February 08, 2012

Popular International Festival opens Feb. 15

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- In celebration of people and cultures around the world and of the diversity within, Southern Illinois University Carbondale welcomes International Festival 2012 this month.

The event dates back at least to the opening of the Student Center in 1962 and it has played host every year since.  Organizers are celebrating the half-century birthday with the theme “Celebrating Our Past.  Rejuvenating Our Future” for the 2012 International Festival.  The festival features several special events on Feb. 15 and 17. 

“You can tour the world without leaving Carbondale,” Carla Coppi, director of International Programs and Services, said.

Kicking things off is the Parade of Flags.  International students will assemble at the Northwest Annex about 10 a.m. on Feb. 15, dressed in native attire and carrying the flags of their nations.  The parade will wind its way past Anthony Hall where Chancellor Rita Cheng and other campus dignitaries will join in as it continues to the J.W. Corker Lounge at the Student Center. They’ll arrive there for the International Festival Proclamation and University Welcome at 10:30 a.m.

The International Food Fair follows, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Student Center Ballrooms.  Students will be serving up their native cuisine and everyone is welcome.  You can sample appetizers, desserts and main dishes from Africa, Bangladesh, China, Latin America, India, Iran, Malaysia, Nepal, Saudi Arabia and Sri Lanka a la carte.  Or, some of the booths even offer full-meal deals with the authentic dishes prepared by students. 

Tickets are 50 cents each and items or meals typically cost from one to 10 tickets.  Buy your tickets at the door or purchase them in advance.  You can buy them at the International Student Council information table in the area near the first floor north escalators between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Feb. 10, 13, and 14 or at the Student Center business office between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Feb. 8-15 (excluding Saturday and Sunday).

The International Festival wraps up with a pair of events on Feb. 17.  The evening begins with the International Buffet in the Renaissance Room from 5 to 7 p.m.

The menu for the International Buffet includes:

•  Appetizers -- fried gyoza with ponzu sauce (Japan), bagna cauda crudite (Piedmont Italy)

•  Salads -- chili lime noodle salad with sesame hoisin vinaigrette (China), white bean antipasto (Spain), and roasted pepper, cucumber and tomato salad (Africa)

•  Soups -- cheddar ale (Germany), cream of mushroom (Italy)

•  Entrees -- kifta meatballs with sweet onions and tomatoes (Arabic), apricot almond chicken (Morocco), red chili wings (Thailand)

• Side dishes -- pearl couscous (Israel), colcannon (Ireland), pisto manchego (Spain), curry-roasted cauliflower with apples and carrot (India)

•  Breads -- grilled pita bread (India), Irish soda bread (Ireland), sourdough baguette (France).

•  Desserts -- pastissets/lemon powdered sugar cookie (Spain), apple brown sugar tort (France) sopaipillas with cinnamon, almonds and honey (Mexico).

Advance tickets for the buffet are $12 for SIU Carbondale students and senior adults, $13 for the general public and $6.75 for children ages 5-10.  At the door, tickets are $1 higher.  Children ages four and younger dine free.  You may purchase tickets at the business office ticket window on the second floor of the Student Center 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday or by calling 618/453-3478.

The grand finale is the International Festival Culture Show at 7 p.m. on Ballrooms B, C and D.    Through song, dance, martial arts, pantomime, choreographed skills and mini-plays, more than 15 student groups will give audience members an up close and personal glimpse of their native lands.  The show is free and open to the public.

“This is a fabulous finale to the festival,” Coppi said.

The International Student Council and the Student Center, with assistance from International Programs and Services, are coordinating the 2012 International Festival.  For more information, visit www.siucstudentcenter.org or call 618/453-3438.