Uttam from Bangladesh (Contributed photos by Adam Konczewski)
Excelsior, Minn. (January 29, 2010) – World Cultures Day is a series of cultural showcases presented to students by international speakers. Students learn about daily life in other cultures, meeting face-to-face with international speakers from Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, China, Côte d’Ivoire, Germany, Finland, France, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Poland, South Korea, Spain, Tajikistan, United Arab Emirates and Vietnam.These international guests rotate throughout classrooms in the school, showing their traditional dress and artifacts, and discussing the culture and daily life of their home countries.
The Excelsior event featured Uttam from Bangladesh, Su Yen from South Korea, and Bing Hu from China, who all taught various aspects of their culture to children through stories and other activities.
Other featured speaker events focused on African drumming by Brian Van Tassel, a member of Hayor Bibimma (which means bringing the masses of Mother Africa together). This drumming group combines traditional African drumming with a contemporary twist.
The children were taught the basics of African rhythmic language which is found globally in today’s popular music. Van Tassel also demonstrated some Djembe drum techniques for the students and show them how to play various bells and shakers.
Another featured presenter was Juan Pablo Poblanco Mendoza, who performed Spanish and English Children’s songs and dances that are taught in the schools of Nicaragua. The songs were taught in English with attention to encouraging kids to learn another language.
Jose Jeime, a professional Salsa instructor from Mexico, taught children the gracious moves of the native Latino dance.
World Cultures Day is part of the Minnesota International Center’s (MIC) statewide effort to provide the schoolchildren of Minnesota with opportunities to interact with people from other cultures. MIC aims to awaken the children’s curiosity and increase their cultural competency so they can successfully participate in our multicultural community.
During the 2008-2009 academic year, 151 speakers from 50 countries made 900 presentations to a student audience of 30,000.