NYUAD Celebrates "Karibu Afrika"

On November 19, the NYUAD community celebrated the diversity and richness of African cultures at "Karibu Afrika," an event held in the sculpted garden of NYUAD's Downtown Campus. During the event, students, faculty, and staff had the opportunity to learn more about the food, dance, clothing, and traditions of the different cultures of the African continent. "We wanted to give students a chance to show the University that Africa is a place rich with cultural diversity and to expel the stereotype of a homogenous continent in crisis," said Leena Asfour (NYUAD '14), one of the students who helped organize the event.

"Karibu Afrika" opened with a speech by the Ethiopian Vice Counselor Nigusu Mekonnen, who greeted the NYUAD community and thanked the students who organized the special event. "Africa is the land of tomorrow," he said at the end of his address.

Students, faculty, and staff — along with their guests — enjoyed the event's rich program, which included trivia, arranging a puzzle of Africa, poetry readings (one of which, "Emye, Mother Africa" by freshman Israel Desta, was written specifically for the event), a dance performance, and a fashion show. Before the program started, attendees could also learn more about Africa by looking through the different factsheets and cultural and photo displays that were scattered around the University grounds.

Peter Ndichu (NYUAD '14), the choreographer of the dance performance, said of the routine, "The whole idea behind the dance was to fuse a variety of music from different cultures. The first two songs were Amharic and Ethiopian, performed with Ethiopian dance moves. The last song was French Ivorian performed with Kenyan choreography."

The event was mostly student-organized, with the Cultural Ambassadors (a student group) working in collaboration with NYUAD's Department of Special Events and the Office of Intercultural Affairs. The group hopes to put on two cultural events per semester with National Day being the next one on the list.

Rediet Demissie (NYUAD '14) from Ethiopia was one of the students who contributed much to the organization of the event. "I was working together with Leena in contacting Ethiopian restaurants for catering and borrowing cultural tools, in giving ideas about how the event should go, and in preparing trivia questions for the competition and decorating the campus for the event," she said. "It was very exciting to see other people enjoy the Ethiopian and Egyptian food, and see them dance to African music."