Improving Unity in Cultural Diversity
You probably might be able to live in unity when you are amid your country folks. Still, I put it to you that retaining harmonious relationships on campus with hundreds of international students is nothing but a myth without the existence of perfect cultural awareness.
Middle East Technical University, Northern Cyprus Campus in partnership with the International Students Association, organizes events to improve social interactions and unity on campus. The African Night is one of several events that gives a chance for a cultural reflection from all African nations present on and off-campus. With the primary purpose of improving unity and international relationships on and off campus getting fulfilled, the African Night this year was a success!
“METU brings us all together”. This is a famous statement that can be spotted on posters around campus. A multicultural institution consisting of lots of students from over 50 countries of the world, including countries from the Middle East, Asia, and Central Africa, Middle East Technical University, Northern Cyprus Campus does indeed unite us. METU, NCC consists of hundreds of African students from over 20 countries in Africa, as well. Despite this much diversity, the university is bent on promoting harmony, intercultural understanding, and positive relationships between students from all cultural backgrounds. To achieve this, it is important to understand the relationships among international students on campus.
Still talking about this, a series of interviews of students on and off-campus were conducted by the Egyptian Society METU, NCC (2019). According to the society, results showed that “although international students relate cordially off and on campus, cultural ignorance and unawareness predominated on campus.”
Furthermore, several international students were unaware of the cultural beauty and traditional elegance of their fellow international friends on campus. Solving this problem involved creating an arena and a ground for students from different countries in each continent to display their culture for all to see and appreciate freely. Therefore, METU, NCC in association with the International Students Association decided to organize the African Night to reflect the African culture.
The African Night involved international students from different African countries displaying the culture and tradition of their respective countries. The event was not restricted to METU students and the ISA hosted students and professors from neighboring Universities in North Cyprus. There were visitors from European University of Lefke, Final International University, and the Near East University. Anyone was free to join in participating and beholding the incredible culture and tradition of Africa. Did I mention it was also free!
Many students represented their home countries in this event. There were student representatives from several countries. These included Egypt, Nigeria, South Africa, Libya, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Sudan, Angola, Somalia, Zimbabwe, Algeria, Burundi, Morocco, Ethiopia, Ghana, and many more…
What Were the Events?
Lots of activities took place at the multicultural event. Before the commencement of the event, there was an opportunity for table information. Each represented African Country had informants who educated the curious minds on the culture and traditions of their respective African countries. From these tables, one could easily get precise information about many African countries. These tables had posters of significant monuments of the nations and photos of well-recognized and appreciated nationalists. Furthermore, these tables were also filled with beautiful sculptures, artifacts and fun facts about each country.
Thereafter, the show commenced with a public speaking session. There were opportunities for individual and group speeches. Many students spoke about the culture and the beautiful wonders of their countries. There were slides that contained photos and videos of these nations. Some students prepared some cultural memes as well. Not to mention, cultural dishes were also displayed on the slides. In other words, public speaking was the perfect strategy to enlighten the audience on the beauty of Africa.
Lastly, nothing brought more joy to the audience than witnessing the incredible and mind-blowing performances on at the amazing night. There were lots of traditional choreography from the Nigerians, Rwandans and Burundians. These dancers took dancing to a whole new level. Their cultural attires coupled with their ethnic dance moves made them outstanding on stage. Moreover, there were opportunities for students from neighboring universities to perform.
The students from these schools performed a lot of choreography as well as songs and recitations. The Egyptians on campus really put up a show. They displayed the cultural reformation of Egypt from ancient times to modern-day Egypt, including the Renaissance period. They portrayed how the tradition of Egypt had changed with time and modern advancement.
In brief, all performances were great and they served the main purpose of cultural display and enlightenment.
WHY AN AFRICAN NIGHT?
The need for such events in every Institution cannot be overemphasized. Such an event is crucial for improving unity and familiarity among students. A great institution is not judged only by the cultural diversity of its student, but also by its effort to maintain progress and unity in such diversity.
As an International student, I confidently believe that understanding the culture of a foreign country improves good friendship, relationship and unity between International students on campus. This is what the African Night helped to achieve, and hence, the goal of such events.
At METU, NCC social life is highly prioritized. Undoubtedly, cultural exposure promotes perfect socialization among international students. The university tries its best to organize intercontinental cultural events just like the African Night. Furthermore, the university also serves National dishes in the cafeteria; for the same purpose of improving unity and good relationships on campus.
I have to end by saying that the African Night was a success! It did not just entertain students, it educated them. The African Night improved unity among students on campus and off-campus. In subsequent times, the ISA will be organizing the Asian and Arabian Nights to seal the deal on cultural awareness.
To know more about this organizing committee and the next event they plan to organize, click here. If you witnessed the African Night, your comments below will be helpful in improving upcoming cultural events in METU.
Ezeamuzie Arinzechukwu .G.
Metu Students, (2019). African Night. Interview by Egyptian Society METU NCC. [Question]. Cultural Awareness [Question].