The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Festival celebrates diversity, international awareness


Sharing and learning about the diverse cultures of the people living in Bryan-College Station was the theme of the weekend as local students and citizens came together to celebrate the sixth annual Brazos Valley Worldfest.
The Brazos Valley Worldfest celebrates international awareness by offering cultural displays, demonstrations, international cuisine, performances, childrens crafts, educational competitions and many other activities.
Texas A&M and associated partner institutions began working on better promotion of the International Education Week in 2005. Over the next two years, the events of International Education Week expanded in the form of the first Brazos Valley Worldfest which was held on Nov. 17, 2007. The festival has been held at Wolf Pen Creek since 2009.
Linda Edwards, member of the board of directors for Worldfest, along with Kim Fox, festival coordinator, came up with the idea of sharing and celebrating the different cultures of the Brazos Valley in 2004.
Kim and I got together with several members of the community to think of a way to celebrate education month, Edwards said. We have about 53 culture and heritage groups [at Worldfest]. Some are from A&M and some are from around the community.
The festival began on Friday evening and ended on Saturday evening with a performance by the Houston Shaolin Lion Dancers. There were other culture and heritage groups that made an appearance at Worldfest, such as A&Ms Venezuelan Student Association.
Suzanne Schweitzer, senior industrial distribution major and vice president of the association, said the goal of the group was to educate visitors while at the same time creating a fun and exciting atmosphere.
We dont just explain facts about our country. We have fun and also dance. We try to explain how we are a very diverse country and show all of the facets of our country, Schweitzer said. Weve been planning [for the festival] since the start of the semester. This is our biggest event for the fall semester.
Another A&M organization that made an appearance at Worldfest was the A&M Arabic Club. Sophomore international studies major Nick Starnes helped represent this organization at the North African booth.
This was my first year working at a booth and even going to Worldfest in general, Starnes said. I let the more experienced people at my booth answer [the visitors] questions. In fact, many of them had actually been to the regions that our booth represented.
The weekends festivities included over a dozen different performances from a variety of culture groups, one of them being a performance by the students of Davila Kickstart Martial Arts.
Kickstart is a program for martial arts that teaches kids commitment, responsibility and liability all of which are things [students] need for school too, Edwards said. The group was actually founded by Chuck Norris.
Worldfests many activities, performances and opportunities to learn about different cultures helped make it successful in achieving its mission of promoting and celebrating the international diversity and heritage in the Brazos Valley.
I loved the atmosphere and how it represented the diversity of Texas A&M and College Station, Starnes said. Its great to immerse people in a little bit of culture that is not their own. Knowledge is power, and being able to learn about other cultures around the world is an amazing opportunity that everyone can benefit from.

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