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Students sample food, culture at annual Taste of the Nations event

February 19, 2009 : Dominique McKay

Liberty University’s fifth annual Taste of the Nations festival was held Wednesday night, Feb. 18 in the Liberty Christian Academy gym. More than 1,000 Liberty students sampled food from 20 different nations, including Yemen, Thailand and the Philippines.

The event was held in conjunction with Missions Emphasis Week at Liberty.

“Many people at Liberty came to Liberty with a particular missions-oriented objective so it makes sense for this to be one of the biggest events on campus,” said Tip Killingsworth, Liberty University School of Religion professor.

William Wegert, dean of International Student Programs, developed the event in 2005 in order to give Liberty’s international students an opportunity to showcase their heritage and, particularly, their cuisine.

“This is another way of sharing other cultures and other people groups,” Wegert said. “We’re different in the sense that we prepare different foods, but we’re all alike in the sense that we like to eat.”

The event is hosted by the Office of International Student Services in conjunction with Liberty’s Family and Consumer Science Department (FACS). FACS students worked alongside international students in preparing the food.

Junior Martin Granda prepared a variety of food native to his home country of Ecuador, including empanadas, potato lasagna and a three-meal dessert.

“We always get tons of people but this year we got a really great response,” he said.

Other countries represented included the Bahamas, Canada, China, Germany, Haiti, India, Kenya, Korea, Liberia, Mexico, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, South Africa and Tanzania.

Students waited in long lines for the food, but it was worth it.

“Students not only get a taste of food from other countries but it also lets them open up their minds about other cultures,” said senior Saquoia Freeman.