World Unite Festival 2021- A festival of diversity and connection.

Written by Khanh Ngo and Pragya Chadha

A big virtual hello to everyone! Last week we got the opportunity to participate in World Unite Festival 2021 organised by Leeds University Union and many clubs/ societies. The purpose of the festival is to showcase various cultures and societiesembrace and promote the diverse community of our university.  Pragya and I, are going to introduce to you about some events that we took part in including “Global attitudes to sustainability”, “World Unity Show” and “K-Pop dance tutorial”.  

Global attitudes to sustainability 

“Global attitudes to sustainability” is an online event organised by Leeds University Business School for World Unite Day. The purpose of the event is to create a sharing platform, bring together members of our University community from around the world to share their knowledge and perspectives about sustainability. I (Khanh) have a great interest in sustainability, and what it means to individuals and how the concept can be adopted in different contexts, countries and cultures. That is why when I read the event information, it captured my attention right away. One of the most interesting parts of the event to me was that I was able to listen to diverse ideas and perspectives of many student fellows from different countries about sustainability and also how their countries address sustainable development as a solution to mitigate climate change issues.

Before the event, the organiser sent us some links to get to know more about our perspectives about sustainability and also where we come from. I found it really interesting to acknowledge that sustainability concept can be interpreted into many meanings, as you can see from the picture here: “future” and “responsibility” are the most common thoughts that the attendants have for sustainability. I totally agree as we are now having a climate crisis and the two concepts of sustainability or sustainable development with triple bottom lines of balancing social, environmental and economic issues offer our societies a sound platform to take real actions and make positive changes not only for our present lives but also for our future generation. Participants came from all over the world such as India, China, Peru, Nigeria, Spain, Korea, Japan 

The panel of the event included the presentations and sharing’s from many undergraduate, postgraduate, pHD students and some staff from Leeds University Business School. Each of the talks cover different topics that are related to sustainability and climate change issues in some particular countries such as Germany, China, India, Philippines… I was really excited to hear the stories of many fellows about how they personally take actions within their personal lives to become more sustainable. A lot of actions have been undertaken by many students such as eating less meat, buying less, buying second hand, saying no to single-use plastics, choosing bikes and public transportation. Each student shared their experience and journey of transforming their daily lives , most of them started from small actions that were most suitable and enjoyable for them, then tried to turn those actions into daily habits.

Another interesting part of the event was when each student shared about the environmental issues within their countries and how the government have been tackling these issues. I learnt that each country has their own environmental and sustainability-related issues and the way they tackle these issues is somehow related to the political and cultural context of their nations. For example, for India and China, air pollution is actually a very serious issue. Within Peru, lacking adequate facilities may lead to some environmental issues such as crowded transportation , and for Germany, high consumption lifestyle and high rate of private car usage lead to high carbon emission. Positively, most of the countries are right now putting their efforts in order to improve the environmental conditions within their countries such as investing in renewable energy, green public transportation, building waste classification and recycling systems…

In conclusion, I really enjoyed this event, it offered great opportunities for students from different backgrounds to learn more about sustainability, and somehow they will be inspired to take actions to contribute to creating positive changes. I hope in the coming future, there will be more events so that more students and staff can understand sustainability and be able to adopt the concept not only to their studies but also their works. 

 Kpop Dance Tutorial 

One of the events I (Pragya) had the pleasure of attending was the World Unite: Kpop Dance Tutorial hosted by Kpop Dance Society. Given the lockdown, the event was held on Zoom and was joined by 20 participants from different parts of the world. After a brief introduction from the committee members, we jumped right into the dance tutorial led by the society’s president Liv to the song Airplane pt.2 by BTS. Now BTS is known for their intricate choreographies and world class music, so going into this event I knew it was not going to be easy. However, the tutorial and dancing with others made it so easy and fun to learn. We went through the steps one by one and practiced it at a slower speed than the actual song. After 30 mins, we took a much-needed water break and got a chance to talk with the other attendees. It was really interesting to get to know everyone and learn more about the Kpop Dance Society and its upcoming events. Once the break was over, we were back to dancing and finished learning the steps to the rest of the chorus. The hour and a half session introduced me to a new way to exercise. With gyms closed due to lockdown, it’s becoming all the more important to keep yourself active. The event was also a wonderful way to meet new people and learn more about Korean culture through music and dance. 

World Unity Show 

World Unity Show-an online event that was organized by team Unity including Universities’ Chaplaincy, International Student Office and other interested parties. Me and Pragya, we were both really excited about this event, that’s why we decided to attend this event together. The purpose of the event is to promote and celebrate the diversity and unity of our university. Art and music have no boundaries as they cross all national borders, all cultures and they connect us. We appreciate the efforts of the organizers and all artists to perform and give the audiences such a wonderful show. Being the flagship event of the World Unite Festival, the Show of Unity was filled with exciting performances from people across the University representing their cultures and societies. One of the performances that we like the most is performed by Captain Bullhead Ceilidh Band (Shoals of Foula, Maggie O’Ham). The band includes four young artists, each of them playing different music instruments: guitar, violin, ukulele and flute. We just loved the way they harmonized and connected to each other through music (without necessarily seeing each other face to face). In some ways, we could feel their connection through the song, which for us was really cute and full of positive energy. 

The second half of the event was filled with exhilarating performances. Starting off with ‘Don’t get around much anymore’ by Thomas Brouwer. The soulful performance by Thomas on his double bass perfectly encapsulates all of our sentiments this lockdown looking forward to celebrating once again with our friends and family without the worry of Covid. 

Another exciting event was by the Irish dance society, which brought us back to a time without facemasks and social distancing. This dance showcase took place last year at Victoria Gate. As the 8 performers danced away to the well-known ‘Rocky road to Dublin’, they were met with cheers and applause from audience and onlookers who were truly mesmerized by the performer’s passion for the cultural dance form.   

Last but not least, the final event was a belly dancing performance by Athena Maria from last year’s Show of Unity. This dance form comes to us from the Middle East. The instrumental music coupled with Athena’s graceful dance made this a truly mesmerizing performance to watch.  

With that we conclude the Show of Unity 2021. Each year the Show of Unity promises viewers something new to look forward to, and this year was no exception. The performers truly put their best foot forward and showed us their talents while representing their cultures to the best of their ability. Be it through a poem, a song or a dance performance, the Show of Unity is truly a global spectacle that never fails to educate and entertain its audiences.  

In conclusion, we were both thoroughly enjoyed the World Unite Festival this year. The festival offered amazing opportunities for both of us to learn and understand more about different cultures and stories of different people from all around the world. We really do hope that the university will create more engaging events like this in the future so that more students can understand and feel proud to be a part of the diverse communities within our university. 

 

 

 

 

 

Authors

Khanh Ngo
Xin Chào, I am Khanh, an international student who is pursuing MSc Sustainability and Consultancy. I am from Vietnam- a beautiful and lovely country in Southeast Asia.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtoVLIU4m5c&feature=youtu.be Since I...
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Pragya Chadha
Hey everyone!   My name is Pragya, I’m from India but I’ve been raised in Dubai U.A.E. It’s safe to say that multiculturism is a part of my identity, and this has only...
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