Manchester University
Oak Leaves

April 7, 2017

MU Embraces Diversity with International Buffet

Ciara Knisely

The annual International Buffet will take place on Sunday, April 9 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Haist Commons, and will offer not only food but also an entire cultural experience about the featured countries.

Among others, Michael Dixon, director of Multicultural Services, and Mariam Aly Ibrahim, special assistant in the Office of Multicultural Affairs, began organizing the event last fall
and will continued their hard work until the event this Sunday.

Ibrahim, who is in charge of the entire event, recruited around 30 students to prepare recipes of their choice and make the food, which includes dishes from 15 other countries across the globe, such as Vietnam, Uganda and Romania. Chartwells will provide the students with their ingredients. Because some of the dishes require some “cultural nuance,” as Ibrahim says, to prepare, the buffet will be a great opportunity for others to experience authentic food from other cultures.

Some of the dishes include: Liboke Ya Ngulu, a dish from the Dominican Republican of the Congo consisting of pork, plantains and banana leaves; Palestinian Roz o Boji, made from rice, meat and a variation of spices and Mexican chilaquiles and horchata water.

Dixon, who has family ties to the Philippines, will be making a favorite dish of his called lumpia, which is a traditional Filipino equivalent of an egg roll filled with a mixture of chopped vegetables and meat. “My mom always made lumpia for holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas,” Dixon reminisces.

Ibrahim, senior political science and psychology double major, plans to make an Egyptian dish also familiar to her, called Mosakaa, with eggplants, potatoes and tomato sauce, among other
ingredients. She also expressed excitement at introducing Dixon to a dish called dolma, from Kurdistan, which includes basmati rice, grape leaves and sumac berries.

International student Glodie Lubiba, in charge of making a dish from her home country of the Dominican Republic of the Congo, also wishes to see others enjoy themselves at the buffet. “We all have different cultures and I wanted to be sure to make a dish that most people will enjoy,” Lubiba said. 

Dixon is eager to see others sharing cultures. “I hope it will expose people to dishes outside their normal palate,” he said. He also hopes to see others connect over learning about each
other’s cultures, as one’s culture includes traditional dishes but is so much more than food, Dixon explained.

Ibrahim agrees. As the mastermind behind the organization of the event, she hopes to enjoy making and sharing different foods while enjoying a day full of embracing different cultures.

Lubiba is also eager for the event. “I hope that people will be able to experience others’ culture through food that will make them want to learn more about each other’s cultures,” she said. 

Also cooking for the buffet is student Arpan Paul, who plans to make a signature Indian dish of fried rice and chili chicken. “I hope people will experience the authentic Indian dish which is a heritage in the history of Indian food,” Paul said. “This food is something we all Indians grew up knowing about.” 

As the second-largest event put on by Multicultural Affairs, the buffet will focus on more than food. According to Dixon, students will represent their home countries with authentic attire,
entertainment and may speak in their native tongue.

To entice others to attend, Ibrahim adds that bubble tea, a coveted delicacy in the Midwest, will also be served at the event. This drink consists of a tea base with added milk or juice and chewy tapioca balls or fruit jelly.
Evident in Ibrahim is also the anticipation to share the event with others. To spread the word about the event, she spent weeks recruiting others to help plan the event and make the food, setting up tables in the JYSC to motivate others to attend, and even encouraged students and staff from the Fort Wayne campus to participate.

The International Buffet promises to be an enjoyable experience for everyone. Along with more aspects of culture included with each different dish, there will also be information available about the dish, as well as information to indicate common allergens in the food, or gluten-free and vegetarian options.

The event counts as a meal swipe for students, and is $14.99 for adults and free for children under ten years old. Haist Commons will also be serving its typical meal options for those who do not wish to eat at the International Buffet.