First 'Diversity Days' celebration to be held at WFU

By Pam Barrett
March 2, 2005

Wake Forest University will recognize and celebrate ethnicity and diversity at its first "Diversity Days" celebration March 17 - 20. The four-day event, which is sponsored by the Race Relations Committee of the Student Government, the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Resident Student Association, will include a variety of programs that reflect different cultural heritages. All events are free and open to the public.

"We were already planning an international festival, and we saw that Race Relations was planning Diversity Days, so we decided to combine our efforts and broaden the event to highlight ethnicity and diversity on the Wake Forest campus and in the Winston-Salem community," said Darius Bost, interim assistant director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs.

Diversity Days will begin March 17 with an International Festival from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the lobby of the Scales Fine Arts Center. At the festival, many Wake Forest students will be dressed in costumes that reflect their cultural heritages. The festival will include international music, ethnic foods plus an international fair featuring displays and presentations from various student organizations.

From 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., a program titled "An Evening of Diversity" will be held in Annenberg Forum in Carswell Hall. The program will feature singer Sheila Burnett of the 1960s group The Royalettes and three guest speakers: 2005 Rhodes Scholar and Wake Forest senior Rebecca Cook; retired businessman Frank Barbelace, who will speak on diversity in business; and actress Kimberly Brooks, who will speak on diversity in Hollywood.

On March 18, the International Festival will resume on Davis Field from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. In addition to the International Fair, the festival will feature live performances by Wake Forest's "Dirrty Dancers," the Mt. Zion Praise Dancers of Winston-Salem and Baraka Mundi, a bellydance troupe from Asheville.

The celebration will continue at 8 p.m. with a Poetry Slam at Shorty's in Benson University Center. Students, faculty and community members are encouraged to participate. Cash prizes will be awarded. To register for the Poetry Slam, email Marcus Hill at

On March 19 at 8 p.m., Diversity Days will feature a dance performance by the Kotchegna Dance Company in Brendle Recital Hall in Scales Fine Arts Center. Founded in 1989 by Vado Diomande, principal dancer from the National Ballet of Ivory Coast, the New York City-based dance company draws from more than 60 ethnic traditions to perform mask dances, intricate drum rhythms and colorful, exuberant dances.

Diversity Days will conclude on March 20 at 3 p.m. in Brendle Recital Hall with a concert titled "Traditional Music of Vietnam: from North to South." The concert will feature Wake Forest senior Jason Nguyen and other guest artists performing on traditional Vietnamese instruments, including the single-stringed monochord, fiddle, zither and moon lute. The music will include traditional folk songs and an excerpt from a Vietnamese opera. The concert is sponsored by the Wake Forest music department.

For more information about the event, call 336-758-5766.

EDITOR'S NOTE: To arrange coverage, contact Pam Barrett at the News Service at 336-758-5237.

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