International Festival April 9

The 27th Annual International Festival of The Claremont Colleges will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 9, reflecting a world of cultures and traditions, as well as months of planning by more than 300 student and community volunteers.

“This event is a wonderful gift from international students who have traveled so far to come to Claremont to study,” said Festival organizer Charlene Martin, director of International Place.

In the weeks beforehand, students met in clusters according to their nation of origin, planning menus, shopping lists, and every detail to best present their countries to the local community. The Festival not only offers a gastronomic treat, but also a wide range of entertainment, including Korean Sanjo music, Italian musicantica, Sakai Flamenco, the Chinese Lion Dance, and Djembe Sekou African drums.

“The journey to the Festival is marvelous training for leadership in international and multi-cultural organizations,” Martin says. “We all learn to work with scores of different cultures, different decision-making patterns, different ways of managing timeand in the process, become more flexible and tolerant.”

The event is chaired by a council of student representatives from all seven Claremont Colleges, assisted by the volunteer organization Community Friends of International Students. Volunteers range from faculty and staff, to local Boy Scouts and the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps football team, who arrive early to provide heft in setting up the more than 40 booths required for such an operation.

Proceeds help the programs of I-Place, which works year-round to provide a home away from home for the 600 students from 80 nations enrolled at The Claremont Colleges. Programs include weekly English conversation groups, dinners in the homes of Claremont families, weekly lunches with international speakers and food, and hands-on assistance with everything from opening a checking account to finding a ride to the airport.

“The International Festival is a time when we get to look at the world the way we wish it were,” says Martin, “with everyone working together in peace and friendship.”

The International Festival of The Claremont Colleges will be held rain or shine, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 9, on the Claremont McKenna College Quad, Columbia Avenue between Eighth and Ninth streets. Admission and parking are free. Food tickets may be purchased in advance at the I-Place office, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, April 6-8, between the hours of noon and 5:30 p.m., as well as at the door. For additional information contact I-Place at 909-607-3910 or 909-621-8344. For media arrangements, call 909-607-9099.