All In The Campaign for Blair Academy 2018-2025
male students sample international food
cecic forum international fair
dominican republic international fair
male student samples international food
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female students sample international food
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International Weekend Sparks Joy & Ignites Intercultural Learning
Ashley Taube

This past weekend, Blair opened a window into the lives and cultures of our community members with International Weekend. Organized by the Inclusivity Committee and the Blair International Awareness Club (BIAC), the long-running tradition celebrated the diversity of campus while creating a space for sharing and learning.

“International Weekend is a beautiful example of community collaboration,” Dean of Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Evan Thomas said. “It takes all of us—student leaders, dining, grounds, housekeeping, parents and faculty—but it is an immersive experience we all benefit from. It’s so exciting to see our students, parents and faculty engage in this experience and I think it gets better year after year!”

anwita quote international weekend

The weekend kicked off with preparations on Saturday: grocery store runs and a quick trip to a local Asian food market to gather the necessary ingredients for Sunday’s festivities. Members of the faculty hosted small group experiences at their homes in the afternoon, including a French immersion into the world of cheese tasting and macaron creation at the Issenchmidts and a spring roll tutorial at the Devaney residence.

The evening was capped off with a few beloved traditions that have become staples in the International Weekend programming—a World Cup soccer tournament on the turf and International Karaoke in the Can. A delicious taco food truck was on hand to satisfy hungry spectators, soccer players and performers alike!

The preparations continued into Sunday morning, when the full community pulled together to host the global food bazaar in the the Chiang-Elghanayan Center for Innovation and Collaboration. Dining hall staff worked alongside faculty, students and parents to bring the cuisine and customs of more than 15 different countries to the hilltop in celebration of the diverse backgrounds that make Blair special.

“I love hosting International Weekend on campus because it allows me to share the rich tapestry of my Nigerian culture with others while also engaging in discussions that will deepen my connection to Blair’s diverse global community,” Atlas Akinyemiju ’25 explained.

The forum was an exciting opportunity for two Blair clubs to bring awareness to the charities they support throughout the year. Club Umoja hosted a T-shirt fundraiser to support food security in Africa, and Club Esperanza Harbor sold bubble tea to support educational opportunities for children in rural China. Combined with other fundraisers this year, Club Esperanza Harbor has raised more than $700 for their mission.

 “I take pleasure in introducing beverages from my cultural heritage to a diverse audience while simultaneously raising funds to enrich educational opportunities for children in rural China,” said Selina Liu ’26, who hosted a fundraiser with Club Esperanza Harbor during the bazaar. “This approach serves to foster greater cross-cultural exchange among students from the United States and China.”

The weekend’s events concluded with a Staying Together and Creating Culture (STaCC) session on interfaith gatherings hosted by the Belonging and Equity Committee. The event was an intercultural learning opportunity for the community to share in different faith traditions and take part in customs they may not have been exposed to previously.  

After such a successful weekend, Associate Head of School Ryan Pagotto ’97 commended everyone’s efforts on stage at Monday’s School meeting. Photos from the weekend full of smiles, laughter and delicious food were projected for everyone’s enjoyment and the theatre was filled with purposeful joy after recounting the festivities. Collaborative events such as these that foster a spirit of inclusivity, understanding and appreciation are pivotal to building the lasting connections that make Blair unique.

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