The popular celebration of world culture at the American University of Sharjah brings together diverse nationalities for a festival of dance, music and drama

A traditional dance performance ...

Thousands of visitors toured various “countries” during American University of Sharjah’s 7th Annual Global Day event, held on campus recently.

In the AUS calendar, Global Day is the “most prestigious” event of the year, according to Dr Moa’za Al Shehhi, Vice-Chancellor for Student Affairs.

Majority of the student body takes active participation in hosting the event, preparing stage performances and stalls in a manner similar to that seen at Dubai’s Global Village.

The event takes place under the patronage of His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah.

It is organised by the Office of Student Affairs, together with 30 student clubs, and charities and community-based organisations in Sharjah.

This year, Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah, inaugurated the event.

Four main areas were set up. These were the World Bazaar, Children’s Corner, Food Fair and two Cultural Performance stages (indoor and outdoor).

The World Bazaar brought out the traditions unique to countries. There was singing and dancing and question-and-answer sessions at various stalls selling traditional items.

Among the visitors were the elderly from the Sharjah Old People’s Home, who joined students in some of the cultural dances.

The AUS Women’s Association took care of the Children’s Corner.

The Food Fair had restaurants highlighting the cuisine from various countries.

All the world on a stage
Stage events on the first day opened with a display of national dress from all participating countries.

This was followed by performances by campus clubs starting with the Indian Cultural Club.

The other clubs that took part included the Islamic, Lebanese, Sudanese, Palestinian, Iranian, Syrian and Pakistani.

Their presentations varied from plays, the depiction of a traditional wedding and how a country’s film industry affects its culture.

The activities provided the students with an opportunity to organise and participate in the event. They handled everything, including costumes and choreography.

With students from diverse cultures working together, the day was a perfect illustration of the AUS community working towards their common motto of Peace Throughout the World.

Hard work
Akbar Moideen, President of the Indian Cultural Club, said that during Global day “students learn the value of teamwork, time management and responsibility all of which are valuable lessons to learn for a future working life and life in general.”

He said that as a result of the festive atmosphere on campus, students were more enthusiastic in taking part of the event.

“I can’t believe all this is happening so close to my dorms,” said Farhiya Kalim, a Pakistani student.

Watching the university being transformed into an exhibition of colour and culture was very enjoyable, she said.

Alia Kazim, a UAE national student, was one among many students who witnessed the preparations that took place for Global Day.

“It is obvious that a lot of effort has been put into it,” she said.

“All the preparations were juggled with academic responsibilities. It has turned out to be an unforgettable event.”

Magda Hinda, a Palestinian-Polish student, said, “Global Day makes us globally connected.”

For Magda, the festival was an eye-opener of sorts - she learned the nationalities of so many students she regularly meets on campus.

Global Day has been held at AUS every year, except 2003.

Students interviewed during this year’s event said it helped foster harmony among groups who take pride, not only in representing their culture, but also in learning about and representing nationalities other than their own.

Saad Zaman, President of the Bangladeshi Cultural Club, said, “This year I’ve prepared a stall for the Bengali club, directed a play for the Indian club and acted in a play for the Palestinian club.

“I like to identify myself as simply an AUS student as opposed to a Bangladeshi AUS student because I don’t want nationality to be a factor preventing me from being active in all sections of the AUS community.

“Global Day to me was not just about planning dances and organising pavilions,” said Kenyan-Yemeni student Eman Ahmad, “but to bring countries of the world together, celebrate AUS’s cultural diversity and even if for just two days, bring peace throughout the world.”

The writer is a student of marketing, management and journalism at the American University of Sharjah