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World comes to HPU
by Hsiao-Wei Peng, A&E editor
The 18th Intercultural Day, HPU’s biggest annual event, was held on the upper Fort Street Mall April 12. Celebrated every spring semester, Intercultural Day provides opportunities for students from all over the world to share their cultural heritage with the community, faculty, and other students.
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“Through this annual event, HPU students can recognize countries and cultures around the world. It’s like a global village on Fort Street Mall,” said Evelyn Ma, activity manager of the Taiwanese Student Association.

Students and faculty were entertained and educated through exhibits, photos, brochures, folk costumes, and antiques, all displayed on the tables of each country’s booth.

Thailand’s booth, for example, was a mini showcase of its cultural heritage, with Buddha’s statue, traditional kitchenware, accessories, and musical instruments.

“We borrowed all the stuff from the Thai Cultural Center in Hawai‘i,” said Maleerat Praisa-ngob, a member of the Thai Student Association. “Displaying the real objects is the best way to tell people what our culture is like.”

Booths for participating students, representing their various countries, were established on the upper Fort Street Mall, and the stage was decorated with national flags from every country represented at HPU.

The event started with the parade. Putting on their traditional costumes and holding national flags in their hands, representative students from different participating nations marched down Fort Street Mall, to Merchant Street, back up Bishop Street, to South Beretania, and back to Fort Street Mall.

“Intercultural Day is a significant event for everyone,” said Marilyn Moreaux, an MBA student from Nigeria. “For me, it is a good way to learn about other cultures, which we may not learn in the classrooms.”

Intercultural Day reached its climax in the stage productions, where the best performance won a $200 first prize. The Korean Student Association played traditional Korean instruments, the Swedish Student Association sang a Swedish folk song, and the United Samoan Association Club performed a traditional dance.

Among the diverse performances, the Japanese Student Association’s comedy-style performance won lots of applause from the audience.

There are four competition categories: the exhibit, parade, stage performance, and overall. Thailand won the $100 for best exhibit; Japan won $100 for best in the parade; Korea won $200 for their stage performance; and United Samoa won $300 for best overall performance.

In conjunction with International Student Services, Council of Countries arranged and managed the whole event. Besides the exhibits on the Mall, parade, and stage performances, the council created a trivia test to enlarge students’ excitement and interest. The trivia questions were generated by each club or by the council, according to Liana Hall, general chair of Council of Country Committee.

“Students can find out the answers by visiting each booth and asking for hints,” said Hall. The person who answers the most questions correctly wins.

Michael Dorsey answered the most questions correctly and received $150 prize package.
“Intercultural Day is an opportunity for all students and the community to experience and learn from the cultural diversity that prevails at Hawai‘i Pacific University,” said Ann Newton, director of International Student Services.

The 26 participants included Africa, Armenia, Austria, Botswana, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Greece, French Polynesia, Germany, Hawai‘i, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Mariana Islands, Nepal, Nigeria, Norway, Thailand, Philippines, Russia, the United Samoa, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, and China.

Overall, Hall said, “the event is great. The committee would like to do more to improve Intercultural Day because it is such an important event for every HPU student.”


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