The International Ethnic Associations Council (IEAC) held Concordia’s very first Cultural Diversity Week last week, and chances are it will happen again in the coming years.
“The week exceeded all our expectations,” said IEAC chairman Marvin Coleby. “All the events went incredibly well. In total, approximately 1,000 people showed up and each one of them left with some appreciation of our cultures on campus.”
By organizing this event, the IEAC aimed to promote Concordia’s vast panel of origins and cultures, and get students to know more about the history of multiculturalism on campus. The IEAC, which acts as an umbrella association, organized the week with the participation of all the ethnic clubs and cultural associations on campus.
“We looked at what each club does on a daily basis and took it on a university level for an entire week,” explained Coleby.
The week was comprised of a total four events, going from a multicultural fair with music, food and dancing, to a night at the Hive with the participation of the Arts and Science Federation of Associations and the Concordia Student Union.
“This initiative is amazing, especially for us ethnic clubs,” said Latin American Student Organization president Juliana Ramos-Bravo. “A space like this gave us the opportunity to share our beautiful cultures and traditions with other students. I believe this week is worth keeping at Concordia.”
Coleby said the university administration gave great feedback and he was confident the Cultural Diversity Week would rematerialize next year.
“The idea of learning about different cultures is great,” said student Melissa Lemieux. “Although, they should have enticed people to ask more questions about the culture and the food so that we get a lunch-and-learn type of atmosphere. I felt people were mostly here for the free food.”
The idea of a cultural diversity week was born from the success of the Cultural Expressions Show, an event that has been recurrent for years, and organizers thought it would be ideal to make it a week-long event, promoting not one specific culture, but culture in general.
“We are one of the most diverse schools in the country and there is no reason why there shouldn’t be a week to celebrate these cultures,” Coleby added. “Spreading an appreciation of culture is combating discrimination and ignorance, and I think we were successful in doing so.”
The funds raised during Cultural Diversity Week will go entirely to the Montreal Centre for Sociocultural Action, and more specifically to an after-school help program for children of immigrant families.
For those who missed the first events, there remains the Cultural Week closing party. The “Cultebration” has been postponed until Feb. 2, at the Empire Night Club on Crescent Street.