Acadia community celebrates cultural diversity, international students

Kirk Starratt
Published on March 13, 2016

WOLFVILLE - It was a way to celebrate the diversity of the Acadia University community and discover the many things people of different cultural backgrounds have in common.

The university hosted ‘A Night of Cultural Celebration’ at the Fountain Commons March 12 with various musical and dance performances, a global fashion show, international cuisine, a photo contest and more.

Banquet chairwoman and international education intern with Acadia’s Wong International Centre Nhyira Gyasi-Denteh said Wolfville is very diverse and sometimes we forget to recognize the various cultural backgrounds that make up that mosaic.

“We try to bring together all the countries represented at Acadia to celebrate culture with Acadia faculty and students as well as the local community,” Gyasi-Denteh said.

She said the event is an opportunity to “celebrate one another and learn from each other” and it’s important to be open-minded to new experiences.

Coordinator of the Acadia Student Union’s Centre for Global Education Lauren Murray said cultural diversity is an important aspect of the Acadia community. She said it’s important to continue facilitating dialogue and to celebrate what makes each culture unique.

Acadia vice president of enrollment and student services Susan Mesheau said the event was organized completely by international students.

“This is a wonderful way to share culture and it also is a wonderful way to help us all appreciate that whenever people get together, we can delight in our many differences and discover our many things in common,” Mesheau said.

Reverend Tim McFarland, who gave grace prior to the banquet, said the fact that people in the global microcosm of Acadia chose to exchange, learn and connect with one another makes a statement that he is confident will be taken outside the walls of the university.

“We have people building invisible walls based upon origins and what you chose to do, an act of will, to meet together and break bread with one another is more than just a simple meal,” McFarland said.

He encouraged members of the Acadia community to continue “that positive, wall breaking, hatred breaking energy of compassion” and to continue making the world a better place.

By the numbers

-       Acadia vice president of enrollment and student services Susan Mesheau said Canada ranks seventh as the most popular destination in the world for international students.

-       About 350,000 international students study here, an 83 per cent increase over 10 years ago.

-       About 12 per cent of the student body at Acadia is international students, representing more than 50 countries.

-       Almost three quarters of Canadian universities engage in initiatives to internationalize curriculum, coordinating activities that develop all students’ international perspectives and integrating perspectives of international students into classroom learning.