Hamad bin Khalifa University (HBKU), a member of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF), recently hosted ‘International Fest’ at the HBKU Student Center in Education City.
The annual event offers students the opportunity to celebrate the unique, multicultural academic and cultural experience they share at Education City and is a joint initiative between HBKU and its partner universities, Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar, Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar, Texas A&M University at Qatar, Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar, Northwestern University in Qatar, HEC Paris in Qatar, and UCL Qatar.
Since the tradition of holding International Fest started in 2007, it has grown to include a growing number of elements, such as an artisan craft bazaar and musical performances by the student body.
This year’s event also featured a conversation table, developed by HBKU’s Translation and Interpreting Institute, where attendees were able to learn a few words of Arabic, Spanish, French, and Mandarin Chinese, and gather more information about TII’s language courses.
Noora Hassan, a student at Weill Cornell Medicine – Qatar, said that such events help build a better understanding and unity among the students of Education City:
Cultural diversity is one of the essences of Education City. There are students here from across the world, and at events like this we get to see beyond their academic and extra-curricular skills. It shows us where they come from – their traditions, cultures, art, cuisine, and heritage.’
Committees representing various nationalities across Education City decorated a number of cultural booths with traditional dress, handmade items, and gifts. Among the national cultures represented were Qatar, Palestine, Sudan, Libya, and the UK. Melissa Winter, Assistant Director Student Engagement at HBKU, noted:
It’s a pleasure to work with our friends across Education City each year to organize the International Fest as it gives students the opportunity to take a short break from their studies to learn more about the many cultures that converge in Education City. The performances are a lot of fun for students to participate in and they seem to get better and better each year.’