UNC Pembroke celebrates Asia Day 2008


International students at UNC Pembroke brought a taste of Asia to campus on November 19, and hundreds lapped it up.


Chemistry professor Sally Vallabha addresses Asia Day gathering

Chemistry professor Sally Vallabha addresses Asia Day gathering

Asia Day 2008, which attracted record crowds in its third year, featured a traditional and modern fusion of food, fashion, music, dance, song and martial arts.

Joanne Maysami, a graduate student, native of Singapore and wife of business professor Dr. Ramin Maysami, performed a blended form of Yoga, Tai Chi and Pilates.

 “The fusion is my idea but it’s catching on,” Maysami said.

“I am enjoying my second Asia Day,” she said. “Two years ago I came in a traditional costume called Kebaya, which is a blend of Chinese and Singapore cultures.”

Xiaohan Xiong, an international business and trade major from Wuhan University of Technology, sang a song titled “Honey” with a trio that dressed in plaid shirts.

“It’s a famous Chinese pop song by a very popular group call S.H.E.,” Xiaohan said. “It’s about the friendship of girls.”

“I think plaid comes from England,” she said. “Plaid is popular in China.”

 Joanne Maysami a native of Singapore demonstrates a martial arts fushion

Joanne Maysami a native of Singapore demonstrates a martial arts fushion

After demonstrating the traditional art of paper cutting Mengmeng Guo and Qiujin Gu, both of Yunnan University, gave a presentation on ethnic minorities in China. They dressed in Bai traditional costumes.

“The Bai are one of 56 officially recognized ethnic groups in China,” Mengmeng said. “Bai, which means white in Chinese, favor white clothing and silver earrings and bracelets.”

Nations represented at Asia Day included China, South Korea, the Philippines, India, Singapore and Japan. Dr. James Callaghan, associate vice chancellor for International Programs, was pleased that Asia Day 2008 was the biggest in the event’s three year history.

“This has been a lot of fun,” Dr. Callaghan said. “The students are very excited and worked very hard.

“It’s great to see their enthusiasm and pride,” he said. “We also appreciate the support of our international faculty.”

Dr. Marilu Santos, a biology professor and native of the Philippines, gave the keynote speech titled “The Impact of Globalization on Science.”

“Globalization is developing a laboratory without walls,” Dr. Santos said. “The speed of scientific knowledge travels around the world with the click of a mouse.

Group“Global competition for scientists is rising, and scientists are expected to solve the world’s problems,” she continued. “The movement of scientists is a monumental opportunity for nations - this is brain circulation, not brain drain.”

In closing remarks, Sally Valabha, a chemistry professor and native of India, challenged the students to take internationalization “a step farther and reach out.”

“It’s that ‘otherness’ that makes it so beautiful,” she concluded.