Under the theme of “Peace Throughout the World,” 30 countries were represented by their student-based cultural clubs at American University of Sharjah’s (AUS) 15th annual Global Day festival March 14– 15.
The festivities were held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qassimi, Supreme Council Member, Ruler of Sharjah and President of AUS, and were inaugurated by Sheikh Sultan Bin Ahmed Bin Sultan Al Qassimi, Chairman of Sharjah Media Corporation.
Home to over 85 nationalities, AUS has been keen on providing students the platform to practice their traditions and represent their cultures freely. Global Day is one of many events done to celebrate the multicultural community found at AUS.
History and Modern Times Meet
Pavilion themes varied from club to club. Some themes contextualized history in a cultural setting. “Returning to my home is our theme this year,” noted the Palestinian Cultural Club’s (PCC) President Ayman Jaber. “Our pavilion is like a village,” he added.
The center of the PCC’s corner was Jerusalem’s Dome of the Rock, which was surrounded by shops; a coffee shop and a kids-play-area. Inside the dome, people were asked to express solidarity with Palestine by writing their name, country and “I, too, am Palestinian” on a paper. “Sheikh Sultan Bin Ahmed was one of the first to write their name,” said Jaber.
Other clubs represented their countries’ modern appeal. The Qatari Cultural Club’s (QCC) design was a football stadium, referring to Qatar hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup. “We’re offering students the chance to see the stadium Qatar is building to host the cup,” said the QCC’s Public Relations Coordinator Aysha Al Mansoori.
Other pavilions had visitors interacting by writing on walls, taking pictures while dressed in traditional attire, and have their names written in different languages. Some clubs had performances within their pavilions. The Sudanese Cultural Club, for instance, enacted a traditional wedding in each of the two days.
Onstage Performances Emphasize Unity
Opening speech by the AUS Student Council and onstage Fashion Show on Thursday, March 14.
Onstage performances were the highlight of the festivities, as many clubs sought to express unity despite political unrest in their home countries. On each of the two nights, the performances began with a traditional fashion show that included members of all performing clubs and the Emirati Cultural Club performance.
On Friday, the Egyptian Cultural Club had a dance that incorporated all of Egypt’s cities. Towards the end of their act, they began reciting poetry on the importance of the responsibility of freedom, unity despite upheaval and honoring martyrs.
After reciting poems by Nizar Qabbani on the beauty of Syria, the Syrian Cultural Club (SCC did a silent play that subtly called for unity between all Syrians. “The SCC did an excellent job highlighting Syrian culture and traditions back home,” said AUS alumnus Amr Habbal. “They succeeded in diminishing all current differences between Syrians.”
Perspectives of Student Organizers
Students worked hard alongside the Office of Student Activities staff throughout the semester on their pavilions and onstage performances.
“This is one of the best ways to find out how multicultural AUS is,” said the Korean Cultural Club Executive Secretary, Rini Sardesai. “It’s so interesting to see how people are interested in Korean culture.”
Global Day gives students the chance to learn about new cultures, and embody theirs as well, noted Al Mansoori.
Article by Nour Al-Ali. Nour is an English Literature and Mass Communication double major junior at the American University of Sharjah.
For more information about American University of Sharjah, please visit www.aus.edu