Student, staff members honored at 30th International Friendship Affair

Attendees learned about the cultures of Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and the Caribbean during the International Friendship Affair at Wright State on April 5.

A Wright State student and two staff members active in helping the university’s burgeoning population of international students were honored during the 30th International Friendship Affair.

Honored at the April 5 event was Fady Al-Banna, who received the Global Citizen Award. Al-Banna is director of international affairs for Student Government and is actively involved in the International Cultural Exchange, a Wright State student organization.

Honored with the International Student Advocate Award were Wright State staff members Eric Corbitt and Ron Heyart, who have worked on designating areas of the Student Union for use by international students for Friday religious services.

Belly dancing, cloggers, a fashion show and exotic food also highlighted the festival. In addition, the event featured by students a flag parade, performances, an award ceremony and cultural booths from Africa, Asia, the Middle East, India, Mexico, Latin America and the Caribbean.

International Friendship Affair fashion show

A fashion show was one of the highlights of the annual International Friendship Affair.

“The Friendship Affair is a golden opportunity for the community to connect with our international students and experience their rich cultures,” said Michelle Streeter-Ferrari, director of the University Center for International Education (UCIE).

Wright State currently has the most international students it has ever had. New international students at the university increased by 85 percent this spring to 1,648.

The International Friendship Affair is also a way for UCIE to celebrate its ongoing relationship with Dayton’s diverse international community.

“It is a great way to engage with our international community, meet members of our campus community who represent many different parts of the world and to participate in a genuinely festive occasion,” said Stephen Foster, associate vice president for international affairs.

The UCIE acts as a catalyst for international education at Wright State, creating an environment in which students, faculty and staff have increased opportunities to gain international understanding through learning and experience.

The center coordinates efforts to support and advise international students and scholars and assist them in achieving academic and personal success; promotes cross-cultural understanding by developing and coordinating exchange and study-abroad opportunities; and collaborates with academic departments and global partners to internationalize the curriculum and seek external funding to support new international initiatives.

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