New look Festival of Cultures is set for Oct. 11-16

Academics Campus & Community Fine Arts Student Features

October 4, 2021

The Festival of Cultures has a new look to it.

This year’s event – from Oct. 11-16 at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University – has been re-imagined and will look different from previous years. However, the festival will still contain some of the key elements from years past.

“Festival of Cultures has traditionally been an evening event featuring student performances, food sampling and a fashion show, all in a single event,” said Malik Stewart, director of Multicultural Student Services at CSB and SJU.

“Over the summer, Multicultural Center staff began looking at how to expand FOC and maximize our ability to promote the diversity in our community. So, we partnered with departments and offices across campus to create a week-long series of culturally themed programming,” Stewart said.

The Multicultural Center partnered with the Literary Arts Institute, the Eugene J. McCarthy Center for Public Policy and Civic Engagement, the Center for Global Education, Fine Arts Programming, Environmental Studies, Campus Ministry, Student Activities and student cultural clubs in executing events during FOC week, Stewart said.

“We hope the new format is well-received by students and other community members. There’s a little something for everyone and multiple opportunities to participate,” he added.

Four events highlight the Festival of Cultures:

Green Card Voices

4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 13 at the Multicultural Center, CSB

Learn the immigration stories of Green Card holders in the CSB/SJU community during a panel discussion at the Multicultural Center.

The panel consists of Heriberto Caballero Gonzalez ‘23, a member of the SJU Senate; Diana Fernandez ‘22, the CSB First Generation coordinator; Aisha Sadik ‘23, assistant manager of the Multicultural Center; and Qiwei Zhang, Multicultural Center assistant director.

The panel will be moderated by Pedro dos Santos, associate professor of political science at CSB/SJU.

Throughout the week, the Multicultural Center – in conjunction with Unitecloud - will be hosting the exhibit “Green Card Voices.” The exhibit features 18 first generation immigrant and refugee stories from 12 different countries of origin, all who live, work and serve in Central Minnesota.

Ranky Tanky

8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 14 at Escher Auditorium, Benedicta Arts Center, CSB

Ranky Tanky (which loosely translates as Work It or Get Funky), is a Grammy Award-winning Charleston, South Carolina-based quintet performing timeless jazz-influenced arrangements of traditional Gullah music. Gullah comes from West African language and means a people blessed by God, and It’s a culture that originated among descendants of enslaved Africans in the sea islands of the southeastern U.S.

South Carolina natives Quentin Baxter (drums and percussion), Kevin Hamilton (bass), Charlton Singleton (trumpet and vocals), and Clay Ross (guitar and vocals) first came together in 1998, fresh out of the College of Charlestown to form a seminal Charleston jazz quartet known as The Gradual Lean.

The group split up to pursue individual careers, but in 2016 Ross decided to reform the group featuring Gullah music, at which point celebrated vocalist Quiana Parler joined the band.

Parler was asked about the importance of Gullah culture by the Rochester (Minnesota) MedCity Beat.

“The importance of that is keeping my culture and the story of my ancestors alive and present on the forefront,” Parler said in the 2021 article. “It's still alive and thriving and our fear is people not understanding that there are still people living on these islands.”

Ranky Tanky released a self-titled debut in 2017, featuring 13 tracks. A second album, “Good Time,” followed in 2019.

This concert is free and open to the public. Please note that attendees must show proof of either a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of the concert with photo ID or proof of full vaccination with photo ID to enter the venue.  

Student Showcase

7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 15 at the Stephen B. Humphrey Theater, SJU

The annual student showcase celebrates and recognizes the diversity through student performances and a cultural fashion show. The event will be streamed live.

“What Color is My Hijab?”

10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 16 at the Multicultural Center, CSB

Hudda Ibrahim wears many different hijabs. The 2013 CSB alumna is an author, community advocate and educator, and her closet is full of hijabs in different styles, patterns and colors.

Bring your family and join Ibrahim for a reading from her new children’s book, “What Color is My Hijab?” (Beaver’s Pond Press, 2020). Ibrahim hopes this book brings joy to the girls who wear hijabs and brings light to all of the people they meet.

The book is written to inspire young people to achieve great things, but is about more than just the hijab. It’s about teaching children the importance of diversity and how young girls can wear the headscarf and be creative, smart, professional women when they grow up.

The Multicultural Center will be giving away free copies of “What Color is My Hijab” for the first 10 guests.

A complete schedule for Festival of Cultures can be found here.

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