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Monday, November 28, 2005

UNCP’s first ‘Asia Day’ attracts a large crowd

Hundreds of students and faculty enjoyed the first Asia Day at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

Erika Patel performs an Indian dance

Erika Patel performs an Indian dance

Asia came to Pembroke on November 8 in the James B. Chavis University Center with song, dance, fashion, calligraphy, origami, food, martial arts, international exhibitions from five Asian nations and some surprises too.

Music Professor Dr. Jaeyoon Kim performed an operatic rendition of “Psalm 23” in Korean. The music director for a large Korean Presbyterian church in Charlotte, N.C., he explained, “about 60 percent of Koreans are Buddhists, and 40 percent are Christians.”

Xang Xi, an exchange student from China, rocked the house, crooning a Chinese “pop” classic.

“It is an American type of music,” Xang said. “It was written in Chinese. Do girls like it? Yes!”

Yuko Suenaga, a graduate student from Japan, taught origami at her table. Origami is the art of folding paper, and Suenaga’s table was covered with birds, flowers and geometric designs.

“There are many ways to do origami. This is my way,” Suenaga said. “I have been doing this as long as I have lived.”

There is more to origami than craft, Suenaga said.

“You have to be patient,” she said. “It will help you be patient in every day life too.”

Asia Day was sponsored by UNCP’s Office of International Programs and staged by the international students. Dr. Emi Mizunuma, director of the English Institute organized the event.

Xi Yang croons a Chinese ‘pop’ tune

Xi Yang croons a Chinese ‘pop’ tune

“For most of these students, this is their first exposure to the U.S, and they are doing very well,” Dr. Mizunuma said. “One of the things I do is develop opportunities for our international students to participate in the life of the University.”

Asia Day is one of those opportunities, she said.

“The students only spoke English at Asia Day,” Dr. Mizunuma said. “This is a good group, and they worked very hard to plan this event. They contacted UNCP faculty, staff and students diligently to encourage them to participate in the event by demonstrating dance and martial arts.”

UNCP’s international faculty and staff helped out.

Drs. Sally Vallabha and Marilu Santos, professors of biology, modeled in the fashion show. Jing Gao, director of International Student Activities, helped organize the event.

“Attendance is great,” Gao said. “I am pleased that the University can bring so many Asian cultures to the community.”

“We had support from across the University, many people, departments and the Office of the Chancellor.

Robert Canida, director of the University’s Multicultural Center, enjoyed the festivities.

“I am in awe of the richness and diversity of Asia today,” Canida said. “This is a great day for our Asian students to tell us who they are.”

For more information about International programs at UNCP, please contact the Office of International Programs at 910.775.4095 or email

Fashion on display at Asia Day

Fashion on display at Asia Day

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