The first day of the cultural week at the female campus of the International Islamic University Islamabad on Wednesday was a celebration of diversity and culture.
Students representing over 40 countries including Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Turkey, China, Jordan, Bangladesh, Algeria and Indonesia set up stalls with various displays and cultural items. Each group of students was assigned a country from which they recreated aspects of their country, from national outfits to serving traditional food.
Stalls were housed in individual tents, making it seem as though walking through the festival, one was moving in between countries. Photographs and posters of the country as part of the background along with plants and vegetation native to the country leant an air of authenticity.
Though a majority of stalls were handled by faux representatives, a few international students served as actual representatives of their countries, including Su Jing, a Chinese student. Jing was especially happy at the enthusiastic response to the Chinese stall which attracted by far the largest number of visitors, with people pushing one another to grab a platter of food prepared by the Chinese students themselves.
Jing told The Express Tribune that she was happy to see the response of people towards the setup and the food in particular, adding that some ingredients had been especially flown in for the food prepared for the event.
Saira Mumtaz, a student, said that she really enjoyed the event and was looking forward to the remaining days of the festival. The festival was a culmination of a collaborative effort by IIUI students after labouring over the preparations for a month.
The festival will continue for another two days.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 19th, 2012.
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