The University Center at The University of Montana will become a venue for global sights, sounds and aromas at the 22nd annual International Culture and Food Festival on Sunday, March 24. More than 400 students from 70 countries will participate in the festival, with the theme “Grizzlies Across the Globe.”
The festival will feature a world food bazaar, international culture show, children’s world, ethnic cultural pavilions and a silent auction of international arts and crafts. A parade of flags will kick off the festival at noon, and all activities will run until 5 p.m. Admission costs $5 for the general public and $3 for children 12 and under.
The food bazaar in the UC Atrium will feature authentic dishes from 20 regions of the world. Food is priced from 50 cents to $4 and will include Filipino chicken adobo, Greek souvlaki, Brazilian brigadeiro and beijinho, Middle Eastern dolmas, Vietnamese pork barbecue and noodles, Swedish meatballs, Turkish gevirme kebab and Ethiopian injera and doro wat.
The five-hour, nonstop and lively international culture show on the third floor of the UC will include more than 30 traditional and contemporary performances such as the Japanese dance “Soran Bushi,” Bollywood and Tajik dances, Missoula International School and Lewis and Clark Elementary Peace choirs, Australian didgeridoo music, the Celtic Dragon Pipe Band, an African fashion show and Polynesian dances from students at UM Western in Dillon.
Children’s world in the UC Commons on the second floor will present an imaginative children’s festival with more than 25 events featuring hands-on, fun intercultural activities. Children can participate in games, dances, storytelling, multi-ethnic crafts and origami, as well as meet people from different cultures. Kids will be issued “passports” and can earn “world citizen” status by completing activities. At the same time, the Montana International Children’s Film Festival will feature short films from Italy, Portugal, the U.K, Japan and Sweden for children ages 4 to 8 in the UC Theater on the third floor.
Cultural pavilions in the UC Ballroom will present displays from individual countries and internationally focused local organizations, making the festival an inspiration for those hoping to make international connections here in Missoula. Displays will include colorful information about countries, a world-items market and information booths.
The Missoula International Friendship Program will have sign-up information for those interested in becoming a Community Friend to incoming UM international students. From noon to 4 p.m., MIFP also will hold a silent auction featuring international arts, crafts and a special dinner offered by former MIFP Community Friends UM President Royce Engstrom and his wife, Mary. The auction raises funds to continue making Missoula a welcoming place for UM’s international students and scholars.
The festival is sponsored by the UM International Student Association and Foreign Student and Scholar Services. This year the festival will partner with Altrusa International of Missoula to promote their service organization and to solicit funds for college scholarships, including for UM’s international students.
For more information call Francesca Cellini, president of the UM International Student Association, at 406-241-3312 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.