India Week Promotes Cultural Awareness on Campus

Diversity is at the core of Emory University, and the various nationalities present on campus exemplify this. To celebrate diversity, the Claus M. Halle Institute for Global Learning and the Indian Cultural Exchange (ICE) have come together to present India Week. This week, India Week begins March 28 and runs through April 4, with a special event planned for each day at various campus locations.

India Week is an annual week-long celebration that brings forth several shades of India with respect to its culture, social, political, economic and ethnic diversity. It is a chance for Emory students to explore and learn more about Indian culture and also a platform for Indian students to express themselves and share their rich traditions with the Emory community. This event was first initiated in 2010 by Goizueta Business School students and has grown since. Emory’s Halle Institute took over the operations in 2012, with the goal of expanding the scale of the events held during the week.

Since Emory University has a substantial population of Indian students, one of the key challenges for the organizations is sufficiently capturing the particularities and cultural soul of the diverse regions in India through mediums such as music, dance and food. This year, the Dobbs University Center (DUC) will also be serving Indian dishes each day of India Week.

“Our biggest event is the keynote speech by the Consul General of India in Atlanta, Mr. Nagesh Singh,” said Mazhar Kadwalwala, president of the student committee at the Halle Institute,. “Mr. Singh’s talk is titled ‘India and the World of the 21st Century.’ The talk will highlight the idea that as political and social strife, extremism and terrorism show their ugly faces in various parts of the world, it is vital for us to understand the reasons for India’s relative success, despite its diversity and complexity in terms of its myriad languages, ethnicities, castes, religions and socio-economic disparities.”

Other events that will take place throughout the week include a faculty panel exploring research opportunities in India, free food from different regions of India at Wonderful Wednesday, a cricket tournament and a Holi celebration.

“One of the things I am really looking forward to is the celebration of Holi. Being away from home, it’s always nice to know that Emory, through its various cultural organizations, truly provides us with an inclusive environment and another place to call home,” College sophomore Rusha Naik said.

Multiple events have been organized and implemented through the integration of the Halle Institute, ICE, Hindu Student Association (HSA), Student Programming Council (SPC) and Emory Cricket Club (ECC). India Week’s events are open to undergraduates and graduates, as well as faculty members.

“We believe that cultural awareness can only be achieved through mass participation, and this is why we want people from all backgrounds and walks of life to attend our events,” Kadwalwala said. “Exposure to diversity is the primary way by which we can remove the blindfold of ignorance and use it as a tool to educate and broaden our understanding of our multicultural world.”

India Week is not only about allowing various Indian-based organizations on campus to join hands to bring about a one of a kind experience, but also about providing students with exposure to different cultures and traditions right here on the Emory campus.

“India is such a large and diverse country with countless ethnic groups and subcultures, and one of the benefits of that diversity is the ability to explore the connections between them,” College sophomore Kavya Sundaram said. “India week allows us to appreciate the interdependence of these subcultures and understand their place in the landscape of the beautiful aggregate Indian culture that we know today.”

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