The department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at the University of New Mexico organized its 19th Annual World Language Expo on March 3 in Ortega Hall.

This year’s theme focused on global citizenship. Other departments, including Spanish & Portuguese, Linguistics with American Sign Language, Africana Studies with Swahili, also participated in the event, along with the Global Education Office.

Previous expos included presentations in over 40 languages about various topics, such as Afghan culture, French truffle-making, Tahitian dance and Japanese tea ceremonies and polyglot zoos.

Marina Peters-Newell, who helped organize the event, said she took on the expo 19 years ago from the New Mexico Organization of Language Educators, an organization of high school language teachers, 19 years ago.

Prizes included and Amazon gift cards.

“We really want students to engage in a topic that is a crucial essential topic dealing with the world they live in and a kind of global cultural competence that (it) takes to be a real participant in this world,” Peters-Newell said when discussing the importance of the event.

Traditionally, high school teachers and students from across New Mexico attend the event to further develop and enhance their knowledge in a language and experience the wealth of cultural experiences the world offers.

“Such events (help) us to know how (we) can go into the world and be a part, a contributor, to the world and to be excited about that,” said Syed Mustafa, a parent of an Albuquerque student.

The event featured the nine languages covered in the UNM Foreign Languages and Literatures Department, along with Welsh, Romanian, Hungarian, Hindi, Farsi and others.

Tasawar Shah is the news reporter at the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at or on Twitter @tashah_80.