Celebrating International Culture: LB celebrates cultural diversity with International Culture Night

A beautiful hispanic folkdancer twirled and pirouetted while balancing a brown jug on top of her head. This displayed her graceful skill. Her brightly colored, elaborately embroidered dress radiated the atmosphere of a spectacular evening.

There was so much joy on the LBCC Albany campus on Friday, May 4. During the International Culture Night, good food, friends and conversation filled Takena Hall and the Tripp Auditorium as many people discovered different interesting cultures of the world.

It felt like a celebration that only a strong family could create. Booths offered delicacies from many nations, and insightful visual aids promoted growth and learning. The echoes of laughter could be heard as the performers wowed the captivated audience.

“I can see different cultures and see people from different countries here. I like learning about culture around involvement, too,” said Keisuke Marasawa of Japan, who dreams of being an English teacher in his country.

Visitors enjoyed the precision, excellence and refreshing energy of his large world map, decorated with push pins. Each person was invited to put a pin on the display indicating where they were from and what location they would like to visit in the world.

Booths of colorful displays offered a variety of tasty appetizers and desserts. Sushi, baklava and dolma (stuffed grape leaves) made tastebuds water. Participants were encouraged to enter their best guess for a drawing concerning how many countries there are in the world, a flag-naming challenge and how many languages are spoken throughout.

The next event of the evening began at 7 p.m. in the auditorium. The first half was a “Talent Show Performance” with Celtic dances from Ireland and a traditional Mexican Dance Popurri from the Maria de Jesús González Laguna group of Mexico. Erika Iizuka of Japan and Lei Sun of China sang marvelous renditions of popular songs from their countries.

“The music was my favorite part, I liked being able to follow along with the English words/lyrics that they displayed on the screen,” said Travis Peterson of Albany.

Seth Shirazi from Iran brought the grand piano to life, and the applause from the crowd echoed their approval.

The mesmerizing act of magician Mounir El Jamal of Lebanon wowed the crowd. His ability to make astonishingly accurate guesses and change his shirt without anyone noticing until the end of his act was amazing. The four willing volunteers, who were randomly picked from the audience, will probably never forget his charm, wit, and clever magic show.

“We love to travel and see new cultures,” said Barbara Schnake, who came to enjoy the festivities with six other family members, one of whom is Norwegian. “We have a little international connection with both of my daughters having lived abroad in Central America and Tanzania, Africa. I love it, I love it! It’s all so close together, I love rubbing elbows with all the different flavors of humanity here at little old LBCC, it’s great. The food is my favorite part, I just had the Novak’s raspberry-filled shortbread. And my grandson Daniel tried sushi for the first time. It was a real cultural experience.”

The evening came to a close with a stunning fashion show of traditional clothing from countries around the world, including Vietnam, the United Arab Emirates, Ethiopia, India, Saudi Arabia, China, Algeria and Mexico.

The International Ambassadors said, “Thank you, citizens of the world, for attending and supporting this event as we work together to build a global community.”

According to Ambassador My Tran of Vietnam, the International Culture Night was a fabulous success due to the involvement of the whole ambassador team and other hidden figures behind the scenes such as Kim Sullivan and Julia Larsen.

One last interesting fact about the culture night is that the tickets and programs were made of 100 percent recycled brown paper to spread a message of how to better protect our world.




Maria de Jesus Gonzalez Lauguna recruited members for her team to perform Jarabe Nayarit, from the state of Nayarit in Mexico. The men utilized intricate choreography and rhythmic sounds with their machete.




Lei Sun, represented Chinese music during her performance of ‘Dan Yuan Ren Zhang Jiu.’




Safia Oulmane demonstrates traditional attire from Algeria during the fashion show.




Keisuke Murasawa helps people place pins in a map that demonstrates where they are from and where they would like to travel. The map also denoted how many students from around the world are at LB.




Student ambassador and committee member, My Tran from LBCC Global Connections Club and LBCC International Ambassadors welcomed guests into the event.




Leena Mohammed (left) and Lana Ari demonstrate traditional clothing for Sudanese women at their booth.




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