NYUAD's Asian Night Celebrates Heritage and Culture

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On April 12, an oriental breeze rushed through NYU Abu Dhabi's Downtown Campus garden as the University community and visitors from the Asian community in Abu Dhabi gathered together to celebrate Asian Night, hosted by the NYUAD Office of Intercultural Affairs. Students representing Vietnam, South Korea, Japan, Indonesia, Taiwan, the Philippines, and China manned booths displaying their peoples' unique heritages. Adorned in traditional clothes, students served the best of their cultures' cuisines from the festively decorated booths, proudly introducing their customs to event participants.

The night also included seven performances: a Japanese koto performance, an iaijutsu sword demonstration, a K-pop dance, and singing performances featuring songs from Indonesia, China, Korea, and the Phiippines.

Filipino freshman Geo Kamus, who sang "Oo" by Up Dharma Down with sophomore Gabrielle Garcia, overcame his nervousness to honor the Filipino community in the UAE through his performance. "It was left to us to represent the Philippines and so we wanted to put our best foot forward. We also wanted the piece to be a tribute to the Filipino community in general, especially here in the UAE. We Filipinos have a lot of heart and I hope we showed that," said Kamus.

NYUAD was also honored to welcome Azmi Chang, director general of the Commercial Office of the Republic of China, and Filipino Ambassador H.E. Grace Relucio Princesa to the event. The two guests greeted participants and shared their enthusiasm on stage.

According to sophomore Christine Hristova, the main student coordinator of the event and representative of Taiwan, Asian Night enhanced cultural intermingling "within and outside the NYUAD community by introducing cultures." She said, "People are more aware of the differences in the countries and they are happy to know more about us."

"In day-to-day life, it is rather impractical to always dress in traditional dress, or perform songs which are not in English or more widely spoken languages in the NYUAD community," said sophomore Judy Mei, who represented China. "But a night like Asian Night encourages students to display their differences — to be proud of their distinct heritages and to teach their fellow students about their countries."