This past weekend, the University of North Dakota’s International Center held the Feast of Nations. The event marks the 60th Feast of Nations the university has put on and was themed “the year of the diamond.” The event is known throughout the Midwest, with people from all over coming out to see the marvelous performances.
The evening started with a red carpet where everyone gathered to have photographs taken in their formal attire. Once people had their photos taken, they migrated to the main event. Flags from all over the world lined the hallway to form a grand entrance for the attendees. Once inside, the room was lit up with lights, strobes, and energy from the performers. While waiting for the food and main performances to begin, tables lined wall showcasing different cultures. Notable ones were the Korean table, where there were handmade miniature sculptures of Korea’s famous landmarks. China’s table had people painting Chinese characters on gift wrap for people to take home.
When the hosts took the stage, they accompanied the International Center’s President, members, and advisors. After the introductions, the committee welcomed Mayor Brandon Bochenski to say a few words. The mayor shared stories about the different cultures he has traveled to and learned more about, as well as stating that “Having served as mayor for nearly two years, I’ve seen the passion, the resilience, and the downright tenacity of our
community.” The end of his speech was met with applause and a toast for what was to come.
The following person to take the stage was Dr. Tamba-Kuii Bailey, Special Assistant to the President for Diversity and Inclusion for UND. Dr. Bailey extended a welcome from President Andy Armacost, for he could not be there as he was accepting an award in San Diego. He spoke about how the first Feast of Nations took place in 1961 and the true meaning is to share cultures with everyone from everywhere. He says, “The Feast of Nations reminds us that our community stretches beyond the borders of the United States. The Feast of Nations is a time to acknowledge the significant impact, the contributions, and the value of our international brothers and sisters, who make up who we are as UND and as a Grand Forks community.” He transitions into introducing Andy Armacost, who chimed in via a pre-made video to welcome everyone to the event.
As the courses came out, performers took the stage. A variety of people, dances, songs, and art took place in the building. Throughout the night, the crowd enjoyed Spirit Lake Dances, Somali Youth Dances, and Julissa Miller. There was music and song from Marco Castillo, who was accompanied by a beautiful dancer who rose the crowd from their chairs. Bing of Nation was also in attendance, hailing from Bangladesh.
All and all, the 60th Annual Feast of Nations was indeed “a diamond in the rough.” With the last Feast of Nations taking place online the previous year, the audience was ready to be back in person to view the diverse and wonderful culture that was shared.
Claire Arneson is a Dakota Student General Reporter. She can be reached at [email protected]