The world’s cultures under one UI roof

Photo by Tim Schoon.

Food, games, dance, music, literature, storytelling, arts, crafts…all from different cultures. Where can you find such offerings? At the University of Iowa’s Celebrating Cultural Diversity Festival, which will be held from noon to 5 p.m., Sunday, April 3, in the UI Field House.

The event is free and open to the public.

Featured live music and dance performances this year include Bharata Natyam Dance, Java Jews, Noopur Dance Troupe, Tarang Dance, UI World Beat Ensemble, Iowa Andhi “Femme Fatale,” Kol Shira, Korean Youth Group, the Uke-a-maniacs, Kelly Montijo Fink, the Intersection a cappella group, and Nacel Open Door Exchange.

Tsunami relief effort
The Japanese Students and Scholars Club will be at the Celebrating Cultural Diversity Festival selling Japanese cookies and cake, origami jewelries, and T-shirts and wristbands to raise funds for Japanese earthquake and tsunami relief. The club has been collecting donations on the downtown pedestrian mall, and is planning to host charity events. All proceeds are going to the American Red Cross.

Demonstrations and lessons include Team S.T.R.I.K.E., Iowa Hapkido, Aikijuku Dojo, Moy Yat Ving Tsun Kung Fu, Iowa City Tango, Shira Belly Dancing, and UI Breakers.

Food available for purchase includes Native American fry bread and Chinese, Czech, Japanese, Korean, Malavsian, Vietnamese, Indian, Sri Lankan, Thai, Turkish, and American food. Vendors will offer handmade goods for sale, such as clothing and arts/crafts.

The Grand Wood Chapter of the American Red Cross will accept donations for the Japanese Relief Fund during the festival.

The festival began in 1990 and draws 3,000 to 5,000 people each year, making it the second-largest nonathletic event sponsored by the University. The event aims to bring together people of different cultures to learn from on another. It offers underrepresented students an opportunity to share aspects of their culture with the community. Community members also are given a chance to broaden their cultural horizons.

“Diversity remains one of the University’s highest priorities, and it remains one of our institution’s most important ideals,” said UI president Sally Mason. “Diversity is not only part of what we do every day, but it is also part of who we are. As we move forward to become a better and better university, we know that cultural diversity remains at the center of our mission, in our teaching, research, and service. Through the Celebrating Cultural Diversity Festival, we bring together people from throughout the university and greater community for a day full of inspiration, learning, entertainment, and fun.”

Free parking is available in the lot west of Kinnick Stadium. Paid parking is also available in Lots 6 and 14 and Hospital Ramp 4 at 85 cents per hour. A shuttle service from Lot 43 to the Field House will be provided. For special accommodations to attend this event, call 319-335-1424.

For more information and updates on performances and vendors, visit