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VIU Diversity Luncheon Series

The purpose of the Diversity Luncheon Series is to help faculty, staff, and students learn about different cultures. Specifically, the diversity luncheon series seeks to educate people about the customs, foods, religions, languages, music and traditions. Make sure to check out VIU calendar for upcoming luncheons!

Thanksgiving Celebration

Thanksgiving Celebration

On November 16th, the Student Affairs Department held a Thanksgiving Celebration for students and faculty. It is generally believed that the first Thanksgiving occurred in 1621 when the Puritan pilgrims who were the first to settle in the New World to escape persecution in Europe arrived on the Mayflower. Thanksgiving was not declared an official holiday until November 26, 1789 by President George Washington. Then in December 26, 1941 the official date of Thanksgiving was moved from the last Thursday in November to the fourth Thursday of the month...

Diwali Celebration

Diwali Celebration

On November 9th, the Student Affairs Department and the Indian Spirit club held the second annual Diwali celebration. Diwali is a festival of lights. Its most popular and celebrated in India, Nepal and Bangladesh. It is celebrated by Hindus, Jains and Sikhs. Diwali is a word that actually refers to a row of clay lamps.

It is celebrated in the happiness of Lord Ram who was a king, had a war and wins good over evil. All the people of his kingdom were happy for the king returning back home from winning the war...

Rosh Hashanah Celebration

Rosh Hashanah Celebration

On October 4, 2015 Student Affairs held a VIU Diversity Luncheon called Rosh Hashanah Celebration. Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year, which means “Head of the Year” and marks the beginning of a 10-day period that includes prayer, self-examination, and repentance. Rosh Hashanah is celebrated on the first day of the Hebrew month and the customs associated with the holiday are sounding the shofar, eating challah, and tasting apples and honey because they represent “A Sweet New Year.”

A VIU Student, Bakhtiyor Rahimov volunteered to be the mc for the event. The event opened with a brief video about Rosh Hashanah. Our guest speaker, Rabbi Isserow shared about the significance of Rosh Hashanah in the Jewish faith...

Latin and Hispanic Heritage Celebration

Latin and Hispanic Heritage Celebration

Student Affairs held its first Diversity Luncheon of the 2016-2017 academic year on September 27, 2016. It was the Latin and Hispanic Heritage Celebration. Each year, National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated from September 15 to October 15 to celebrate the histories, cultures, and contributions of Latin and Hispanic individuals.

Ana Serrano, who is from Guatemala, was the mc for the event. The ceremony started with a collaboration signing between Liliana Robeson, the Founder of the Etnika Foundation and Dr. Suleyman Bahceci. To help the attendees know more about...

Signature Iftar Dinner

Signature Iftar Dinner

Student Affairs held a Diversity Dinner: Celebrating the Month of Ramadan on June 22, 2016. Ramadan is a month of intense prayer which involves dawn to dusk fasting and nightly feasts after the sun has gone down with family and friends. By fasting, Muslims believe it brings them closer to God and it also reminds them of those who are suffering and are less fortunate. Ramadan is also a time for believers to detach from worldly pleasures and to spend time focusing on one’s inner self.

The purpose of our event was to educate faculty, staff, and students about Ramadan. Nihal Balci did a presentation about Ramadan ...

Central Asia Nowruz New Year

Central Asia Nowruz New Year

Student Affairs held our sixth VIU Diversity Luncheon Series: Central Asia Nowruz New Year on March 24, 2016. Nowruz, which means “New Day,” is the Persian New Year. During Nowruz, there is a table (Haft Sin) setting with 7 different items which are essential items that start with (Sin-Seen) which are symbols for regeneration, fertility, abundance, and wealth. These items include: an apple, grass, sea-buckthorn, vinegar, Samanu, Sumac, and garlic. Other items that can be included on the table are a mirror, a goldfish, the Quran, and candlesticks.

The purpose of the event was to educate faculty, staff, and students about how different...

African American Heritage

African American Heritage

Student Affairs held its fifth VIU Diversity Luncheon Series: Celebrating African American Heritage on February 24, 2016. Each year in the U.S. the month of February is Black History Month. During this month, the contributions of people of African descent are recognized.

The purpose of the event was to educate faculty, staff and students about Africa and why we celebrate African Heritage month. Dr. Johnson gave a presentation on diversity and multiculturalism...

Asian New Year Celebration

Student Affairs held its fourth VIU Diversity Luncheon Series: Asian New Year Celebration on February 11, 2016. Tam Emmanuel gave a presentation on Asia and also talked about meaning of the Asian New Year Celebration. A Mongolian student talked about how he celebrates the New Year when he is at home as well as in the U.S. Another student sang a traditional Mongolian song. Lastly, the students enjoyed traditional Asian food. ..

Celebrating Diwali-The Festival of Lights

Student Affairs held its third VIU Diversity Luncheon Series 3: Celebrating Diwali-The Festival of Light on November 12, 2015. The purpose of the event was to educate students about why people celebrate Diwali. To open the event, Dr. Ramesh Ravella talked about Diwali and the significance of the event. We then enjoyed listening to the song Kamal Kucha which was sung by Krishnaveni. The students participated in a traditional Ramp Walk where men and women dressed in beautiful outfits. ...

Hispanic Heritage Month

African American Heritage

Student Affairs held its second VIU Diversity Luncheon Series 2: Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month on September 24, 2015. The purpose of the event was to educate students about the Hispanic culture. We had a guest speaker, Michel Zajur, Founder and CEO of the Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce talked about his family immigrating from Mexico City to Richmond VA. He also shared how his family established a local restaurant called La Siesta. Lastly, he talked about his journey to founding...

Muslims Ramadan Festival

African American Heritage

We held our first VIU Diversity Luncheon Series: Muslims Ramadan Festival on July 20, 2015. The purpose of the event was to educate students about the Muslim faith and the significance of Raman in the Muslim culture. Dr. Bilgin opened the event by talking about diversity and why it is important. We then had a guest speaker, Jena Luedtke, the Director of Interfaith and Intercultural affairs to speak about Ramadan. She also asked students, faculty, and staff to share why Ramadan is an important time for them.
Highlight video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzm0LiLL5qw
Lecture video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bd9wQHTLoEk

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