International Food Festival celebrates diverse tastes and cultures

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

The Augustana Office of International Programs has gathered recipes from around the globe for the 9th annual International Food Festival on Saturday, Feb. 5, from 5 to 7 p.m. in the College Center Dining Room (3750 7th Ave.). Everyone is welcome to attend this all-you-can-eat buffet; tickets are $12.50 per person.

The festival will feature more than 30 dishes from Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe and Latin America. As is tradition, the items on the menu are selected to represent the homelands of Augustana’s current international students and the locations of its study-abroad programs. Members of Augustana Dining Services prepare the entire meal based on recipes gathered from international students, faculty members and their own research.

Last year, more than 500 students and community members attended the International Food Festival. Dr. Allen Bertsche, director of International/Off-Campus Study, believes the meal is a great way to strengthen the connection between Augustana and the local and global community. “We can invite community members in for something that they can’t get elsewhere in the Quad Cities,” he said. “I know of people with no connection to Augustana who look forward to it every year.”

The Office of International Programs is a division of Augustana’s Community Engagement Center (CEC), which opened at the beginning of the school year. The CEC’s seven offices—the Center for Vocational Reflection, Career Development, Entrepreneurial Development, International and Off-Campus Programs, Internship Services, Service Learning and Volunteer Programs—prepare students for meaningful work and study beyond the campus of Augustana.

The International Food Festival is a prime example of the CEC’s efforts to bridge gaps between different communities and cultures. Bertsche says, “The food of a culture is a gateway for understanding that culture. Sometimes eating the food is just enough to peak our curiosity about the ways other people live. It gets us asking questions.”

Tickets for the buffet may be purchased through the Augustana Ticket Office at (309) 794-7306. Tickets are $12.50 per person; children under 4 are free but still require a ticket.

For more information, contact Scott Cason at scottcason@augustana.edu or (309) 794-7323.