Sharjah: American University of Sharjah (AUS) kicked off its most eagerly anticipated event of the year, the AUS Global Day, on March 1, turning the campus into a vibrant tapestry of cultures, music, cuisine and dance. Her Excellency Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, President of AUS, inaugurated the event, marking the start of the festivities held under the theme “Peace Around the World.” In attendance was HE Mr. Hussain Muhammad, Consul General of Pakistan in Dubai, Dr. Tod Laursen, Chancellor of AUS and other high-level university officials.

The AUS Main Plaza buzzed with visitors who wandered among more than 29 cultural and student-interest club pavilions. They immersed themselves in the rhythmic melodies of folkloric music and dance, savored the enticing aromas and flavors of delicious traditional cuisine, and admired elaborate traditional fashion from various countries worldwide.

“Hosting AUS Global Day to celebrate the diverse cultures on our campus enriches the student experience and fosters a sense of belonging and understanding among diverse communities. We have seen the amazing work of our students in setting up their booths and organizing their performances. These extracurricular activities serve as invaluable extensions of education outside the classroom, offering students the opportunity to broaden their perspectives, embrace diversity and cultivate lifelong skills in communication, collaboration and cultural competence,” said Shaima Bin Taliah, Executive Director of Student Experience at AUS.

The Emirati Cultural Club took a non-traditional approach to design its booth, which this year has taken the shape of a book.

“We decided to display information and pictures of the buildings that have appeared on UAE currency from the 1700s until today. We realized that not many people know what these buildings signify, and they do tell a story about the UAE and its history. The display also shows how far we have come as a country,” said Yousef Mansour Algargawi, President of the UAE Cultural Club.

The booth featured various vendors, among them Racks, which debuted a new board game inspired by the city of Sharjah. Additionally, Racks created special desserts infused with Emirati flavors exclusively for the Emirati Cultural Club display.

Other highlights at the Emirati display were a piano and guitar rendition of Allah ya dar Zayed, and Yola and Zarf dance performances.

“Global Day tests the cultural clubs’ creativity and opens a window to exploring other cultures. It also offers visitors an opportunity to get a taste of home,” said Algargawi.

Honoring Palestinian heritage, the Palestinian Cultural Club intricately weaved together the art of Palestinian embroidery, the flavors of its cuisine, the elegance of its traditional dress and the rhythm of its vibrant dances, with Gaza at its heart.

“Visitors had a taste of everything—from olive oil and maqloubeh to musakhan, Al Quds Kaak and coffee. We also choreographed Dabkeh dances, staged a play portraying life in Gaza, included a Palestinian Tarweedah performance and a special performance by four children from the AUS Choir. We wanted to show the different aspects of Palestine. The AUS Global Day is a beautiful opportunity to learn about different cultures. I always go around the different booths and learn something new,” said Abdallah Darwish, President of the Palestinian Cultural Club.

As one of the most active clubs on campus, the Indian Cultural Club this year designed its booth to emulate The Palace of Mirrors, Sheesh Mahal, in Jaipur, India. The booth featured a mesmerizing seven-meter-long arc adorned with 30,000 meticulously placed pieces of mirror that were assembled by the club’s student committee members. Adorning the left wall of the booth were 26 canvases masterfully painted by talented student members, while the right wall featured 15 intricately crafted jharokhas, traditional Indian windows, fashioned from cardboard to add a touch of authenticity to the display.

“We have also prepared a grand performance to take visitors on a nostalgic journey through the various eras of Bollywood. We traversed iconic eras of Indian cinema, stepping back into the vibrant 80s, where the dynamic duo of Govinda and Karishma Kapoor graced the silver screen, captivating audiences with their infectious energy. We then ventured into the enchanting 90s, a golden era defined by the mesmerizing performances of Madhuri Dixit and Salman Khan, whose on-screen chemistry left an indelible mark on cinematic history. We later transitioned into the 2000s, celebrating fan-favorite songs and memorable moments that have stood the test of time, capturing the essence of a generation,” said Siraj Mecci, President of the Indian Cultural Club.

He added: “We pride ourselves on showcasing the rich diversity of India by incorporating elements from all corners of the nation. Our dancers seamlessly blended the distinct styles of North and South India, creating a mesmerizing fusion that celebrated the cultural tapestry of our incredible country.”

The Global Day festivities will continue on Saturday, March 2 from 5:00 to 10:00 p.m. and are open to the public.

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