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International Street Fair celebrates community’s global diversity (PHOTOS)

Ohio University students, faculty and staff joined together with area residents this past weekend for an annual event celebrating the community’s collective global family.

One of the most highly anticipated events of Ohio University’s International Week celebration, the 33rd annual International Street Fair was held April 18 on Court Street in uptown Athens. Sunny skies made for an afternoon filled with food, performances and activities all designed to showcase the cultural diversity of Ohio University’s more than 1,800 international students.

Here are some highlights from the event:

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Members of the Ohio University and Athens communities pass through OHIO’s Alumni Gateway as they kick off the International Street Fair with the parade of flags. Celebrated as early as 1969, Ohio University’s International Week celebration includes the display of flags from international students’ home countries on the University’s College Green. This year that display, set up by OHIO’s International Student Union, included 118 flags.

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The parade of flags continues onto Court Street in uptown Athens, bringing the University’s International Week festivities into the surrounding community. Many of the international students who participate in the parade don not only the flag of their home country but also some of their culture’s traditional attire.

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Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis addresses the crowd at this year’s International Street Fair. This year marks 120 years since Ohio University welcomed its first international student, Sakitaro Murayama of Japan, to the Athens Campus in 1895. Today, students from nearly every continent are enrolled at the University.

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Among the many displays set up on Court Street during the International Street Fair was this one, which allowed festival-goers to mark on a world map the location of their home country and community. The map was a great way to illustrate the theme of this year’s International Week, “Our Global Family Celebration.”

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Members of Ohio University’s international community proudly wave the flags of their home countries outside of the Athens County Courthouse during this year’s International Street Fair.

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Ohio University’s International Week has evolved into a rich tradition of engaging and facilitating international awareness and diversity among Bobcat Nation and the surrounding community. The International Street Fair includes a variety of activities provided by the University’s international student groups and designed to give festival-goers an opportunity to explore the cultural diversity of the local international community.

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Mingrum Ma, a junior majoring in photojournalism, holds the flag of Denmark. She is a student leader for the International Studies department.

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Jessica Gonzalez and Natalia Buitrago dance to drummers on College Green before the start of the 2015 International Street Fair.

The International Street Fair marks the culmination of Ohio University’s International Week, which this year was sponsored by the International Student Union, International Student and Faculty Services, the Center for International Studies, the Student Activities Commission, the Public Relations Student Society of America, Event Services, Undergraduate and Graduate Student Senates, the Office of Global Opportunities, the Black Student Cultural Programming Board, the Campus Involvement Center, the University Program Council, Residential Housing and Culinary Services. The International Street Fair is made possible through a partnership with the city of Athens and the Athens City-County Health Department.