UN Day displays cultural unity on campus

On a typical mid-October day, the Miami sun highlighted an unusual sight on the Green. A stage was set up between two tents, with brightly colored displays all over. The speakers blared out an eclectic mix of various world sounds from bhangra to soca and everything in between, and students performed on stage throughout the day.

A diverse group of students representing a variety of organizations on campus promoted cultural awareness, while exposing various problems facing people worldwide. The scene attracted the student body to what has become a fixture at UM: United Nations [UN] Day.

Sponsored by the Council of International Students and Organizations [COISO], UN Day is celebrated as an expression of international solidarity between various cultures and ethnicities and as a way to increase awareness of such cultures to college campuses nationwide. In light of the recent natural disasters and other problems plaguing various countries worldwide, and because of the number of students who represent those countries on our campus, COISO decided on the theme “Riding Out the Storm.”

“We broke away from the national theme because so many students on campus were affected by the recent hurricanes and other disasters,” Vivek Patel, COISO vice-president, said.

“UN Day’s goal is to raise cultural awareness, but we also brought to attention the disasters plaguing these countries,” Ciara Mohamed, president of COISO, said. “We want to focus more on the recovery effort rather than on the disasters.”

The theme of recovery from disasters also reverberated the common theme of humanity coming together for a common cause, which was reflected by the various student organizations who tabled at the event. Students passing by were drawn in by the various cultures being represented.

“This is a great event,” Ara Samra, sophomore, said. “I had no idea there were so many cultures on our campus.”

It is this increasing awareness that makes United Nations Day such a success. “We’ve been holding UN Day every year since COISO was established back in the 70’s,” Mohamed said. “It’s an event that everyone looks forward to.”

Christian Martinez can be contactedat c.martinez7@umiami.edu.