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Attendants at the annual International Dinner, hosted by Ohio University’s International Student Union, are served international cuisine in Baker Ballroom on Oct. 1st, 2017. (FILE)

ISU’s annual International Dinner to bring students together from around the world

On Sunday, Ohio University’s International Student Union will host its annual International Dinner in the Baker Center Ballroom.

Tickets are available through Thursday and will be sold from 5 to 7 p.m. on the first floor of Baker Center. Tickets are also available online.

“ISU is the umbrella organization for 20 other student cultural organizations,” ISU President Carla Triana, a senior studying international business, said. “The purpose of the dinner is to bring the community together — that’s domestic students and international students — as well as the Athens community, because we view ISU as an organization that’s here to promote cultural awareness, not only at Ohio University but the surrounding areas.”

The dinner dates back to the late 1990s and can draw crowds upwards of 300 people. This year’s theme is “A Night Around the World.” The night features food and entertainment from all around the world.

“There will be several regions of the world represented,” Triana said. “We truly want to take you on a trip around the world. We’ll have performances representing Latin America, performances representing Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.”

ISU’s International Dinner often gives guests opportunities to dance and have fun, but this year’s dinner is a little different.

“From my knowledge, we haven’t had a professional band come perform for an international dinner. It’s the first time, I believe so,” Triana said.

This is the first time ISU’s International Dinner is having a professional mariachi band perform. The band, Mariachi JVCarter Chicago 1, is just one of many performers that night. Attendees of the dinner will have to wait until Sunday night to see who else is performing.

“This year, it’s been a point for us to represent every region of the world. We’re having performances in mediums that haven’t been done before. We’re featuring art from every culture,” Ami Scherson, vice president of ISU and a senior studying music, said.

Performances will be interactive, and organizers made a point to get performers from many different regions of the world.

“We are celebrating different parts of the world, allowing every culture to be represented on campus,”  Aleah Cumberbatch, communications director of ISU and a sophomore studying psychology, said. “We hope to have cultures represented from every continent.”

Food will be prepared by the students of 17 member organizations, with each dish representing the cultural region of the organization.

“We have a variety of foods. There’s no one set type of food,” Cumberbatch said. “We try to cater to all needs, like there will be vegan foods and certain meats that are allowed. By no means is there one type of food. We try to have it all.”

Guests are encouraged to dress in semi-formal or traditional attire, Cumberbatch said.

“It’s more or less formal,” Cumberbatch said. “We just want people to bring a little bit of their game.”

Attendees can tag social media posts with #IDinner2018. People can post pictures of their outfits and the fun they had, Cumberbatch said.

“(The Muslim Students Association) is helping out by cooking,” Majed Zailaee, external program director of Muslim Students Association and a doctoral student studying mathematics, said. “They’re so supportive of us so it’s our way of giving back.”

The dinner will be an interactive experience where people are encouraged to mingle with each other.

“The best thing about International Dinners in the past has been mixing ingredients together. We go to the dinner and take pride in our dish. We don’t say who makes what, so it’s kind of a competition when we see people enjoying the food,” Zailaee said.


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