Students modeling the traditional clothing of a wide range of countries – from Korea to Iran to the Comanche Nation – strut across the stage.
A Chinese student plucks somber tones on the Guzheng while another dances; a third paints calligraphy in bold strokes.
A group from the African nation of Angola, wearing face and body paint, dance in unison in a contemporary hip-hop fusion style called Kuduro.
A Zimbabwean student, accompanied by an acoustic guitar, captivates the crowd with her vocal performance of a song called “Ndokutenda Sei.”
If you attended last year’s Eve of Nations celebration, these scenes may sound familiar, as they all played out that night across the Lloyd Noble stage. If you missed last year’s show, however, you have another chance to experience the magic: this Friday, April 12, the University of Oklahoma will host its 49th annual iteration of the show. The Eve of Nations is Oklahoma’s largest multicultural showcase featuring the dance, music and fashion of more than 80 countries. It is organized by the International Advisory Committee (IAC), an OU executive student body representing international students and organizations, whose main goals are to increase awareness of and unity within OU’s international community.
Each year, the Eve of Nations invites OU students, faculty and staff as well as members of the local community to learn more about the university’s diverse international student body, their home countries and the cultural traditions they hold dear. “Eve of Nations is a wonderful event — one of the best of the year,” notes Dr. Rebecca Cruise, Associate Dean of Student Services in the College of International Studies. “Through fashion, dance, music and poetry, viewers are reminded of how vibrant our world truly is. We are fortunate that so many international students and their families come to study here. They make this a better place.”
The India Student Association performs at the 2018 Eve of Nations.
This year’s Eve of Nations, which features over 100 participants, “is much grander than what we have seen in the past years,” explains Tatenda Dzvimbo, ’21, the show’s publicity and ticketing manager. “We have an incredible team that is putting in exceptional amount of work to ensure it is a memorable event.”
According to 2018-19 IAC president Tara Putri, a Petroleum Geology graduate student from Jakarta, Indonesia, this year’s event has a more pointed theme than in the past. The title, “CXCV Shades in Unity,” refers to harmony among the 195 countries of the world, and the show will focus on the idea that our differences are something to embrace and celebrate. “We will continue the tradition of celebrating diversity, [but] we will also be sending a message to the community through this event in response to recent issues that have been happening on campus,” Putri explains, referring to recent racist incidents which have left many international students and students of color feeling unsafe or unwelcome. “We want Eve of Nations to be our way to resolve these issues with love, compassion, and understanding.”
This year’s show will be held April 12th from 6:30-9 p.m. in the Lloyd Noble Center (2900 Jenkins Ave., Norman). Those who wish can purchase a dinner ticket, which includes a three-course, multicultural meal of Caesar salad, Filipino chicken adobo, Indonesian kway teow, sautéed vegetables and a dessert of cinnamon and sugar churros. The show, which begins at 7, will feature a multicultural fashion show followed by music and dance performances showcasing international student cultures, from the traditional to the contemporary. These performances, which are choreographed and rehearsed over a period of weeks, compete for top honors from a panel of judges.
This year’s program concludes with a special collective performance, Putri notes, “which will reflect our theme itself and show the community that with different cultural backgrounds, customs, traditions, and beliefs we are able to acknowledge our differences, understand our differences, respect our differences and UNITE under our differences.”
The Eve of Nations is always a fun-filled, inspiring event, but for its organizers and performers, it’s about much more than just putting on a good show. “We at IAC believe that cultural education is one of the most important things the community, including ourselves, can gain at OU, which helps us become better human beings by encouraging tolerance, acceptance and understanding,” Putri says. “This specific aspect of Eve of Nations is what I love most.”
We hope you’ll join OU’s international community for this unforgettable and inspiring event! Members of the public are encouraged to attend.
A student from the Angolan Student Association accepts his group's prize for best performance at the 2018 Eve of Nations.
Students: $9 show only, $16 dinner + show
Non-students: $12 show only, $20 dinner + show
Those wishing to reserve an eight-person table with dinner included can pay a reduced group rate of $112 (students) or $144 (non-students).
To reserve your ticket, visit http://www.eventbrite.com/e/eve-of-nations-2019-tickets-58727103347. Please reserve in advance for dinner and group tickets; general admission tickets (show only) will be available at the door. For accommodations on the basis of disability, please contact email@example.com or call (701) 729-2398.