Sunday, Oct. 16, marked Lawrence International’s (LI) annual Ethnic Dinner. LI invited Lawrence students, faculty, staff and friendship families to attend the event.
“We try to celebrate a part of the world through the ethnic dinners,” said junior and LI president Tamanna Akram, explaining the goals of the event. “Every year, we have a different theme, and through presentations and performances, we try to make it an informative and fun event for everyone.”
This year, the theme was West Africa. Sophomore Adrian Odamtten and junior Bané Toure presented on their countries, Ghana and Senegal, respectively.
“I hope to show a side of Africa that people don’t usually see, and lessen the ignorance,” said Odamtten, who was also DJing at the event. Toure added, “I want to give people insight about my country, myself and capture the essence of Africa.”
Presenting comes with its own set of nerves admits sophomore and LI board member Binita Rajbhandari. “I presented last year for the first time and at first it was so scary,” he said, “but then it just flowed out, and I received good feedback.”
“I think for everyone who comes to the events, there is something to take away,” said Akram. “There is a lot more to learn about the diverse cultures of the various countries that exist within the region we represent. So, it could be a starting step for people to get interested, go back and do more research to learn about them.”
Attendees of the events indeed had a lot to take away. Sophomore Dinardo Rodriguez, who will travel to Sierra Leone with Lawrence University KidsGive, aimed to learn more about the part of Africa to which he will travel. He arrived with friend and sophomore Miguelina Ortiz Burgos, who simply wanted to learn more about other cultures.
Akram urges students to continue to attend LI events. “One of my goals during my presidency is to increase the involvement of general membership in the planning of events,” she added.
LI will be hosting a Cabaret information session on Tuesday, Oct. 25 at 6 p.m. in the Warch Campus Center Cinema, a pumpkin-picking event on Oct. 31 and many more volunteering events.