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Release: Immediate

Eighth annual Diversity Day to represent more than 60 cultures

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- More than 60 international and domestic cultures will be represented at the eighth annual Cultural Diversity Day festival, a day-long event at the University of Iowa which typically draws an estimated 5,000 people to Iowa City for games, food and entertainment from around the world.

This year's festival will be from noon - 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8 in the UI Fieldhouse.

This year's highlights include performances by the Black Genesis Dance Theatre, a group of African-Americans at the UI who portray the diversity of the black experience through dance, and the Grant Wood All-City Drum Corps, who recently marched in the inaugural parade in Washington, DC. Other new attractions include Native American storytelling, a Romanian dancer and Indonesian musicians playing the gamelon, a bamboo percussion instrument.

An opening parade will be led by UI President Mary Sue Coleman and more than 150 participants dressed in traditional attire of their home countries.

"People can benefit in a number of ways," said Liz Pearce-Burton, co-chair of the Diversity Day Organization Committee and an assistant director at the UI Office of International Education and Services. "They can meet people from different cultures, not only foreign cultures but different domestic cultures. It's a good starting point for dialogues about cultural similarities and differences. I think it's a great place to meet interesting people."

Cultural Diversity Day is not limited to adults, she said. Primary and secondary school children from Iowa City and Cedar Rapids, and local Girl and Boy Scout chapters participate each year. This year, all Girl Scouts within the Mississippi Valley Girl Scouts Council who attend the event will receive "Explore the Arts" badges.

Festival organizers say they hope the event will encourage respect for diversity throughout the year.

"You cannot just do cultural diversity in one day," Pearce-Burton said. "We really want to get away from the idea that you can do cultural diversity in just one day and for the other 364 days of the year forget about it."

Admission to the Cultural Diversity Day festival is free and the event is open to the public. Those who wish to purchase crafts or food are urged to bring cash since no personal checks or credit cards will be accepted. Parking is available at the UI Recreation Building lot, and free shuttle buses will take passengers to and from the Fieldhouse. Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI sponsored events, and special needs can be accommodated by calling (319)335-9288.

US West Communications is the major corporate sponsor of this event, which is coordinated by the following UI offices and departments: Alumni Association, The School of Art and Art History, Office of Campus Programs and Student Activities; Office of International Education and Services (OIES), Residence Services, Division of Recreational Services; Office of Admissions; Iowa Memorial Union Administration, Opportunity at Iowa; and Special Support Services.

This year's event is dedicated to the memory of Diversity Day Festival Planning Committee member Cindy A. Mackey, who died unexpectedly on Christmas Day. Mackey, who coordinated volunteers for the event, worked for the UI Office of Admissions.

For more information about Cultural Diversity Day, contact Pearce-Burton at (319)335-0335 or Warren Slebos at (319)335-9288.

(Schedule is subject to change.)

All Day -- International Food Festi
MAIN DECK -- Latin American dance
Rm. 515 -- Poster/photo exhibit

12:30 p.m. --
NORTH GYM -- Opening Remarks by UI President Mary Sue Coleman

12:45 p.m. --
MAIN DECK -- Iowa City Tae Kwon Do Club demonstration
NORTH GYM -- International Fashion Show

12:50 p.m. --
Rm. 507 -- American Indian storytelling

1 p.m. --
SOUTH GYM -- Blues Instigators
Rm. 302 -- Japanese language and culture
Rm. 402 -- German language and culture
Rm. 471 -- Tai Chi

l:15 p.m. --
MAIN DECK -- Filipino and Brazilian Martial Arts
AEROBIC RM. 472 -- Palestinian dance

1:30 p.m. --
Rm. 515 -- Iowa City Drum Circle

1:45 p.m. --
NORTH GYM -- Latin American dance
Rm. 461 -- Spanish bingo

2 p.m. --
MAIN DECK -- Aikido
Rm. 515 -- International Folk Dancing

2:15 p.m. --
NORTH GYM -- Performance by Black Genesis Dance Theatre
Rm. E220 -- Latino cooking demonstration
Rm. 461 -- Chinese music, art and activities
Rm. 471 -- French language and culture
Rm. 507 -- African storytelling

2:25 p.m. --
Rm. 461 -- Chinese music, art and activities

2:30 p.m. --
MAIN DECK -- Scottish Highlanders
SOUTH GYM -- Brazilian music

2:45 p.m. --
Rm. 461 -- Chinese music, art and activities
AEROBIC RM. 472 -- Romanian dance
Rm. 507 -- Write your name in Japanese
Rm. 515 -- African games

3 p.m. --
MAIN DECK -- Tae Kwon Do
Rm. 402 -- Spanish/Latin American language and culture

3:05 p.m. --
Rm. 461 -- Chinese music, art and activities

3:10 p.m. --
Rm. E220 -- Indian Cooking Demonstration

3:15 p.m. --
Rm. 302 -- Science program by Women in Science and Engineering and the Women's Resource and Action Center
AEROBIC RM. 472 -- Classical Indian dance by Nupur
Rm. 507 -- Origami
Rm. 511 -- Presentation, "Our Trip to Washington," by Grant Wood All-City Drum Corps
Rm. 515 -- International Activities for children

3:30 p.m. --
MAIN DECK -- Hapkido
NORTH GYM -- Middle Eastern Dance by Carmen Studios
SOUTH GYM -- Voices of Soul

3:45 p.m. --
AEROBIC RM. 472 -- Venezuelan music
Rm. 507 -- Sari demonstration
Rm. 515 -- Poster/photo exhibits

4 p.m. --
SOUTH GYM -- African-American step show
Rm. E220 -- African cooking demonstration

4:10 p.m. --
MAIN DECK -- Pinata breaking
NORTH GYM -- Gamelon (Indonesian musical instrument) performance

4:15 p.m. --
AEROBIC RM. 472 -- Indian dance by Madhushri
Rm. 507 -- Indian hand painting with henna

4:30 p.m. --
MAIN DECK -- Grant Wood All-City Drum Corps