More than a year’s worth of planning on behalf of faculty and students culminated this week in a broad-based event that brought cultures from across the globe to TCU’s campus.
The festival, which concluded Thursday night, invited the university community to “explore a world beyond our borders,” according to the AddRan College of Liberal Arts’ website. German and French Studies associate professor Jeffrey Todd and Department of Spanish and Hispanic studies chair, Komla Aggor co-chaired the festival.
The festival included multiple events ranging from discussion panels featuring international students at TCU to the Starpoint School students’ presentation of “Dance of the Continents”.
China Correspondent of American Public Media’s Marketplace, Rob Schmitz, delivered the keynote address. Schmitz, who is known for discrediting author Mike Daisey’s infamous claims about a Foxconn factory’s labor conditions in China, spoke about his experiences with immersion into the Chinese culture.
Todd said Schmitz’s success is attributed to his understanding of Chinese culture.
“This is an American who learned cultural sensitivity and understood enough about Chinese culture to get behind these issues," Todd said.
Another popular event among students was salsa dancing in the Campus Commons. Calirumba, a Dallas-based salsa company, entertained with dynamic music while participants learned some salsa skills and snacked on empanadas, chips and queso.
Aggor said the goal of the festival was to stress the importance of learning about other cultures and achieving that through language.
“No language – no society; no society – no culture,” he said. “The most effective way of reaching [other cultures] is through language.”
The conclusion of the Fest featured university alumni Justin Colvard’s presentation of Kinshasa Kids, a gritty mockumentary about corruption in the Congo.
Morgan Murphy, a junior journalism major who attended the presentation, said she was attending events to earn extra credit for a class, but the festival turned out to be more enjoyable than she expected.
“I’ve just been trying to rack-up extra credit, but surprisingly it’s been really entertaining throughout the whole process,” Murphy said.