Ulster University Students’ Union’s International Students Society-Magee, in collaboration with the university’s International Student Advisory Services (ISAS), Global Opportunities team, BAME+ Network and Visit Derry hosted an ‘International Diversity Celebration’ event at the Derry~Londonderry campus on 25 October 2023.
The event showcased different cultures and traditions from local esteemed restaurants and talented artists, some of whom are current or past students at the university.
The event booked out within 3 days of registration opening and it was a huge success. Staff and students along with their spouses, partners and friends, joined the event with full enthusiasm, with several donning their traditional attire.
This event was an opportunity to not only increase awareness about the cultural diversity at the university but also to learn about the opportunities to study or volunteer abroad specially for the students through university’s Go Global programme.
Guest speaker Steve Lazars also spoke of the importance of ethnic minority entrepreneurship and its role in building better economy and social inclusion.
Steve Lazars Founder & Director of Ethnic Minority Employment & Entrepreneurship Network (EMEEN), said:
“Celebrating international cultures, while reinforcing our shared core values and identity, is not just a societal aspiration but an imperative. It forms the bedrock of a stable and cohesive society, where the tapestry of shared values of different cultures enriches rather than divides. Recognising and acknowledging people from diverse cultures is not merely a gesture; it is the lifeblood of a tolerant, respectful, and understanding community.
Events, such as this one on Ulster University’s Derry~Londonderry campus, are not just celebrations; they are forums that ignite the sparks of dialogue, where we delve into the intricate facets of culture, humanity, and the economy. These conversations unravel the threads that weave our society together, exploring the drivers of cultural and economic progress.
This ongoing dialogue of assimilation, accommodation, and acknowledgment should persist as the heartbeat of our nation. It unites both minority and majority communities, bridging differences and fostering unity as we collectively advance toward our common goals in moving our country forward. Together, we forge a stronger, more inclusive, and harmonious future. I hope this Celebrating Diversity event becomes a yearly one.”
Nomathamsanqa Tholo, Vice-Chair of UUSU’s International Students Society, said:
"The International Diversity Celebration event was nothing short of a magical journey around the world, and what truly blew me away was the opportunity to travel the globe without having to catch a flight. It was a mesmerising experience that brought the world to our doorstep. The event offered us a chance to embark on a global adventure right within our university campus. Through the captivating performances, the rich aromas and flavours of international cuisines, and the warmth of diverse cultures, it felt like we had embarked on a whirlwind tour of the world's most captivating destinations.
The event proved that you don't need a passport or a plane ticket to experience the richness of our world. All it takes is an open heart, an inclusive mindset, and a community that celebrates the beauty of cultures from every corner of the globe. The International Diversity Celebration event was a stunning reminder that the world is just a handshake away, and it left me with a sense of wonder and appreciation for the incredible diversity that surrounds us. The event united us together to appreciate diverse cultures and forged lasting connections, making us feel like we are at home.”
Dr Priyank Shukla, Chair of UU’s BAME+ Membership & Community Working Group, said: “The idea of such events, organised by BAME+ Network in collaboration with other departments, centres, societies, and services of the university, and in partnership with external organisations, is to connect BAME+ international students and staff with local students and staff in the university and local community. Events such as this are very important as they not only facilitate in raising cultural awareness as we learn about different cultures and traditions, but they also help in building new friendships and collaborations. The event also gave us the opportunity to discover new and different opportunities to work together. This is especially important for our international community who are away from their home countries.”
Ulster University’s BAME+ Network aims to create a community for both staff and students from Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds to connect and support each other. The network seeks to identify, address, and find solutions to the disparities, needs, priorities and concerns of Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic staff and students, so that the BAME community in the University feel represented, appreciated and have equal opportunities.
Ulster University Students’ Union’s International Students Society-Magee aims to build an international community where all international students are welcome, as well as home students who are interested in learning more about cultural diversity and making international friends. The society is open to those on other campuses and we encourage all students to come be a part of our exciting journey.
Find out more:
You can find out more about UUSU’s International Students Society-Magee by visiting International Students Society-Magee.
You can find out more about Ethnic Minority Employment & Entrepreneurship Network (EMEEN) by visiting https://www.emeen.co.uk/