This weekend, which is Parents' Weekend, Student Affairs will host the 14th annual International Festival, a celebration of the traditions and practices of the many cultures represented at Carnegie Mellon.
For eleven years, the International Festival honored a different continent each year, rotating themes between Asia, Africa, Latin American and the Caribbean, and Europe. The reasoning behind the cycle was that all of Carnegie Mellon's undergraduates would get to experience all four continents. However, for the past three years, global issues have instead been chosen as themes. All of the numerous events planned for the upcoming weekend revolve around this year's theme, "From Feast to Famine: Food Culture and Society," including lectures about food, art about food, and food itself.
"It runs the gamut," said Emily Half, coordinator of student affairs and the International Festival, about the variety of events.
The International Festival kicks off on Thursday with its keynote speaker, Frances Moore Lappé, an activist and author who has founded two national organizations to combat hunger and promote democracy and has written or co-written fourteen books on these and related topics.
Lappé's lecture will be based on the findings in her 2002 book, Hope's Edge: The New Diet for a Small Planet, an updated version of her original 1971 bestseller Diet for a Small Planet. Both books focus on the needlessness of starvation in a world where there is enough food to feed everyone, but Hope's Edge includes modern issues such as genetically modified food products. Complimentary copies of Hope's Edge will be distributed to the first 50 students who arrive for the 4:30 lecture.
Masaharu Morimoto, best known as Iron Chef Japanese on the popular television program "Iron Chef", but also the owner and chef of a renowned restaurant in Philadelphia that shares his name, will be giving a cooking presentation on Friday night in McConomy. Although he will not be required to prepare dishes using a central ingredient as he would on the television show, all of the food that Morimoto makes will be distributed to audience members.
The 400 tickets available to see Morimoto sold out by 1:00 on Monday.
"The response was just overwhelming," said Half.
Half recommends that students who did not get tickets to Morimoto's presentation should consider seeing another chef, Rania Harris, a local cooking celebrity who will be preparing Greek food as part of Saturday's events.
Other events will occur throughout the weekend, including Please Eat the Art, a presentation of the artistic culinary work of University students, faculty, and staff, and the International Bazaar, which will feature twelve food vendors and eight craft vendors from the Pittsburgh area.
Many other presentations, discussions, and films will take place during the Festival, ranging from a traditional Japanese tea ceremony to a musical performance by Hasidic reggae artist Matisyahu.
"I'd recommend attending 'On Campus Iftars,' the Muslim Student Association-sponsored breaking of the Ramadan fast," said Student Affairs intern Karl Sjogren. "In addition to free cuisine, students will be treated to an overview of Ramadan and the role it plays within the Islamic faith."
Members of the Carnegie Mellon community are encouraged to share with coordinators in Student Affairs any ideas for next year's Festival, including themes, speakers, and cultural activities. A committee of volunteers will select the theme for next year's Festival in December or January, drawing from the recommendations they receive from the campus community.
All of the scheduled events are available online on The Pulse's events page and the International Festival webpage (http://www.cmu.edu/internationalfestival).
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