By Midhat Meraj
On Saturday 27th March, Bilkent University’s very first International Festival was organized and conducted as a result of a collaborative effort by members of Bilkent International House (BIH), Erasmus Student Network (ESN) Bilkent and Sanatsal Etkinlikler Topluluğu (SET). The festival included representatives from thirteen different countries and helped showcase the culture, tradition, and food of these nations. The participating countries included Albania, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, India, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestine, Portugal, South Korea, Sudan, Turkey and the United Kingdom.
The event took place in the Main Campus Sports Hall and comprised of stands representing the aforementioned countries. These stalls displayed the national flags, traditional clothes, food, and cultural posters and souvenirs of the respective countries. Local desserts and delicacies were also prepared and offered by students at their relevant stalls. Hence, allowing both participants as well as the attendees to enjoy and learn about different nations and their cultures. Thus, the event attracted both Turkish as well as international students.
The festival also included a variety of different traditional performances, which were organized and demonstrated by members of the large international student body at Bilkent. These performances included Albanian students dancing to the famous “Valle Kosovare” and a dance and recital of “Sari Gelin” by Azerbaijani students. There was also a Palestinian “Dabke” dance performance by Arab students and a song performance such as “Yeh jo halka halka suroor hai” by Pakistani students. Pakistani students also delivered various dance performances that were inspired by both traditional folk customs as well as modern pop culture songs.
The guests of honor included the Chargé d’Affaires from the Embassy of Nigeria and the Secretary of the Embassy of India. The event was a great success as reflected by the large number of attendees who showed up to encourage, support, and appreciate the organizers and participants of the event.
**You may view photos on our Facebook page**