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Indianapolis, March 22, 2007
Kanwal Prakash "KP" Singh

Our ethnic and spiritual diversity and multiculturalism is an emerging and expanding reality. It is an important foundation of our present lives and daily experience. This converging frontier offers incredible opportunities at many levels. To understand the full potential and far-reaching impact of this multi-dimensional transition around us, we must engage in study and programs that highlight its relevance to future generations.

Each March, the Asian Club at Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School in Indianapolis organizes a Festival that recognizes and celebrates the "Asia in us," tapping into local resources, communities and cultures in Indiana through fabulous entertainment, displays, and delicious international fare. Each year this Festival, takes on the aura of a “classroom of culture,” becoming more elaborate and carrying many exciting surprises. This year was no exception, a truly rich cultural feast for the eyes, ears, taste, and spirit greeted all who attended.

Under the very dedicated and enthusiastic leadership of Mrs. Janice Singh, the Moderator of the Asian Club at Brebeuf, which sponsors the annual Asian Festival, the Festival this year showcased another hands-on classroom of colorful cultural immersion, attractions, and contagious youthful energy with a wide variety of entertainment and experiences. This year’s student performances included a very beautiful Turkish Belly Dance, a spirited Polynesian Dance by Leah Hughes, Gujarati Dandyia Ras (an Indian Folk Dance), the Chinese Lion Dance, Jewish Hora, a solo classical Indian Odissi Dance by Maumita Das. The Indianapolis Japanese Minyo Dancers, a professional group and an annual favorite, also performed.

It is wonderful to see non-Asian students learning unfamiliar dances and music; developing new appreciation for other people, cultures, diverse traditional rhythms, and having a lot of fun. Brebeuf is deeply committed to diversity in all its colorful and multi-dimensions and is striving to offer a rich learning environment that encourages students to know, relate, and be successful in an increasingly interconnected, interdependent world that they will inherit and face in real life.

The cultural booths at this year’s Asian Festival included Korea, India, Pakistan, Israel, Japan, Philippines, Thailand, Laos, Polynesia, and an ever-popular Indian Henna artist. A large photomural of The Golden Temple at Amritsar, India provided a major focal point at the Festival venue and symbolized the magnificent and opulent Asian heritage and attractions awaiting the visitors and pilgrims alike throughout Asia. The local Pakistani and Chinese Restaurants catered the food this year. Several Brebeuf mothers generously contributed their favorite recipes to add additional national and international flavors to the food samplings and assisted in the fundraising effort. Funds raised from sale of food at the Festival and other creative Asian Club activities during the year, go toward minority student scholarships further proudly reinforcing the School motto: “Men and women for others.”

The Asian Festival at Brebeuf and countless other unheralded events in Indiana and around the U.S. provide opportunities to experience and enhance responsible international citizenship. As imaginative teaching forums with lasting lessons in relating to other people, dispelling stereotyped ignorance, and forging life-long friendships and pride in other traditions, they prepare young minds to transform our common global village into a place of collective promise for all. Education in thoughtful and creative formats remains our best hope to imagine someday a universal environment of respect and understanding among all people and culture. It is essential for the future of our Planet and living beings that are a part of our shared universe.

Kanwal Prakash "KP" Singh
Indianapolis, Indiana USA