The 2011 International Food Festival, hosted by Ouachita Baptist University’s International Club along with the Daniel and Betty Jo Grant Center for International Education, will be held on Feb. 15 at 6 p.m. in Ouachita’s Walker Conference Center.
Providing the opportunity for the Ouachita community to come together and learn about different cultures on campus, the Food Fest creates a diverse experience “to celebrate life and the global connections created here at Ouachita,” said Ian Cosh, OBU vice president for community and international engagement.
“It is a light-hearted evening where everyone can enjoy good food, good conversation and good entertainment while giving the missionary kids and international students a chance to tell others about their home country and culture,” Cosh added.
This year, the Food Fest will feature the theme, “The Amazin’ Graze,” loosely based on the television show “The Amazing Race.”
“Since most of the dishes served will be finger food size or hors d’oeuvres, guests will be able to ‘graze’ through the various meals offered,” explained René Zimny, assistant director of the Grant Center.
Continuing with the theme, guests will receive an envelope upon arrival giving them more information about the event along with further instructions “for those guests who choose to participate in the themed aspect of the evening,” Zimny said.
Arranged by sections of the Americas, Australia/Asia, Africa and Europe, 30 countries will be represented by food and décor provided by various international students and other members of the Ouachita community.
In addition to the main theme, the food festival is being held as a part of Ouachita’s yearlong 125th anniversary celebration.
“The festival will showcase international education and highlight the importance to our mission at OBU,” Cosh said.
“We have also had a picture taken today of many internationals, missionary kids, faculty and staff—and even Dr. and Mrs. Grant—forming a 125 in Heflin Plaza,” added Sharon Cosh, chairperson for the event and English as a Second Language coordinator.
The primary entertainment for the Food Fest is IziBongo, a group of Christian musicians who perform a variety of ethnic music. According to the group’s Facebook page, “Izibongo refers to ‘praises intoned in honor of a person,’” a genre of praise poetry originating with the Zulu people of South Africa. “This name uniquely reflects our desire to honor the greatest Person, our Lord Jesus Christ,” the site states.
The following members of Ouachita’s International Club will also perform musical selections throughout the evening: Judith Brizuela, a sophomore psychology major from Cortes, Honduras; Natalie Carroll, a senior choral music education major from Harare, Zimbabwe; Charlton Diaz, a junior biology and Spanish major from West Monroe, La.; Tanner Hammond, a senior biology major from El Dorado, Ark.; David Jeon, a junior Christian studies/Biblical studies and Christian ministries major from Cheung Ju, South Korea; Kezia Nanda, a junior psychology and sociology major from Jakarta, Indonesia; and Ryosuke Shimizu, a freshman political science major from Fukuoka, Japan.
Tickets are $5 per person and may be purchased at the door. For more information about the Food Fest, the Grant Center or the International Club, contact the Grant Center at (870) 245-5197.
By Breanne Goodrum