Duke MQM Student Blog
Student Diversity on Display at Multicultural Events
India/Pakistan Independence Day
Because Fuqua does so much to encourage diversity, my friend Karan and I felt inspired to put on this event. About a month into our MQM program, we began to discuss the idea of celebrating Independence for India and Pakistan at Fuqua.
The idea of celebrating student diversity while also recognizing the unity of the two countries in a place like Fuqua was both exciting and contagious. Soon, with the continued encouragement and support from the staff and fellow peers, we prepared to realize this event over a two-week window.
Although the two countries traditionally celebrate their independence on separate days (India on August 15 and Pakistan on August 14), at Fuqua we planned a joint celebration on August 16.
Colorful outfits, traditional Indian and Pakistani food, student dance and music performances, and a diverse turnout of more than 120 attendees were a few highlights. The event ended with students, staff, professors, and even Assistant Dean Jeremy Petranka dancing to the tunes of Bollywood songs.
The significance of the event lies in how it gave an opportunity to students from both MQM and MMS to interact and come together as a diverse student body very early into their programs. The success of the event set the course for several cultural celebrations in the subsequent months like the East Asian Mid-Autumn Festival and the Lunar New Year celebration.
I took away wonderful memories, warm appreciation, and cultural respect from the event feedback. The experience strengthened my belief in how celebrating differences in culture and history not only unite individuals, but also inspire great conversations, disseminate unique ideas, and strengthen friendships. I am fortunate to be part of such a diverse student body.
During the fall, the MQM Association student leadership group organized the “Mid-auTERM Festival,” a celebration of the Mid-Autumn Festival observed by East Asian countries.
I was excited to help bring a tradition I was accustomed to celebrating at home to my new home at Fuqua. The festival, which was held October 3, functioned in two ways: to give our East Asian students a taste of home, and to invite other students to learn about and celebrate a different culture.
The Mid-Autumn Festival legend originates from the story of Chang E, who stole an elixir from her husband and flew to the moon after she swallowed it. Chang E reminisces about her love, just as people today remember their family and loved ones. The festival is celebrated by families and friends gathering together to eat a meal and traditional mooncake, solve lantern riddles, and remember their loved ones.
At Fuqua, we celebrated the festival with food from two cultures: mooncake and pizza. Fuqua has a diverse student body, so we decided to use food as a bridge to connect international students with domestic students and celebrate cultural diversity.