Campus Life

Asian Culture Week a chance to celebrate diversity on campus

From fashion and film to judo and jiu-jitsu, the inaugural Asian Culture Week at the University of Lethbridge gives the campus community the chance to enjoy a number of performances and learn a little something about Asia in the process. The week culminates with the 23rd Annual International Dinner, featuring guest speaker Kim Thúy sharing her stories about the Canadian Life of a Vietnamese boat person.

Asian Culture Week came about after a successful Japan Culture Day program held two years ago. But rather than focus on one country, organizers decided the program should include Asia as a whole.

“The decision to expand to an Asian Culture Week was consistent with how we designed our Asian Studies program at the U of L,” says Dr. John Harding, a religious studies professor and coordinator of Asian Studies. “We aimed for more comprehensive coverage of Asia, with courses, talks and study opportunities that continue the strong ties between southern Alberta and Japan, and expanded it to include China, India and Southeast Asia.”

Angela Lin, a U of L student, organized several activities and displays from Taiwan, including a qipao (Chinese traditional dress) fashion show display and a board that introduces Taiwan and its main highlights.

“We will also be teaching people how to play the game Wu-Zhe-Chi, or “connect five.” Taiwan is known for its use of traditional Chinese writing and we will be translating and writing peoples’ names on paper using traditional Chinese characters,” says Lin.

Opening remarks are scheduled for 1:45 p.m. Monday in the Atrium, followed by a performance by Global Drums in the Atrium of University Centre for the Arts. Tuesday’s activities include karate, judo and jiu-jitsu demonstrations, a fashion show and minyo (Japanese folk dance and song) dancers. A lion dance starts off Wednesday’s activities at 10:45 a.m., followed by a kung fu demonstration, a performance by a Chinese flute player, a Bhutanese dance, and cricket from 2 to 3 p.m. in the gym. Films, including a Bollywood science-fiction comedy and a locally made documentary about Bhutanese refugees living in Lethbridge, will be shown Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. The online scheduleoffers more details. On Thursday from noon to 1 p.m., a panel will be available in the Atrium to answer any questions about studying in Asia.

“We hope people attend as many events as possible and simply enjoy themselves and the opportunity to see some of the diverse forms of Asian culture, as well as the talents of local students and community members,” says Harding.