GV Students Celebrate Art in Multiple Languages ​​- Grand Valley Lanthorn – cialisdfr
GV Students Celebrate Art in Multiple Languages ​​- Grand Valley Lanthorn
GV Students Celebrate Art in Multiple Languages ​​- Grand Valley Lanthorn

On March 19, Grand Valley State University’s Dept of Modern Languages ​​and Literatures hosted an inclusive multicultural meeting entitled “Medley: A Celebration of Languages ​​and the Arts” at the Cook-Dewitt Center.

The event brought together students and faculty from diverse backgrounds to experience the various cultures and languages ​​present at GVSU. Musical performances, puppet shows, poetry, films, dance, food and theater were just some of the activities in which attendees could participate. English translations were provided for those who do not speak the language of the performances.

Students were encouraged to participate in activities specific to their culture as well as being exposed to other cultures. Featuring a variety of art and performances from English, French, Arabic, Spanish, Korean, Latin American and Italian cultures presented at the event, the wide range of cultural performances provided students with an enhanced global perspective.

Among the performers at the event was Qays Yaser Almallah, a sophomore at GVSU studying Arabic. Almalla said the event provides an excellent outlet for students to engage in culturally diverse programs and activities. Additionally, Almalla said it’s a great opportunity for students to share parts of themselves through performance.

Almalla recited a poem by a famous Syrian poet Look at the Kaaba.. . Almalla said he chose one of Kabani’s poems because of his desire to spread love and generosity at the celebration, which are central themes in Kabani’s poetry. At the same time, Almalla said it is equally important to break harmful stereotypes surrounding Arab culture.

“More often than not, Arab culture is portrayed with negativity in the Western media, but love and generosity are two of the most central themes that appear in Arabic literature and poetry,” Almalla said. “I wanted to highlight the centrality of love that people celebrate in Arab culture, as it is something that is shared almost everywhere among cultures around the world.

Other students at the event, including sophomore Andy Hardgrave, who is studying French at GVSU, praised the various performances throughout the evening, particularly the musical numbers. Hardgrave said cultural exposure events like Medley were an important part of his education at GVSU.

“It’s a pure intersection of creativity and language that makes culture,” Hardgrave said. “It was also a really nice and inclusive celebration of diversity, with more than a handful of different backgrounds singled out on stage.”

Hardgrave said the event encouraged all people, not just those studying foreign languages, to appreciate the mixing of cultures.

“I was pleasantly surprised to see students from some of my other non-language classes at (the) foreign language event,” Hardgrave said.

Additionally, Almalla emphasized the importance of events like Medley at predominantly white institutions. Almalla said celebrating languages ​​and art helps “broaden the horizons” of students who may not be exposed to cultures other than their own, giving them the opportunity to embrace their differences.

“Being a minority in Grand Valley is challenging at times, but having places to celebrate and embrace my culture, as well as other cultures, through events like Medley is an incredible source of empowerment,” Almalla said. “The negativity and others that culturally diverse students face is something we can combat by giving these students the opportunity to share and embrace the most beautiful aspects of their cultures.”

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