University offices, student groups partner with International Club to host feast

University+offices%2C+student+groups+partner+with+International+Club+to+host+feast

courtesy of Dan Lindsay

This three-hour long event, sponsored by International Student Services (ISS) and the International Club, included various attention-grabbing performances.

Shinichi Inoue, Staff Reporter

On Saturday, March 31, the 40th International Dinner was held at Thwing Center. The three-hour long event, sponsored by International Student Services (ISS) and International Club, presented various authentic international cuisines and attention-grabbing performances. This year, over 80 volunteer cooks prepped meals for over 300 guests. Each cook had the freedom to incorporate their own traditional dishes into the mix.

International Club vice president Sean Dwijendra said, “We were fortunate to have some amazing volunteers, cooks, performers, MCs, and a wonderful audience who helped make the International Dinner a success. A lot of people worked hard to present some truly unique and authentic food and performances.”

The event began at 5 p.m. with a reception in the Thwing Attrium, followed by dinner at 6 p.m. and a series of performances starting at 8:00 p.m.

The International Dinner has been a cultural tradition at Case Western Reserve University, and this year proved no different. Besides ISS and International Club, many other CWRU entities were involved, including university offices such as the Office of Multicultural Affairs, Office of International Affairs, and Office of Student Affairs, and student-run organizations such as the Undergraduate Student Government (USG), Chinese Students and Scholar Association (CSSA), and Satrang-Indian Graduate Student Association.

Preparation for the feast began weeks ago, when volunteer cooks started on the menu and performers started their rehearsal processes.

As the sun went down on Saturday, performers arrived hours before the event to prepare for the night. The first event was Mame Daiko, a traditional Japanese Taiko drum performance by the Cleveland Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL). The nine performers used Taiko drums of various sizes, other percussion instruments, and flute. The Japanese drum performance included four songs.

The next event was Deep in the Bamboo Forest, a traditional Chinese Peacock Dance performance by Weidan Fan, an International Dinner regular and a CWRU graduate. This was Weidan’s third International Dinner performance; she began her routine as a student at the School of Law and has since performed twice as an alumna. She currently lives and works as an attorney in Chicago.

Zihao “Prince” Wang, president of the International Club, stated, “It’s wonderful to see [Weiden] return again. Her performance has never ceased to amaze me and she’s a truly astounding talent that we are more than grateful to have.”

The last performance of the first half was a piano piece by Anna Vasilyeva, a Russian pianist who performed her first recital at age 10. She performed Moment Musicaux in E minor, Op. 16 No. 4 by Sergei Rachmaninov. She is currently studying in the Cleveland Institute of Music and working toward her Artist Diploma in collaborative piano.

The second half of the event began with a duet vocal performance by two CWRU undergraduate students. Yi Cai, a senior economics and Japanese studies major, and Junwei Zhang, a sophomore management student, performed Shen Bian by Wu Yin Liang Pin.

As the two performers stated, “the song’s message is timeless and explores the value of importance of those around us whom we hold most dearly. We believe this song is a perfect setting for International Dinner, where the guests have the opportunity to spend time with those they care and love the most.”

The next performance was by two more CWRU undergraduates, second-year biochemistry and classics double major Miranda Culley and first-year economics major Grace O’Brien. The dup performed three Irish dance routines, each showcasing a different dance. The first was slip jig, a traditional Irish dance performed only by ladies wearing soft-soled shoes. The last two routines were solo performances.

Prince Wang remarked, “We had four undergrad students perform tonight; not only were their performances brilliant, but it exemplified the diverse and immense talents that are present on this campus.”

The last performance of the night was a crowd-pleaser. Raja Al Masraya put together three belly dances. This performance is an example of a cabaret show commonly seen in restaurants. It includes a set of routines: a fast introduction, a slower middle song, and a fast drum solo to conclude.

As the performances drew to an end, the night finished with recognition of some graduating members of the International Club. Dwijendra, who will be graduating in May, discussed his experience with the dinner: “Overall, I’ve enjoyed being a part of the International Club and helping out with the International Dinner for the past three years. It’s going to be strange not doing this again, but knowing that the club is in good hands makes me feel a lot better.”

Wang is also graduating this year. He joked, “the 40th International Dinner was a success and the 41st may have a hard time topping this one.”