Seventh annual Ettihad Cultural Festival showcases, celebrates cultures

Chloe Stewart, News Contributor

Garlands of flags decked the SEC Plaza, music and conversation could be heard and smells of this year’s Ettihad Cultural Festival community meal wafted on the light spring breeze.

Last Sunday, the Ettihad Cultural Center held their 7th annual Ettihad Cultural Festival. The event featured booths representing nations within the Ettihad region, a community meal made up of dishes from these nations and performances by student representatives of the different nations. Students, members of the community and even families with young children made up the dense crowd of attendees. Some attendees donned traditional wear for the event, forming a colorful kaleidoscope of cultural heritage.

According to Sara Hawash, leadership liaison for the ECC and Palestinian student, the ECC is an important source of community.

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This community is a home to students who are underrepresented in our community,” Hawash said in an email. “We represent students from North Africa, Central, Southwest, and South Asia. The Ettihad Cultural Center is a home for students who share similar cultures and ideals in a white-majority campus. It has been a place for me where I have felt at home and been able to connect and learn with community members in my region.”

According to Hawash, putting the festival together was a team effort made possible by the commitment of the ECC student staff and other participants.

“Everyone in the staff played a significant role in putting on the Ettihad Cultural Festival,” Hawash said in an email. “My staff were amazing and were the ones who made this happen through hard work and leadership. It was a group effort that could not have been done without them and the support of the community and volunteers.”

Hawash hopes that attendees of the event were able to learn while having a good time.

This festival is a fun experience for sure, but it also represents the beautiful unity,” Hawash said in an email. “I hope that visitors of the ECF are able to learn more about the cultures that the Ettihad region represents, which are typically underrepresented in our community and media.”