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7th annual Cleveland Multicultural Holiday Celebration

On Wednesday night we attended the 7th annual Cleveland Multicultural Holiday Celebration at the Global Center for Health Innovation hosted by the International Community Council-Worldwide Intercultural Network (ICC-WIN) in partnership with the City of Cleveland and Mayor Frank Jackson.

Mr. Ken Kovach, the President of the ICC-WIN Board of Directors, proclaimed that this gathering was about bringing together people of different cultures "to explore and celebrate the world in their own backyard" which was the theme for the night.

 First of all, starting at 6pm, food was served from six international restaurants in the Cleveland area which were the Cleveland Tiffin Indian Restaurant, the Dragon Light Vietnamese Restaurant, the Empress Taytu Ethiopian Restaurant, the Gintaras Lithuanian Restaurant, the Kan Zaman Middle East Restaurant, and the Li Wah Chinese Restaurant.

 Since Margaret W. Wong and Associates was one of the sponsors, we got to table there so we set up our display between those of the Ariel International Center and Global Cleveland. We had some trouble setting up our collapsible banner but two men from from the engineering department of the Global Center stepped in to help us and our banner was raised.

 To attract those passing by, we brought along a small dancing Snoopy wearing a scarf, a snow cap, and green glasses. Needless to say, Snoopy was quite a hit particular with the youngsters.

 Mr. Kovach recalled that when this program was originated, it took place at Cleveland City Hall but so many people wanted to partake in the event that they ultimately outgrew the rotunda.

 Mr. Mehmet Gencer, the Chairman of the Celebration Team, said that even though good food coupled with good entertainment are vital ingredients, it is the "people who make the party!"

 We were then treated to performances from four international dance teams who were Hula Fusion (Polynesian); JAPO (African); Sho-Jo-Ji (Japanese); and Tepehuani Nelli (Mexican). Music was supplied by DJ Kris Koch who frequently covers international happenings.

 On this occasion, we gave away copies of Ms. Margaret W. Wong's book, "The Immigrant's Way" to people who were interested in immigration and its history. Among the people we gave them to were an international law student at CWRU who knew of Ms. Wong's work and really admired her and Ms. Tuba Gokoglu who we know from her work to establish the Turkish Cultural Garden. Ms. Gokoglu immigrated to the United States from Turkey about in 1976.

 The highlight of the evening was an international fashion show featuring models representing 25 countries which included Armenia, Bulgaria, Bhutan, Cameroon, China , Egypt, Hawaii, the Mung people (mostly from Laos), Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Lithuania, Mexico, Morocco, Nepal, Palestine, Puerto Rico, Russia, Senegal, Serbia, Tanzania, Zambia, and the United States.

 Dr. Nada Martinovic and Mr. David Delgado took turns explaining the significance of the clothes from practical, cultural, and historical standpoints. As the models toured the stage, music was played which it was believed best represented the various countries.

 The big climax of the fashion show occurred when all of the models gathered together on stage wearing clothing that reflected tremendous cultural diversity.

 We don't know the exact number of attendees but it looked so large that we feel it is a safe bet that this wonderful program will take place again next year.


Michael Patterson

Community Liaison,

Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC

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