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SIU celebrating International Festival 2023 Feb. 6-10

SIU students march with international flags.
Photo provided
University Communications and Marketing
SIU students participate in the International Parade of Flags on the SIUC campus.

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s International Festival 2023 celebrates diversity, inclusiveness and the global reach of the university with a variety of special events Monday through Friday, Feb. 6-10.

“Nurturing the World Through Diversity” is the theme of this year’s festivities, which include a wide variety of events, all open to the public. The weeklong series typically draws large crowds from campus and the surrounding community.

“The International Festival has been an ongoing campus event for over 50 years, celebrating the unique diversity our international students, faculty and staff bring to campus and the Southern Illinois region,” said Sean Cooney, assistant director of student engagement and programming. “It’s important to celebrate the different cultures we have here to build bridges between peoples and to show that we have a lot more in common than we do differences. As this year’s theme notes, the International Festival demonstrates that by nurturing the world through diversity, we can make it a better place for everyone.”

A sea of flags launches the celebration
The celebration begins with the colorful and impressive International Parade of Flags at 10 a.m. Monday. Students, faculty, staff and community members, some wearing attire from their native countries, will walk across campus from Woody Hall to the Student Center, carrying flags representing the many countries Salukis call home.

The official proclamation and university welcome ceremony follow at 10:30 a.m. in the Student Center’s International Lounge. The International Student Council, which helps plan the week’s festivities, will lead the event to officially open the International Festival. Campus leaders will participate along with city officials.


Popular food fair return Feb. 8
All year long campus and community members look forward to the International Food Fair, a unique opportunity to sample diverse culinary fare. It begins at 11 a.m. Feb. 8 in the Student Center Ballrooms with booths featuring food from 11 different countries, prepared by SIU students who choose items popular in their homelands to share. Although slated to run until 1 p.m., it’s not uncommon to run out of some foods earlier, so organizers encourage guests to arrive early.

Tickets are on sale now for $1 each, and the number of tickets needed to purchase various food items varies. Purchase tickets in advance at the Student Center business office window on the second floor between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays and in the Student Center hallway noon-2 p.m. Monday and 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Tuesday. Tickets may also be purchased at the food fair.

Apply for passports, explore study abroad options
SIU’s Study Abroad and Passport Fair is a one-stop spot to learn about the many study abroad opportunities available at SIU and to apply for a passport, needed for travel abroad for any reason.

The event will take place 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Student Center International Lounge.

Anyone, whether part of the SIU community or the greater community at large, who wants to apply for a passport can do so there. Bring two forms of legal identification; one must be an original birth certificate bearing the raised seal or a previous passport. An official 2-inch square passport photo is also required and applicants may bring a picture with them or obtain one that day for just $15.

U.S. Postal Service representatives will be on hand to facilitate the in-person interview required for applicants. There is a $35 fee for this service. However, the SIU Center for International Education will cover the cost for all current SIU students who present valid student IDs. Anyone attending with the proper documents can complete and submit their passport applications, along with the required $110 application fee, during the event.

“This will be our sixth Passport Fair, and each year we have see an increase in the number of students, faculty, staff and community members who have taken advantage of this opportunity,” said Ramesh Neupane, associate director of the center.

The event will also offer information about SIU’s many study abroad programs throughout the world. The programs range from one week to a year in length, with many led by SIU faculty, and allow students to earn college credit while attending classes at various international locations. SIU partners with many universities in more than 65 countries, either directly or indirectly through organizations, Neupane said. He also notes that faculty-led programs to Australia, Ireland, Nepal, Peru, Panama, Brazil and Spain have been added, bringing the total to 22 such programs.

Learn more about study abroad programs online.

Experience international cultures
The week wraps up with the Cultural Show, featuring entertainment from around the globe. SIU students will showcase their diverse backgrounds, cultures and nations through performances, including song and dance, at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10, in the Student Center Ballrooms.

The show will feature international students from India, Nepal, China, Latin America and other countries and regions. It’s a family friendly event that is free and open to everyone.

“Where else can one experience so many different cultures in one location?” said Elaine Conrad, community and educational programs coordinator for the Center for International Education and adviser for the International Student Council. “This is the diversity that makes SIU the special place so many of us call home.”

The International Student Council, a registered student organization, coordinates the festival with assistance from the Center for International Education, the Office of Student Engagement and the Student Center.

Find the complete schedule of events and the menu for the International Food Festival at studentcenter.siu.edu/activities/student-center-programs/international-festival.php. Or call 618-453-5714 for details.


Christi Mathis — student affairs; diversity, equity and inclusion; business and analytics; education; health and human sciences; psychological and behavioral sciences; innovation and economic development; international education.

SIU News is produced by University Communications and Marketing - 618-453-2589. Twitter: @SIUCNews
SIU News is produced by University Communications and Marketing - 618-453-2589. Twitter: @SIUCNews
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