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University of Iowa News Release


Feb. 12, 2009

University of Iowa presents Cultural Diversity Festival Feb. 22

The University of Iowa will host the 20th annual Celebrating Cultural Diversity Festival from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 22, at the UI Field House.

The festival provides an opportunity to promote the more than 100 diverse nationalities represented in the student body. International and domestic cultures will be represented by demonstrations of customs, traditions and world perspectives in a fun and social event. With thousands of people attending every year, Celebrating Cultural Diversity Festival has become the second-largest non-athletic event sponsored by the UI. Part of the 10,000 Hours show, the event is free and open to the public.

The festival continues to create cross-cultural interactions and deeper appreciation and understanding through activities such as live music, dance, arts and crafts, sports demonstrations, children's activities and food.

Featured performances this year include BF Burt, Turkana, Charism, Acoustic Mayhem, Java Jews, Argentine Dance Group, Noopur Dance Group, Filipino-American Society, Shira Bellydancing and Bharatha Natyam.

Informational sessions on Gullah and Buddhist cultures will also be offered, as well as demonstrations on Kung Fu, Hapkido and Vietnamese traditional dance, and swing and Latin dance lessons.

Food available for purchase includes Native American fry bread, Hunan Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Greek, Indian, Chinese bubble tea and American food. The arts and crafts area offers hand-made goods for sale such as embroidered handbags, festive paper flowers, and hand-knit sweaters. Revenues from sales at the student-sponsored booths go directly to UI student organizations.

The Children's Global Village and World Passport program will be offered again this year. The global village will include interactive storytelling, arts and crafts, and global music rooms; and the world passport allows children to explore other cultures from around the world.

"The world passports allow children to learn about different regions and stamp their passports, enabling them to win family passes to the Children's Museum. In addition, the Iowa City Community School District elementary school with the most passports turned in will have an opportunity for lunch with Herky," said Marcella David, associate provost for diversity and chair for Cultural Diversity Day.

The festival is partnering with Associate Residence Halls to sponsor a canned food drive; attendees can bring canned food items that will be distributed to community shelters and food banks.

David said the goal of the event is to bring people from different international and domestic cultures together to learn about, from and with each other. It was designed to interest more Iowans in learning about cultures different than their own and to widen their cultural horizons, and also gives students and scholars from under-represented cultures the opportunity to share new and different aspects of their culture with members of the university and surrounding communities.

Organizers of this event seek to attract UI students, faculty and staff, members of the Iowa City and Coralville communities, people from surrounding communities, primary and secondary school children from Iowa City, Coralville, and Cedar Rapids as well as organizations such as Girl Scouts, from the local and surrounding areas.

Free parking is available in the lot west of Kinnick Stadium. Additional parking is available in Lots 6, 14, and Hospital Ramp IV at 85 cents per hour.

In case of inclement weather, call the Field House at 319-335-9293.

The Celebrating Cultural Diversity Festival is made possible with the support of: the Academic Advising Center, College of Law, College of Education Diversity Committee, College of Public Health, College of Nursing, Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Department of Health and Sport Studies, Department of Pharmacology, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Honors Program, International Programs, Iowa Children's Museum, Recreational Services, Target, UI Community Credit Union, UI Staff Council, Admissions, Associate Provost for Diversity, B4 Brands, Belin-Blank Center, CDE, Special Assistant to the President for Equal Opportunity and Diversity, UI Civic Engagement Program and the Women Resource and Action Center.

For more information visit

For special accommodations to attend this event, call 319-335-1424.

See video of the 2008 Celebrating Cultural Diversity Festival at

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Marcella David, Associate Provost, 319-335-0705,; George McCrory, University News Services, 319-384-0012,; Writer: Megan McIntyre