April 15 2006
IGSA Hosts the first MILR Cultural Night
As an acknowledgement of the rich diversity that characterizes ILR, the IGSA organized the first ever MILR Cultural Night. The event not only brought together students and faculty but also was a pivotal meeting of cultures from different regions of the world. Sharing cultural diversity through crisp yet stimulating presentations, music and sampling of cuisines ranging from Lebanese to Japanese, we had the opportunity to socialize and strengthen bonds formed at the school. One of the goals of the event was to foster a greater cultural understanding amongst the students and also seek to develop a curiosity for international experiences.
The night started with a smiling Atsuo, dressed as a golden samurai, upgraded our rustic ideas about Japan. Geishas and paper houses, Toyota and Toshiba, were all of a bygone era. Today’s Japan was about the ‘Salary Man’ who worked so hard he broke the image of the traditional, even-tempered Japanese employee. Moving to Thailand, X showed us the beautiful sights and sounds of what made it one of the greatest tourist attractions in the world. Siam had ‘The Beach’ long before Leonardo DiCaprio had even been to Thailand. We were soon swaying to the beats of the undergraduate Korean Percussionists band whose music resonated so thickly in the room that we felt wrapped in it and totally spell bound. The thunderous sounds gave way to Sonia’s graceful bow and soft voice that introduced us to Korea’s rich history, heritage, art and food. Jane’s insights into Buddhism in China reminded us that in some countries the “old” is an active and integral part of the “modern”.
Susan showed us a modern Taiwan, the home country of many world wide entertainers such as the NY Yankee pitcher, Wang Chien-Mien, and Ang Lee who directed “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”. A day in the life of an average Indian man indeed holds more surprises than a box of chocolates, whether it because of a “close shave” on the sidewalk by a semi-blind barber who gives you his rendition of the latest Bollywood movie, or if you manage navigating through the insanely infested streets filled with cars, trucks, motorcycles, scooters, carts, auto-rickshaws, cows and even the occasional elephant. Anil also touched upon the various historical sites that represent India’s rich heritage. Fatima continued discussing Sub-Continent heritage and introduced us to some of the most beautiful places in Pakistan. She presented images that would inspire even the most frugal traveler to make all the necessary arrangement to see these sights with their own eyes.
All 45 guests encouraged participants and some even supported the event by bringing additional food to accompany the wide spread already laid out that represented the various international backgrounds of our student population. Professors, guests and the dean all enjoyed the sumptuous feast so much that merely pot scrapings were left behind.
Dean Katz closed the evening with a heart filled appreciation for the changing face of the graduate ILR student population and reiterated the importance of our Alumni network that help maintain and build strong international ties. Camera flashes went off like a paparazzi convention and the evening concluded with smiles, hugs and questions about when the next cultural night would be held.
Ahilya Patkar - MILR 07'