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University of Iowa News Release

Dec. 5, 2003

UI Cultural Diversity Festival Set For Feb. 29

The 14th Annual Celebrating Cultural Diversity Festival (CCDF) will be Sunday, Feb. 29 from noon to 5 p.m. at the University of Iowa Field House. This year's theme is "Voices of the World."

More than 100 diverse cultures, both international and domestic, will highlight a variety of ethnic foods, arts & crafts, music, sports, fashion and other activities. Not only does the festival offer fun for adults and children, it also offers attendees an opportunity to explore ways in which their own unique cultural backgrounds intersect with other cultures from around the world, bridging our global community.

Performers this year include: Ashanti, a Latin jazz band; The Beggar Man, a traditional and original Irish group; Bahri Karacay & Turkana, a Turkish music band; Mirage, a Middle Eastern dance troupe; and Quad City Ballet Folklorico, a Latin dance group.

In addition, a food drive will be held at this year's festival for "Table to Table," a local food rescue organization for the hungry and homeless. All those who attend are asked to bring a canned good or non-perishable food item to donate to the food shelter.

"Above all else, The University of Iowa is a marketplace of ideas," said UI President David Skorton. "The give-and-take of wide perspectives and varied worldviews provides the richest of learning environments. The essence of this marketplace, and our educational mission, is diversity in all dimensions. Everyday, we at the UI undertake initiatives and activities that embrace and educate about diversity, and I am proud of them all. One of the most significant of these events is the Celebrating Cultural Diversity Festival, when we celebrate our many national origins with dignity and showcase our respective cultural contributions to the community with pride. Given today's world geo-political situation, the understanding that comes from celebrating cultural diversity has never been more important."

The event is sponsored by the UI Celebrating Cultural Diversity Festival Committee (CCDF). Some of the UI offices and departments involved in the planning of CCDF include: Opportunity at Iowa, Office of Admissions, Office of Support Service Programs, Office of International Students & Scholars-International Programs, Office of Student Life, Office of Residence Services, Division of Recreational Services and several UI student representatives and volunteers.

Paresh Bhanderi of the CCDF encouraged students to attend and to participate. "Students can join the organizing committee and serve on a variety of sub-committees," he said. "They can volunteer and help with set-up, execution of programs, and tear down for the day. Students involved in organizations can set up information booths. They can even do a program using dance, poetry, song, or anything creative, or they can participate in the fashion show."

For more information about the festival, see the CCDF website at:

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Service, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Snee, 319-384-0010,