“Trip Around the World” will be the theme of this year’s Wright State International Festival, which is celebrating its 35th year.
The festival will be held on Saturday, April 27, from 1 to 4 p.m. in the Student Union Atrium. It is free and open to the campus community and public.
“We will have a nice airport theme as if attendees are really traveling the globe right here on campus,” said Michelle Streeter-Ferrari, director of the University Center for International Education. “We hope that the campus and community can join us in celebrating the diversity of our 650 international students from over 60 different countries.”
The festival will feature cultural performances, including a flag parade, a Chinese dragon dance, Scottish dancers, a Mexican folklore ballet, cloggers and a cultural fashion show. There will also be an international photo booth, a Snapchat filter and raffle prizes. Middle Eastern and Indian food will be available.
“The international festival is a special day for our community,” said Joy Wanderi, associate director of UCIE. “Our students are proud to share their cultures and we all get to travel the world without leaving Dayton.”
Two people will be honored with awards during the festival.
The International (Student/Scholar) Advocate Award was presented to Irena Joseph, a lecturer in the Department of English Language & Literatures who has been with the LEAP Intensive English Program since 2001.
- During her tenure, Joseph has initiated and cultivated many opportunities for international and local student engagement both at Wright State and in the community.
- This includes teaching ESL courses at all levels and skills, organizing the program’s field trips, supervising TESOL interns and manages the International Teaching Assistant Workshop for new international teaching assistants.
- As a member of the International Education Advisory Committee, Joseph has ensured international students have a voice on campus.
- Since 2014, she has been a member on the Welcome Dayton’s Natural Helpers Subcommittee helping immigrants in the local community.
- She has also volunteered in classes and participated in many campus and community events to raise awareness on international student and scholar issues.
The Global Citizen Award was presented to Wright State graduate student Lakmini Grant Siriwardana, who has been actively involved with the Wright State Pre-College Programs since 2018.
- As part of this program, Siriwardanalearned traditional U.S. games and activities but also taught K-9 students about Sri Lanka and her costumes and culture.
- She openly gave U.S. students a glimpse into something different and new in a positive, educational way that allows for global citizenship learning to take place.
- Siriwardana has also served as a teaching aide for three cycles of the LEAP Intensive English Program’s Pronunciation Improvement course during the past year.
- As a teaching aide, she meets with students outside of class to give them extra help and has the reputation as the best tutor for international students.
For more information, visit the University Center for International Education website.