May 4, 2016

Students from 17 countries to showcase linguistic diversity

Students from 17 countries, including India, are coming together to promote the message of peace and brotherhood by showcasing diversity of languages through song and dance, at the 14th edition of International Festival of Language and Culture (IFLC) here on May 7.

The festival, which has been in vogue for the last 14 years, is being held for the first time in India and is scheduled to be held at the Talkatora Stadium under the theme Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam - the world is one family.

"We believe that understanding the different languages and cultures helps us understand each other better, and that is the motive behind IFLC to bring together people from around the world on a single platform to share their cultures and languages," Bilal Acikgoz, an IFLC coordinator said.

The event is being held by city based non-profit and nongovernmental organisation The Educational Endowment Trust (EET) in association with the Ministry of Culture and the UN Information Centre for India and Bhutan.

"The 3-hour long event is a by invite only festival which students and others can access by requesting for passes from the IFLC," Acikgoz said.

"The UN has long recognised that our human experiences are deeply interwoven with language and culture, that they are the tools through which we perceive the world and communicate with it," Kiran Mehra-Kerpelman, Director UNIC for India and Bhutan said.

Around 43 students and their mentors from 17 participating countries- Azerbaijan, Belarus Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Germany, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Tanzania, Tunisia, Ukraine, Hungary, US, Gerogia and Russia have been camping in the city from May 1.

"We visited Gandhi musuem and a few local shops, I love history and wanted to know more about Gandhi. There is so much colour and different cultures here but the weather is very hot, much hotter than in my country," said 16-year-old Abdulmalik Athumani, a 16-year-old participant from Tanzania.

Apart from being hosted by families in India, the international students have participated in workshops of Gond art and a nutrition workshop where they got acquainted with the food in India.

Schools from the national capital associated with the IFLC include Spingdales, Frank Antony, Ahlcon International, Mata Guruji, Tagore International and Bluebells International.

"I think the IFLC provides a wonderful opportunity for children to share their cultural histories and be ambassadors of peace. One of my students just came back from an IFLC event in Washington and previously in Thailand, it has been a learning experience for us too," Ameeta Mulla Wattal, Principal, Springdales School said.

Published on India Today, 5 May 2016, Thursday