On Wednesday, May 7, 2014, the inaugural International Night of Culture was held in the Moot Court sponsored by the newly established International Students Association (ISA) and the Student Council. According to ISA’s president, junior James Williams, the purpose of the International Night of Culture was to celebrate cultural diversity at John Jay College, raise awareness of the John Jay international student community, and to promote cultural exchange among students of all backgrounds and ethnicities.
The evening opened with words of welcome from President Jeremy Travis who spoke about John Jay’s ongoing campaign to become international in every faucet of its teaching and scholarship.
During the event, John Jay’s Designated School Official (DSO), Angelo Kyriacou was presented with an award in recognition of his outstanding service to the international student community at the college.
Williams, who is originally from Nigeria, felt a sense of belonging at John Jay when he learned, through the John Jay website that the then Student Council president hailed from his country—an indication of the diversity inherent at the college.
“We created ISA to establish our presence as the international community on campus, articulate the needs of international students, and foster cultural exchange among John Jay students, and the beauty of the festivities at the International Night of Culture shows us why it is important that we pursue such goals” said Williams.
The Moot Court was decorated with flags from various countries as well as an eclectic spread of multicultural cuisine. Three members of the organization spoke about their experiences and they shared their feelings about leaving their home country, coming to a new place, and why they chose John Jay.
Williams said that the international community is interested in services and workshops that provide mentorship and resources about employment and life post-graduation from John Jay and workshops focusing on interview skills for culturally diverse students.
“The world is becoming smaller and smaller—we are all connected. We all had the same dream—the dream to come to John Jay. We just want to showcase that,” said Williams.