Multicultural Week kicks off today

The beating of drums, a mosiac of flags from around the world, a parade and a global village are just some of the events heralding York’s annual Multicultural Week 2008, Feb. 4 to 7.

The event kicks off with the opening ceremonies today at 12:30pm, in the red-carpeted CIBC Lobby of the Accolade East Building, followed by a parade from 1:30 to 2:30pm led by York’s Samba Squad. A global fashion show, highlighting traditional costumes, will begin at 3pm in the food court at the Student Centre and run until 5pm.

In recent years, over 10,000 students have participated in the four-day celebration of culture and diversity, enjoying music, food and dance from around the world. York’s Multicultural Week brings together over 50 cultural clubs giving students a platform for cultural expression and an opportunity to learn about other cultures.

"Bringing the world to your doorstep, Multicultural Week 2008 offeres a unique opportunity to embrace Canadian diversity and get cultured," said third-year York student Bushra Wali, signature events director for york is U, the event’s organizer. "In one eventful week, Multicultural Week will entice, entertain and educate through food, fashion, art, debate, dance, music and more."

This year’s theme is "Get Cultured" and organizers are encouraging everyone to come out and do just that.

Right: York students brave last year’s cold to kick off Multicultural Week 2007

Tomorrow, Feb. 5, the annual food fair will tantalize taste buds when it offers up tasty morsels from across the globe starting at 11:30am in the lower section of The Underground at the Student Centre. A new addition this year – the DJ World Cup – will having people moving to international tunes from 2:30 to 4:30pm, also at York’s Student Centre.

Travel the world on Wednesday, Feb. 6 and Thursday, Feb. 7, from 11am to 7pm, by visiting the Global Village, a showcase of York’s many cultural clubs in the lobby of the Accolade East Building.

"Multicultural Week represents the incredible cultural diversity that Toronto possesses. The event provides amazing opportunities for people from all walks of life to learn from other communities’ customs and traditions in a positive, impartial environment," said Tashanya Okola, a third-year international development studies student at York.

Multicultural Week will also tackle some tough issues with its "Dealing Diversity" forum when York Professors Walter Perchal and Dorathy Moore, who teach in the Division of Social Science, Faculty of Arts, discuss multiculturalism in Toronto. The forum is on Wednesday, Feb. 6 at 4:30pm, at the Student Lounge, 219 Accolade East.

A series of stage and theatre performances of traditional music and dance by student cultural organizations will take place in the Sandra Faire & Ivan Fecan Theatre, Accolade East, from noon to 8pm on Thursday, Feb. 7, to wrap up the event.

Students attending the event will receive a "Passport to the World" so they can collect stickers from the event. Once their passport is filled, they can enter a raffle draw for a chance to win exclusive prizes, including trip for two to Montreal.

The annual event is organized by york is U, York’s student alumni program. For more information, visit the Web site at or call 416-736-5492.