Celebration Takes Students Around the World in 5 Days
International Week Offers Introduction to the Rich Tapestry of  Traditions on Campus

This year’s International Week was the University’s largest so far, with UT Dallas students representing a total 19 countries of origin.

UT Dallas’ student organizations – some of them newly formed – participated in five days of events, starting with Passport to the World, an exhibition that featured food, music and other introductions to the cultures of the student groups that participated.

Andrea Diaz, International Program Coordinator, said the event drew an estimated 1,100 participants,  a sizable jump above last year’s 700.

“This is my fifth year as a student at UT Dallas, but it is my first time to represent my country in Passport to the World,” said Dinushi Samarajeewa, a chemistry research assistant from Sri Lanka. Before, we didn’t have much of a Sri Lankan community here. Now, the number of international students is growing, so we decided to start a Sri Lankan Students Association.”

Her group received the award for Best Newcomer to Passport to the World.  Judges selected winners in other categories, including cuisine and national costume.

Saikumar Kalyankrishnan, a computer science graduate student from India, said he participated because he wanted to show the diversity of tradition in his country.

For me this event is not about the competition; it is about living up to our culture,” he said.“We are a real product of our culture, and we would like to share this culture with the world.”

The Indian Students Association won first prize in the Talent Show. The event filled the Clark Center auditorium beyond capacity for an evening of music, dancing and singing, as well as colorful, elaborate fashions.

“This really puts a spotlight on how culturally rich our UT Dallas population is,” Diaz said. “I’m glad I get to be involved in celebrating it every year.”

Winners of the judged contests were as follows:

Passport to the World

Best Cuisine: Egypt
Most Informative: Vietnam
Best National Costume: Bangladesh
Best Overall Display: India
People’s Choice: China
Best Newcomer: Sri Lanka


The Talent Show:

1st Place: Indian Cultural Dance
2nd Place: Bangladeshi Group Dance
3rd Place: Vietnamese Singing & Dancing

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].