On Saturday, April 1st, the Globally Minded Student Association hosted the 28th Annual International Dinner here at St. Thomas. With roughly 400 guests in attendance, the International Dinner was one of the hottest events of the semester, selling out faster this year than it had in past years. Featuring performances from both students and off campus groups, fantastic food from local restaurants, and the presentation of some well-deserved awards, the dinner was a fun event for the entire family.
I arrived a bit early to help set up and check people in. Since the event was open to the public, I brought my sister along. Even before the event had started it was easy to see that it was going to be a packed room. Wolfe Alumni Hall was prepared to reach maximum capacity, with tables set up from wall to wall. As students came through to get checked in, I was able to take a look at how our international community was represented through what people chose to wear. While there were plenty of people, myself included, who chose to wear standard semi-formal dinner wear, there were also many people opting to wear the traditional clothing from their home country.
The event started with a flag carrying ceremony, where students walked through the dining room and onto the stage carrying flag that represented their country. Since so many people wanted a chance to carry their flag, but we only could have one carrier per country, sign ups were on a first come, first serve basis. As incredible as the experience must have been for the flag bearers representing their country, it was also very moving for the audience to watch.
I felt that GMSA had chosen a nice variety of performances for the dinner. There were a couple of dance performances, a couple of songs sung, and a couple of poems read. In addition to the variety of types of performances, countries from all over the world were represented. Every single one of the performers did a phenomenal job. The evening also featured a trivia game had the entire room on its feet. As a fan of trivia myself, I found myself getting very invested in the results of the game. Unfortunately, the website we were playing on, Kahoot, had other plans for me and locked me out of answering a couple of the questions. With around 200 players total, I ended the match around 30th place, but I still cheered for the winners. I’ll have to try harder for the 29th Annual International Dinner.
Of course the main draw of the evening was the food. For appetizers, we were served salad and French bread representing Europe. For the main course, guests were serves kofta kabob fingers from Holy Land representing Africa, tinga chicken from Tavial Grill representing Latin America, and palak paneer chicken and cheese from India Palace representing Asia. For desert, we had Tim Tam cookies which represented Australia and tropical fruits. I thought the food was very good, although the tinga chicken was a bit messy. Luckily the table had extra napkins.
At the end of the dinner there was the presentation of two awards. One of the awards was the Global Citizenship Award, which honors students, staff, and faculty that exemplify the values of global citizenship. This winners this year were Dr. Arijit Mazumdar of the political science department, and Jose Munne Caceras, a student in the international economics and international studies departments. The other award presented was the International Leadership Scholarship, which went to Nigerian student Tam and Rwandan student Linda. All of the awards were well deserved and it was exciting seeing people being honored for their commitment to our global community at St. Thomas.
If you didn’t have a chance to attend this year’s dinner, make sure to attend next year! The event is hosted during the spring semester and sells out fast so make sure you keep your eyes open for more information. You won’t want to miss it!