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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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Worldfest focuses on bringing diverse cultures together

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A quick quiz for the culturally savvy Aggie: What do camel petting, gyro tasting and salsa dancing have in common? All can be done at the Brazos Valley Worldfest.
Initiated by the Office of International Outreach at Texas A&M, Brazos Valley Worldfest began in 2005. With the assistance of Festival Coordinator Kim Fox, class of 1997, the turnout and participation has grown over the years for the event, held at Wolf Pen Creek.
“The University wanted to create a more welcoming environment for our international faculty, scholars and students and connect them with the community,” Fox said.
The day began with the 5k Run For the World race. The funds from the race go to the International Justice Mission, a Christian Human Rights organization with headquarters in Washington, D.C. The International Justice Mission at A&M strives educate others about the severity of human trafficking and raises funds to help those affected.
“There are 27 million slaves in the world,” said Caitlin Red, officer. “It’s really gratifying to know that people can come together and raise awareness about this issue.”
The International Studies Degree Program represented all countries and cultures at Worldfest. Laura Stratta, international studies academic adviser, was particularly excited to see all of the guests and couldn’t wait to see all the cultures of the world.
“I’m just fascinated by all the diversity here at Worldfest,” Stratta said. “It’s amazing to see so many cultures interacting with one another.”
Michael Greenwald, director of international studies, was also at the international studies booth, educating others about the international studies degree plan and partaking in the day’s events.
“Many people are surprised to find we have an international studies major,” Greenwald said. “But there is, in fact, a full degree here at A&M, specifically focused on this globalization.”
Activities such as cultural dance displays, henna tattoos and Chinese calligraphy gave the guests a chance to expand their cultural horizons. But from kielbasa and bratwurst to quesadillas and corn dogs, the food was a favorite aspect among all Worldfest attendees.
“I couldn’t resist the wonderful smell of food,” said Patrick Simmons, a senior biomedical engineering major. “It’s neat to get to experience so many different things at Worldfest.”
More than 9,000 people turned out to the fourth annual Worldfest. With 400 volunteers and 56 cultural displays, the guests traveled around the booths with their Worldfest passport in tow, getting stamps from each country represented. Senior political science major Neal Spencer, who has studied abroad in Tunisia, assisted with the Arabic booths, putting his education to good use.
“Tunisia is sometimes overlooked on the map,” Spencer said. “But it’s one of the most beautiful and interesting places in the world and I love being able to share my experiences with others.”

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