On Mar 18, Wilfrid Laurier University’s Brantford Campus hosted its first Multicultural Gala at Market Square.

The event was hosted by Laurier International in partnership with the Diversity and Equity office. The purpose of the Multicultural Gala was to showcase the culture, achievements and the success of our international students. The event involved information boards, promoting empowerment and education as a means of creating a more open quality of life, advocating equal treatment for everyone. There was also cultural trivia and photo booths for entertainment, followed up by an award ceremony.

The ceremony included a multicultural dinner, with an organized program of performances. The program included a welcoming address for Teeba Alsafar, the international student advisor for Laurier International. “The event is a great opportunity for students to learn and connect with each other, while appreciating their culture ” said Teeba Alsafar.

The event gives students, staff and faculty a chance to build their networks and to be exposed to different traditions in a welcoming atmosphere. The cultural performances helped create this atmosphere through the cultural singer, Tyche Kasweka, a multicultural fashion show and a performance done by LEAF students.

Tyche Kasweka displays the beauty of language performing her song in Swahili, outlining the importance of language in diversity. The multicultural fashion show consisted of traditional clothing, signifying the uniqueness in culture such as the dashiki, an African dress.

The performance done by LEAF students celebrated how Laurier has students of many origins and how accepting different cultures is beneficial to our quality of life.

Tom Lilo gave his opinion on the showcase, “It was cool seeing the talent of our students and how they were able to incorporate both English and Chinese together in their performance.” In between performances awards were given to recognize international students who have shown academic achievement, community involvement and students and faculty who have been involved with global issues on campus, while aiding international students with their needs.

The DEO Activism Award sponsored by the DEO office was given to … for showing the most engagement and activism towards issues of diversity and equity at Wilfrid Laurier. The Most Engaged LEAF Student award sponsored by the LEAF program was given to .. for attending events, while connecting with students and instructors, being active in the classroom and in the Laurier Community. The Most Engaged International Student award sponsored by The Student Union was given to.. for attending events, while connecting with students, staff and faculty in and out of the classroom. The Most Engaged Domestic Student award, sponsored by the ISAB was given to .. for attending internationally focused events and being active within the intercultural community of Brantford. The Highest Achieving International Student award sponsored by Students Affairs was given to .. for achieving the highest GPA in the Fall of 2015. Finally, the Most Engaged Faculty Member award sponsored by Laurier International was given to …for being the most engaged in internationalizing the campus.

The awards ceremony ended with a vote of thanks by Pelumi Ajadi, leaving the gala available for the attendees to socialize. Sharyne Williams gave insight on the success of the event, stating, “this is the first Multicultural Gala for Laurier Brantford, the ceremony shows how we are all here to support our international students with their achievements and is a great way to connect”.

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