ISCO holds annual festival this Thursday

Published 11:00 pm Tuesday, November 19, 2013

For most people, experiencing 50 foreign cultures would take a lifetime of travel. For attendees of Troy University’s International Student Cultural Organization (ISCO) Festival, it will only take one night.

Troy’s ISCO is holding its 27th annual Festival this Thursday evening at 5:30 p.m. in the Trojan Center Ballrooms.

Joe McCall, ISCO’s faculty advisor said the festival is part of a larger celebration. “Every year, ISCO puts on its festival as part of International Education Week at Troy,” McCall said. “The last event is always the ISCO Festival. This is the twenty-seventh year of the festival. It has become a long-standing tradition at Troy.”

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Nyari Chanakira, a second semester junior from Harare, Zimbabwe, is the president of ISCO. She said the purpose of the festival is to highlight the various cultures present on Troy’s campus. “Our main goal is to highlight and celebrate international life and festivals,” Chanakira said. “We want to show how Troy embraces international students, whether they be regular students, athletes or faculty.”

The festival will feature 11 acts performed by international students studying at Troy. “We have a concert that features all the different talents of the international students,” Chanakira said. “We have acts from, China, Africa and Nepal. We have everything from everywhere. There will be a raffle to give away souvenirs from different countries around the world. We also have a parade of flags from the 69 countries we represent.”

While festival-goers are being entertained by the international talent, they will be able to sample different foods from all across the world. “The festival involves a full dinner.” McCall said. “The students decide on the menu and work with the food service workers to create foods from all over the world. The dinner will be served buffet style.”

Chanakira said she hops Troy students will seize the opportunity to meet students who come from diverse backgrounds. “We want students to leave with a broader understanding of the world,” Chanakira said. “We want them to learn something new about different cultures. We hope they will use this opportunity to communicate with international students. We want international students and local students to build relationships. Most importantly, we want them to leave with the memory of having learned something new about a different culture.”

Even though Troy residents and international students may seem to have little in common, Chanakira said they share one important feature. “We are Trojans one and all,” Chanakira said. “We represent 69 countries, but at the heart of Troy in the state of Alabama, we come together as Trojans. We want attendees to embrace the diversity of Troy and also to walk away with a sense of unity. Had it not been for this institution, we would never have the opportunity to meet students from Uzbekistan or Africa or Bay Minette. We have been given a great opportunity to learn from one another.”

For people interested in learning more about foreign cultures, Chanakira extended an invitation to attend one of ISCO’s weekly meetings. “ISCO holds its weekly meeting every Thursday at 7 p.m. in Trojan Center 119,” Chanakira said. “We have presentations from students about their home countries, and we always try to have something new each week. We invite everyone to stop by and see what we have going on.”

Chanakira sent out a “big invitation” to everyone in the community to come and enjoy the festival.

Tickets can be purchased by contacting Maria Figge at (334)-808-6146. Tickets are $15 for the general public and $10 for ISCO members.