Soubouti said similar cultural events held by Asian and Hispanic cultural groups on campus inspired the idea for the event.
“We wanted it to be a cultural thing so we can not only get to know each other, get to know each other’s cultures, but so we can show UNC,” Soubouti said.
President Amir Vig and secretary Walid Nasim of the Afghan Student Association agreed that this event was an important opportunity to promote understanding about Middle Eastern countries beyond the political portrayals of the media.
“We have a lot of cultural organizations, but then again the Afghan community isn’t really represented in Chapel Hill,” Nasim said.
“You see through the media, the only thing we see about Afghanistan is the pessimistic, biased view, so we figured why not alleviate that.”
Because the groups’ memberships are relatively small, ranging from six to 35 members, the groups promoted the event in many ways.
Sophomore Brittney Scurry heard about the event when it was announced in her class. She said she was looking forward to the learning opportunity the event presented.
“I’ve never seen Middle Eastern dance before, so it should be a learning opportunity,” Scurry said. “I’m not exactly sure what it is, but I just want to learn.”
Groups organized performances through dance and song and provided food and items symbolic to their nations’ respective culture to the event.
Soubouti said the performances were important to understanding the uniqueness and depth of the countries.
“People shouldn’t just care about the politics — there are people too,” Soubouti said.
“It’s humanizing what we usually see as dehumanized in the media.”
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