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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Festival displays diverse cultures

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@zachpavlik

Over 20 nationalities will gather Thursday to give UNM an international flare.

Annette Mares-Duran and Mavel Marina, both advisers in UNM’s Global Education Office, are the two masterminds behind this year’s International Festival, an annual event that has been going on for over 30 years.

Mares-Duran said the festival urges students to get lost in the rich diversity at the University, and the GEO is trying to have as many nationalities as possible be represented at the event. She said about 25 nationalities have already signed up for the event.

“It’s a celebration of culture and diversity and UNM,” Mares-Duran said. “It’s a time for people to come together and learn about each other. A lot of times, students don’t have a chance to study abroad, so here, they can meet people from other countries. We’re also hoping that at this event, students will get interested in studying abroad.”

Mares-Duran said they have been working on the event since January.

“The best part about working with the festival is that students get so passionate about showing their culture,” Mares-Duran said. “So, really, they guide the whole process. It’s what they want the festival to be. We set some parameters, such as that there can be food, information and crafts, and then the students sign up.”

Pavlina Peskova, a graduate student in the linguistics department, will be one of the participants in the event. She said the International Festival is a unique event at UNM because it allows students to see the diversity on campus.

Peskova said students are exposed to different races and nationalities during their time at the University, but they often don’t appreciate how truly diverse the campus is.

“A lot of students share classes with international students, but they don’t understand what the diversity is like at UNM,” Peskova said. “But as the student walks by all the booths, they think, ‘Wow, there is a huge diversity here that I didn’t even know about.’”

Peskova hasn’t missed an International Festival since 2007, she said. She said that this year, her sister and she decided to share baking methods of their home country, Czech Republic, at the festival. They will set up in one of the 18 food booths scheduled to be present at the festival.

“My sister and I decided that we are going to educate our UNM community on the food we eat in the Czech Republic, so we are baking different kinds of pies and strudels,” Peskova said.

This year’s festival will have 19 information booths, 18 food booths and five live performances with singing and dancing, Mares-Duran said. She said students should remember to bring cash to be able to buy items because credit cards will not be accepted in the festival.

International Festival

Thursday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Cornell Mall