AGU INTERCULTURAL SERIES – KENYA

Why not listen to some of the songs used during the event while you read this blog post:

Last week the Abdullah Gül University (AGU) community was excited to organize and host the very first edition of its newly created “AGU Intercultural Series”.
As a project launched by the AGU International Office, the objective of these Intercultural Series is to allow the University’s international students to present their home country and various aspects of their culture and to bring AGU members – students, Faculty members and administrative staff – together to enjoy this informative and entertaining moment.

The first edition of these Series featured Kenya and  was organized jointly by the AGU International Office, the AGU International Association (Student Club) and of course AGU’s current Kenyan students.

What are the AGU Intercultural Series?

The AGU Intercultural Series were launched as an interactive gathering, where AGU members of a certain nationality/origin have the opportunity to present their country and culture to the rest of the AGU community as well as participants from outside the University interested in joining the event.

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The events are organized by the student members of the AGU International Association, the students presenting their country and the members of the AGU International Office.

The objective is to:

  • Highlight and raise the international profile of the University (currently 35 nationalities are represented on campus)
  • Highlight the World’s cultural variety, differences, similarities, evolution
  • Raise curiosity and interest in the AGU community (and even beyond)
  • Educate attendees, open the eyes and minds of attendees to the rest of the World
  • Strengthen the ties of the whole AGU Community
  • Encourage dialogue among cultures, intercultural exchange, cultural enrichment
  • Entertain attendees, create a show
  • Help international students feel better in the community, give them a chance to display the richness of their culture

The support of the AGU Press Relations Office, Student Dean’s Office and Health, Culture and Sports Office are also key to the success of these Series.

Each event of the AGU Intercultural Series will surely be unique, as they will reflect the individual personalities and cultural backgrounds of each hosting country’s representatives; however, as a general idea, the Series are the opportunity to share information on:

Geography, History, Values, Traditions, Music, Dance, Language, Sports, Cuisine, Religion, Etc.

Organizers have the opportunity to display slideshows, music, photos, videos, performances, snacks…

… In the hopes of transmitting joy, fun, knowledge, curiosity, cultural input and positive messages!

First Edition – KENYA!

First steps…

The first session the newly established AGU Intercultural Series was held on Wednesday, March 23, in the afternoon in the AGU Conference Hall.

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The University’s three Kenyan students – undergraduate students Hussam and Abdishukri and graduate student Albert – were the ones to take the big leap into making the Intercultural Series concept become a reality. During the initial meeting with the International Office and International Association, it didn’t take long to convince our three students to present their country and since then they had worked hard to prepare the contents of the event and to make sure it would be a success.

While our three Kenyan students worked on the content of the country presentation, International Association member Dexter, from Zambia, took the lead in order to find music content and gather international and Turkish members of the student club to put together a Kenyan dance show, which delighted the audience.

On D-Day

The event itself can be described as nothing other than a success and a great start to a Series of hopefully many more editions to come.

The session was opened by AGU Vice-Rector Prof. Dr. Oya Yerin Güneri, who thanked all individuals and departments involved in the organization of the events for their efforts and shared key information on the University’s current state of internationalization; with AGU currently hosting 35 nationalities – representing all 5 continents – on campus.

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Before giving the floor to Hussam, Abdishukri and Albert, the Head of the AGU International Office, Emeric Abrignani, presented the concept and objectives of International Series and highlighted the importance of fostering intercultural exchange, embracing differences as an advantage to improve our Global Society and being curious about each other’s’ cultures and traditions.

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After listening to the Kenyan National Anthem, the audience was then treated to an interactive presentation on the country Kenya: its history, geography, languages, people, key cultural elements and many more; punctuated by videos and photos that illustrated well the ideas being presented, as well, of course, by our three students’ jokes and anecdotes, that made this presentation a pleasure to watch!

After concluding with a few slides on the country’s current goals and challenges, the presentation part of the event was concluded with an uplifting Kenyan dance routine performed by members of the AGU International Association and under the direction of our Zambian student Dexter.

During the call-back of our dancers, other students and staff members from the audience joined in to finish this cultural display on a high note.

But the event didn’t stop there! Our three Kenyans, as well as International Association member Dexter and our Tanzanian graduate student Sadam had also planned and prepared a “tea time” session after the presentation to give their audience a taste of Kenya:

AGU members and external participants from other universities and high schools alike were treated to typical Kenyan foods Mandazi and Chapatti – cooked by the students themselves – accompanied by authentic Kenyan milk tea (the real tea bags having been brought back by International Office member Yakup from his last participation in the International Student Fairs in Kenya and Tanzania).

All in all our students – African and Turkish together – have put together a great event that has, without doubt, achieved the Series’ goal not only to entertain and inform, but also to foster, as the name indicates, an intercultural exchange, as many nationalities have worked together hand in hand for the organization and implementation of this first Intercultural Series session.

The event organizers received great support from all AGU departments who were involved in the preparation of the event, which also featured in the local newspapers HaberTurk and Milliyet.

The Second Edition is planned for the coming months and this time around, it is AGU’s Moroccan community, represented by 5 students on campus, which will be featured! Hamza, Sara, Anas, Manal and Anass have already starting preparing and we can’t wait to see, hear, feel and taste what they will prepare for us!

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