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UMFK's first "World Culture Week" to feature diverse food, music, presentations and fun

October 22, 2004



University of Maine at Fort Kent students Pryanka Pisharoti of Ahmedabad, India and Sherwin Britton of Tinidad and Tobago are dressed in their native attire. Both are involved in the planning of the upcoming "World Culture Week" at UMFK.

The University of Maine at Fort Kent will be holding a week-long series of celebrations, November 1 through 5, to honor the rich cultural heritage of the campus community and to celebrate the diverse culture of its student body.

"World Culture Week", will bring together UMFK faculty, staff, students and St. John Valley community members for five days of events designed to raise awareness about the many different cultures represented on the Fort Kent campus.

All events being planned at the University are open to the public, and campus officials are hoping many community members take advantage of the opportunity to learn about the diversity found at their local college.

"UMFK is proud to present its second annual World Culture Week with an expanded program and presenters from around the state of Maine, Canada, and the 17 countries represented by our student body," said Raymond Phinney, assistant director of residential life and diversity programming, and coordinator of the events. "A lot of hard work has gone into the planning of world culture week by many individuals on campus. The week is packed full of presentations, poetry, knowledge, music, food, and fun. There is something for everyone from every corner of the world."

Festivities will begin with a lecture on the Philosophy of Bhagavad Gita by Vladimir Suchan, assistant professor of interdisciplinary studies, in the Nadeau Hall teleconference room at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, November 1.

Bhagavad-gita, the essence of India's spiritual wisdom and the answers to questions posed by philosophers for centuries, is knowledge of five basic truths and the relationship of each truth to the other. These five truths are Krishna, or God, the individual soul, the material world, action in this world, and time. The Gita lucidly explains the nature of consciousness, the self, and the universe.

On Tuesday, November 2 at 11:00 a.m., Dariel Jacobs, director of student teaching, will conduct a round table discussion on teaching diversity in the Nadeau Hall teleconference room.

On Wednesday, November 3, at 11:00 a.m., Dave Hobbins, professor of forestry and environmental studies, will present Two Fallen Peoples: The Anasazi and Hopewell Cultures in the Nadeau Hall teleconference room.

Two Fallen Peoples is a presentation of the two cultures and their architecture and a look at the factors that may have led to their disappearance. Hobbins will not speak as a professional, but as an amateur who has visited several archeological sites and who has an interest in archeology and culture.

"Our faculty brings with them a wealth of knowledge and they will be presenting on topics that are not always covered in the classroom. Local presenters will talk about the rich local heritage that makes Fort Kent a shining jewel in Northern Maine," said Phinney.

Variances in the French Language will be hosted by Marie Anne Gauvin on Thursday, November 4 at 11:00 a.m. in the Grindle Conference room.

Gauvin is an active promoter of the French language who is a member of both the Maine Acadian Heritage Council and Le Club Francais.

A round table discussion entitled: Why we came to UMFK, featuring a discussion among the campus's international students will be held at the Nowland Hall faculty dining room on November 4 at 5:00 p.m.

A diversity theme meal will be held on Friday, November 5 at 11:00 a.m. in Nowland Hall. This event will give people the chance to try a variety of dishes from around the world. A similar event was held during UMFK's Come to Campus Days event and was deemed a huge success.

Tickets are $5.00 and are available through the student services office or at the door on the day of the event.

Immediately following the theme meal, a Bag Piper will perform in the Fox Auditorium at 1:00 p.m. Admission is free for UMFK students and $2.00 per person for the general public at the door.

Sean Fluet of Madison, Maine will be playing traditional jigs, reels and marches on the bagpipes while Rebecca Currie, a UMFK student from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia will be adding to the event with a demonstration of traditional highland dancing. This event adds to the mix of events during the week and celebrates the Scottish and Celtic influences of the area.

The week will be topped off by a "Good Ole Country Hoe Down" at 9:00 p.m. in Nowland Hall. Admission is free and snacks will be provided.

"World Culture Week" will actually spill over into the following week at UMFK.

On Friday, November 12 at 7:00 p.m. in the Fox Auditorium, UMFK diversity programming will present "American Voices", a dramatic presentation by the Los Angeles Theatre Group, which speaks to the attitudes, beliefs and hopes of Americans in the face of a new millennium.

"Voices" is a riveting one-person play of nine stories based upon the real lives and recollections of Americans.

The production features accounts of where diversity lives and breaths, its reality and where Americans think it is going. Not only does "Voices" address the concerns of ethnicity, it also challenges the issues of ability, sexual orientation, religion and socio-economics.

"UMFK represents many different cultures, countries, religions, and orientations through its student population. The presentation of 'American Voices' is another way to represent the students on our campus by the telling of stories that affect us all," added Phinney.

Admission to the performance is free to UMFK students and $3 for the general public.

All events are open to the general public and campus officials encourage the community to participate.