January 15, 2015

Ethnic Fair caps week celebrating diversity and culture

A record crowd of students, residents, faculty and staff celebrated a variety of world cultures at the Wayne State University School of Medicine's annual Ethnic Fair, held Jan. 9 in the school's Scott Hall cafeteria.

(View more event photos here).

The popular two-hour event sponsored by the School of Medicine Alumni Association and organized by the Board of Student Organizations and the Office of Student Affairs included food, music and dance. BSO President Tasneem Ahmed, a member of the Class of 2018, was one of the co-organizers charged with overseeing the event. The BSO is a student body acting as liaison between student organizations and interest groups, the student senate, and school administration and faculty. Ahmed believes the tradition of hosting the celebration is important because it highlights the student population's far-reaching demographics. 

"Our student body is very diverse and this is just one way to put that factoid on a bigger stage. It's also a great way to bring everyone together so they can appreciate what kinds of organizations are on campus, participate in the shows, as some students did, and engage in discussion about the selection of ethnic foods available," he said. "Our students have a wide spectrum of life experiences and backgrounds that they're bringing to the table, and this is one way to showcase and gain an appreciation for them."

National Arab Orchestra Director Michael Ibrahim kicked off the evening's entertainment with a solo performance on the oud, a pear-shaped string instrument. Ibrahim's performance was arranged by the National Arab American Medical Association student organization.

Next, student members of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origins organization performed a Bollywood dance that included separate and combined pieces by male and female students.

Finally, second-year student Firas El-Baba and third-year student Khalil Mroue led a dabke dance that included participation from a large portion of the audience. Dabke is a modern Arab folk circle and line dance.

The event is the final program in the school's annual Ethnic Week that began Jan. 5. Other Ethnic Week events included "Barriers to Providing Service in Detroit" on Jan. 5, sponsored by the Aesculapians Honor Society; "Ebola: Get Involved, Fight Back" on Jan. 6, sponsored by Africans in Medicine; "Impact of Acculturation on Hispanics in the U.S." Jan. 7, sponsored by Amigos Medicos; "Yoga: Its Origin and Application" Jan. 8, sponsored by Associated Students for Hinduism Awareness; and a "Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Care" panel discussion Jan. 9 about ethnically relevant issues in the medical setting.