By Timothy Osoro
The University of Eastern Africa, Baraton, was alive with energy and enthusiasm as students and staff gathered to celebrate the Semester Cultural Week, a dynamic and colorful event that brings together individuals from diverse backgrounds to showcase their cultural heritage, foster unity, and promote intercultural understanding.
Cultural Week at the university has become a highly anticipated tradition on campus. This semester’s festivities spanned an entire week, from October 30th to November 3rd, featuring a plethora of activities, presentations, exhibitions, and discussions that highlighted the richness of cultures from around the world.
Demonstrating the university’s commitment to fostering unity among its diverse student body, representing various cultures, nationalities, and backgrounds, the week kicked off with a grand opening ceremony featuring a spectacular parade of flags, representing the home countries of the university’s international students.
During an interview, Juma Felix, a fourth-year student, emphasized the importance of embracing one’s cultural identity. He stated, “None of us is born with culture; instead, we are born into a cultural world. I urge all of us to embrace the positive aspects of our culture. Every culture has its dynamics, making Kenya beautiful and magical.”
“Ladies and gentlemen, these facets of our culture, both tangible and intangible, are the foundation of our nation-building; we use them to heal and nurture the soul of our Nation,” Juma added.
Throughout the week, attendees had the opportunity to explore diverse cultural displays. Each day was dedicated to a different continent, where students from those regions set up booths showcasing traditional clothing, art, music, and culinary delights.
The performing arts took center stage during Cultural Week, featuring a series of music and dance performances. Students showcased traditional dances, songs, and plays from their native cultures, leaving the audience in awe of the talent and creativity on display.
For those interested in intellectual engagement, panel discussions and lectures were held on various topics related to cultural diversity, inclusivity, and intercultural communication. These sessions provided a platform for open dialogue and encouraged participants to contemplate the significance of cultural understanding in today’s globalized world.
The week culminated in a multicultural closing ceremony, during which the most outstanding performances and exhibits were recognized and awarded. Participants were left with a sense of fulfillment, having experienced a rich tapestry of cultures and a deeper understanding of the global community they are a part of.
Diana Njeri, a nursing student, shared her newfound insights, stating, “I have learned that we should embrace our cultures and be willing to share them with others, without underestimating or judging others for their traditions.”
“Cultural Week is also a time to enjoy and freely express who we are based on our backgrounds,” she added.
This week-long celebration has undeniably left its mark on the campus, reminding everyone that diversity is not a barrier but a bridge that connects people from all corners of the globe. Cultural Week continues to serve as a shining example of how cultural exchange and understanding can pave the way for a brighter and more harmonious future.
“Let’s all embrace and celebrate our unique cultural diversity,” Juma concluded, echoing the sentiment of unity and appreciation that permeated the entire event.