Cultural Night might be Clarion University’s best kept secret – but it shouldn’t be.
As part of the university's Academic Excellence Series, international students took the audience around the globe with dancing, songs, food and a student presentation. The Clarion International Association and Clarion Students' Association sponsored the event.
Those in attendance munched on appetizers from Cyprus and Egypt, while students carried in flags from their home countries and introduced themselves.
The AJNA Dance Company entertained the crowd by performing traditional Indian style dances and at one point, the group taught some people from the audience some of their moves.
The Clarion University Chamber Singers also entertained with "Bonzorno Madonna" by Antonio Scandello and "Tshepa Thapelo," a Sotho Folk Song arranged by Ruth Morris Gray.
The crowd feasted on the main courses of fried rice with chicken to honor China and kabab with vegetables (beef, potatoes and eggplant) to honor Saudi Arabia.
International student Kareem Felfel gave a photo presentation on his home country of Egypt.
"There's really nothing to talk about in Egypt," he quipped as a he showed a picture of the desert in Egypt. He then switched to a picture of exciting nightlife in Egypt.
Felfel gave a quick tour through the various parts of Egypt with well-known sites such as the Pyramids, the Egyptian Museum, the Alexandria Library, the Valley of the Kings, the Red Sea and various Arabian architecture famous throughout the towns in Egypt. He also pointed out the Sinai Peninsula – his favorite place – where the famous Mount Sinai is located.
He also showed lesser-known parts of Egypt such as South Egypt, which he said also seems like a different country even to him. The belief is that their language is the same language Ancient Egyptians spoke.
"Every place is different from the other," Felfel said of Egypt.
He also said his high school teacher joined him in Egypt a year ago even though his teacher was afraid of traveling there. However, Felfel said it is safe to travel to Egypt despite media reports to the contrary. Felfel said the tourism industry has suffered since the Arab Spring.
Felfel and fellow international students, Abdullah Almerab and Elli Joannidou, each won the Sitzman Award, a scholarship given to international students who embrace academic achievement; and work to promote international programs and services.
Marcy Schlueter, who leads international programs, said Felfel received this scholarship because of his commitment to academic achievement. He has been accepted into the honors program for next year.
Almerab received the award because of the lengths he goes to serve his fellow international students by taking them to the airport and bus station.
"He's their personal Uber," Schlueter said.
Joannidou, who is a returning adult student, is always going the extra mile for international programs and is professional in everything she does, Schlueter said of why she received the award.
Dr. William Naugle, English as a second language coordinator, also briefly spoke about study abroad opportunities for students. Some of the opportunities include students traveling to Iceland and Costa Rica this summer.