International Cultural Day 2019
Written by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sarimah Shamsudin
Dr. Seriaznita Mat Said
Dr Wan Farah Wani Wan Fakhruddin
The first ever International Cultural Day 2019 (ICD2019) was successfully held at Dewan Ainuddin Wahid in UTM Kuala Lumpur on 2nd October 2019. This joyous and colourful event was jointly organised by the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities (FSSH) and UTM International with Associate Professor Dr. Sarimah Shamsudin, the Director of Social Sciences and Humanities, FSSH, UTM Kuala Lumpur as the Chairman and Associate Professor Dr. Norhayati Abdullah from UTM International as the Associate Chair of the programme. The Chairman of UTM’s Board of Directors, Yang Berbahagia Tan Sri Abdul Halim Ali officiated the event with an attendance of almost 1000 attendees consisting of guests, UTM officials and staff as well as UTM students at the diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate level. A few representatives of diplomats from Iraq, Assoc Prof Dr. Abdul Jalil M. Khalaf, the Cultural Advisor of Iraqi Embassy, and Indonesia, Mokhammad Farid Maruf, the Education and Culture Attaché of Indonesian Embassy, were also present to enjoy the festivities.
ICD2019 is aligned with the idea that higher education institutions need to be innovative and be prepared to embrace diversity and foster culturally inclusive curriculum designed to help every student succeed as the number of international students continue to increase. One of the ways to achieve this concept is by exploring innovative methods in enabling international students to quickly adapt to the Malaysian higher learning environment. Secondly is by improving the international students’ experiences through exciting and stimulating educational activities and cultural programmes. UTM is fully committed to play a role in supporting international education through initiatives that promote the development of students to be more socially responsible and culturally competent. An apt example of such effort is through cultural activities such as ICD 2019. Hence the main objective of ICD2019 which is to enhance our understanding and acceptance of different cultures is parallel to UTM’s KFA 1: Excellence in Learning and Teaching, and Transformative Campus Experience. This is done to encourage and increase students’ involvement in Holistic Student Development Programme anchored in value, religious and spiritual inculcation programmes.
There were seven exhibition booths representing Sudan, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Iraq, Nigeria, Japan and of course our very own Malaysia which displayed various cultural artifacts and activities such as traditional cuisine sampling, Ceylon tea drinking custom, folk costume exhibition, furoshiki activity and batik canting. Cultural performances consisting of songs, dances and wedding ceremonies from the participating countries were part of the progamme intinerary that captured the interest of the audiences. Sudan introduced the wonderful Sudanese wedding customs called henaa and jertik, Indonesia presented a medley of soothing folk songs and a fun genjring dance, Sri Lanka gave a moving rendition of a love song and a poem on the beauty of Sri Lanka, Iraq performed a merry circle dance known as chobi, Nigeria delighted the audience with a folk dance swaying to the beat of the drum, Japan presented an energetic Haru Koma dance or directly translated as “Spring Horse” and our very own Malaysia gave a spectacular performance of a martial art silat, and the amazing dances of zapin and joget.
Some of the comments received of this event is from a PhD candidate of FSSH, Jameela Hanoon who is also a participant of ICD2019. She said, “Thank you very much for organizing the event Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sarimah. It was a great success. Alhamdhu lilllah. In addition to its main objective, the event also helped to identify different skills of individuals and to build a better inter-relationship between student-student and student-staff. A big thank you for all the lecturers and the admin staff for all your support. Congratulations to all the performers and the booth operators. WE DID IT! We proved that Unity is strength!” Another PhD candidate of FSSH, Ali Salman Hummadi commented, “We enjoyed the event. It was really an amazing day. We are proud of what had happened. Thanks for all those who contributed to have this event in its wonderful shape.”