An Evening of Celebrating Global Citizenship

Presenting food and entertainment from all corners of the world, the students at the University of Oslo’s International Summer School (ISS) celebrated their magical summer along with the citizens of Oslo city on July 26.

“The International Cultural Evening is a highlight during our summer school every year,” said ISS director Nita Kapoor. “We see this evening as a gift from our students: A gift to our University and the City of Oslo, and a gift to each other.”

“As of today, our students have interacted with each other for just five weeks. During this short period of time, they have bonded as well as challenged each other and themselves. We are really so proud of our students’ ability to put together such a vibrant event during such a short time. Tonight, we are from each our countries, and at the same time, we are all global citizens,” the director said while congratulating everyone responsible for putting together the International Cultural Evening.

The evening’s festivities first began in the Entrance Hall of Chateau Neuf in Oslo, where guests were welcomed to stands from 25 countries showcasing culture, images, decorations and traditional clothing. The guests were also offered a taste of dishes from numerous places.

The evening culminated in a grand student-led show in the main auditorium at Chateau Neuf. A total of thirteen items from 6 continents included magnificent and powerful voices from Russia, USA and Mexico. The performers filled the theatre with dance, ballads, classical duets, pop, country, instrumental music, stand-up and musical theatre.

Dirayati Fatima Turner (23) danced Indonesian folk dance with a modern twist on the stage in front of an audience of 400 people. “The evening is a celebration of diversity”, she explains. “When we learn more about people from different backgrounds we also learn to appreciate ourselves more and where we come from.”

Irshad Ahmad (27) from the Punjab region in Pakistan performed stand-up comedy for an amused audience. “Every child and old man from Faisalabad, the region where I am from, is famous for making jokes. I want to share this, so I converted them to English”, he said with a coy smile and added that he had eaten so many vegetables in Norway that he fears grass will grow from his navel.

Before the grand finale when all the artists filled the stage, Micheal Ssegawa (28) from Uganda was joined by friends from Swaziland and Malawi to perform a contemporary dance. “Dance cuts across cultures. That is meaningful because it brings people together”, he explained.

The co-chairs of the Show Committee for the International Cultural Evening Jordan Boudreaux (21) from USA and Vilde Bentzen (21) from Canada have been responsible for bringing the evening from idea to reality. “The students share expressions of their culture tonight, pieces of their home”, said Bentzen. “We’ve had this time to develop together in Norway, and at the end we are reminded of differences not in a way that tears us apart, but in a way that brings us together”, said Boudreaux.

By Oda Davanger
Published July 30, 2019 11:57 AM - Last modified July 31, 2019 4:50 PM