Maddie Crocenzi

ISA/MuKappa hosted their annual International Banquet in Hitchcock from 5:30-8:30 p.m on Saturday night. Over 500 guests came out to celebrate the event, in which this year’s theme was “Around the World in One Night.”

The program truly did take guests around the world through food, performances and fashion. The food included Indonesian Gado-Gado salad, African beef stew, falafel, baklava, tres leches cake and more.

Brazilian-American student Laura Almeida said the tres leches was one of the best parts of the night. “That was amazing. Keep it. Don’t get rid of it… ever.”
Besides food, the night also included the flag procession where countries like Ethiopia, Rwanda, Columbia, Syria, the United Kingdom and more were all represented.

Senior Christina Snyder carried the flag from Qatar. She has a connection to the country after her class stopped there on the way back from IBI. Her favorite part of the flag procession was “seeing all of the diversity and all the different cultures represented. It’s just really awesome to be a part of that.”

There were also a wide-range of student performances at the Banquet. Syrian-American senior Karine Moussa performed “Deliverance,” a self-composed piano piece about the war in Syria. Her performance, before which she asked the audience to pray for the people in Syria, touched many in the audience.

“I like all of the performances especially the piano by Karine,” Vietnamese senior My Nguyen said. “And the fact that she’s from Syria… It kind of fits the whole situation right now.”

Other performances included an African dance, a poem on the fear of growing up and a dance paying homage to Malaysia’s different cultural groups. Malaysian students Joshua Lee and Brian Ong were part of the Malaysian dance performance called “Satu Malaysia.” Lee said the group practiced an approximate total of five hours to prepare.

This practice paid off though, as many guests said the performances are what they look forward to most. Ong, for one, enjoyed the performances, “especially seeing different cultures coming together to perform.”

Cultures also came together during the fashion show which featured looks from China, Malaysia, Columbia, Rwanda and more.  This collection of cultures was special to many students, including Brazilian-American student Marina Moreira. She said she liked, “how everyone was wearing clothes from their own country and that was really special.”

Of course, the night wouldn’t be complete without a surprise performance to a Bruno Mars song. While ISA/MuKappa President Joseph Yoon took the stage to give his closing remarks, senior Malaysian student Keith Lim “stole” the mic, introducing the surprise dance to “24K Magic” by saying they were there to steal the show and make President Kim Phipps smile.

However, President Phipps wasn’t the only one smiling after the energetic dance. Students, faculty, alumni and other guests stayed after the final performance, smiling for pictures with flags and catching up on life. “I enjoyed getting to meet everyone that I don’t usually get to meet and rekindling our friendships and love,” Ethiopian student Yokabed Wubishet Jekale said.

This community aspect of the International Banquet is why so many alumni and students come back every year – to meet new people, talk with old friends and enjoy a night that represents so many diverse cultures.