Richland College celebrated the rich cultural diversity of its students and employees on April 17 during its annual Intercultural Festival.
The event opened with “Transformation,” an outdoor, lakeside dance performance choreographed by Richland College Dance Professor Gina Sawyer, followed by the planting of Richland College’s 24th peace pole.
The newest pole on Richland’s campuswide Path for Peace bears the message “May Peace Prevail on Earth” in English on one side and in Kyrgyz, Telugu and Yoruba on the other three sides. Learn more about Richland’s peace poles by visiting www.richlandcollege.edu/peacepoles.
Richland College President Kay Eggleston encouraged those gathered for the peace pole planting to reflect on the deeper meaning of the ceremony.
“This moving tradition provides us with an opportunity to unite together and reflect on our shared commitment to promoting peace for those among us and throughout the world who face fear, injustice, hunger, loss, suffering and unrest,” Dr. Eggleston said. “In the words of revered former United States First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, ‘It isn’t enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn’t enough to believe in it. One must work at it.'”
Susan Barkley, executive dean of Richland College’s School of World Languages, Cultures and Communications, also addressed the group and challenged the audience to learn more about the cultures of their fellow students and colleagues.
“I always look forward to this glorious day at Richland as we celebrate the unique talents and gifts that our students bring to our campus and honor the diversity which enriches our community,” Ms. Barkley said. “Whether you come from Dallas, Texas, the Cote D’Ivoire or Dubai, at Richland you are becoming a global citizen with an appreciation of other cultures, an ability to work with diverse teams, and an understanding of the interdependence of nations around the world.”
The celebration continued with the colorful Parade of Cultures, led by Chinese lion dancers and featured students carrying signs representing more than 40 countries of origin.
After the parade, Richland students and community members wearing traditional clothing performed dances and songs from their home countries. The Latin Dance Team, special guests from Berkner High School in Richardson, performed a spicy mix of salsa and bachata.
Intercultural Festival attendees also enjoyed Texas barbecue and a variety of global wares sold by artisan vendors.