February 07, 2007

International Festival opens Feb. 13

by Sun Min

CARBONDALE, Ill. – A speech by an Iraqi-American businessman whose father graduated from Southern Illinois University Carbondale nearly 60 years ago will kick off the annual International Festival on campus, which runs Tuesday, Feb. 13, through Friday, Feb. 16. All events take place at the SIUC Student Center.

In 1947, Saad Jabr traveled from Iraq to Carbondale to enroll as a freshman at SIUC. Although other international scholars were studying here prior to his arrival, Jabr was the first foreign student to graduate with a bachelor's degree. Thus, this year marks the 60th anniversary of international education at SIUC.

Jabr is now a prominent businessman in Baghdad and his son, Tony Jabr of Murphysboro, is following in his footsteps. The younger Jabr will be a guest speaker at the festival's opening ceremony at 7 p.m. on Feb. 13 in Student Center Ballroom D.

The festival also features entertainment and cuisine from around the world. "The International Festival is the largest multi-cultural event of its type at SIUC," said Carla E. Coppi, interim director of International Programs and Services. Students from more than 100 different countries come together once each year to celebrate their cultures.

The International Student Council and Special Programs and Center Events at the Student Center coordinate the event.

The full schedule follows:

Tuesday, Feb. 13

• Irish Cuisine, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Old Main Restaurant. The buffet costs $6.50.

• International Programs & Services Reception, 6 p.m., J.W. Corker Lounge. Free.

• Opening ceremony, 7 p.m., Ballroom D. Free.

• Latin American dance group, "Calle Sur," 7:30 p.m., Ballroom D. Free.

Wednesday, Feb. 14

• Arabic Cuisine, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Old Main Restaurant. The buffet costs $6.50.

• Food Fair, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Ballrooms. Tickets cost 50 cents each and will be available at the door; some booths will require more than one ticket to sample the fare.

Thursday, Feb. 15

• Asian Cuisine, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Old Main Restaurant. The buffet costs $6.50

Friday, Feb. 16

• International Buffet, 5-7 p.m., Renaissance Room. Tickets are on sale at the central ticket office, second floor of the Student Center. Tickets for SIUC students, seniors and children are $10.25 in advance or $11.50 at the door. General public tickets are $11.25 in advance or $12.50 at the door.

• Cultural Show, 7-9 p.m., Ballrooms. Free.