UNCP celebrates the diversity of Asian culture


In its second year, UNC Pembroke’s Asia Day has proved to be a colorful and diverse event.


DancersA trio of students perform a traditional Chinese dance.

“I am glad that our Asian students had the opportunity to share their cultures to the UNCP community,” said Dr. Emiko Mizunuma, director of the English Language Institute, which sponsored the event. I am extremely proud of the ways each student presented his or her culture. I am also glad that this opportunity let them meet various people on campus.”

Asia Day attracted more than 500 visitors to the James B. Chavis University Center lounge on November 15. It is the University’s annual celebration of the culture of Asia in all its diversity. Dr. Mizunuma and her student-assistant Yuko Suenaga organized the event.

UNCP’s international students, faculty and administration represented China, India, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Singapore and Bangladesh. Some of the performances were traditional and some were blended with Western influences.

Tiffany Taylor, a freshman from Fayetteville, N.C., found the art of Jian Zhi, or paper cutting, intriguing.

“This is interesting,” Taylor said. “It’s like cutting out snowflakes, only more intricate and difficult.”


Fashion International students Darrell Fotso, left, and Wang Yao in the fashion show.


Yue Zhao, a Chinese student from Xi’an University of Science and Technology, said Jian Zhi is a “famous art form in China” that is taught to young children.

Demonstrations and hands-on instruction in traditional Japanese origami, the art of folding paper, and calligraphy from China and Korea were offered. Tables displayed cultural artifacts of the participating nations, some of which was viewable on laptop computers that were set up by international students, Yuan Wei and Wen Huang.

Food was prepared by students and faculty, and handmade raffle items were crafted by students of the English Language Institute. Martial arts demonstrations were performed by Smith’s Tae Kwon Do Academy of Lumberton, N.C., and international student Ying Yan Li.



There was a distinct hip-hop flavor to Asia Day 2007. Philippine native Francis Bayog read a piece of “slam” poetry that he wrote as a new high school student in the U.S.

“Manila,” rhymes with “vanilla,” said Bayog, who said he was inspired to write poetry, by a failed romance. “When tragedy triggered me to write poetry,” he said. Korean hip hop dancing followed.

Dr. Dandan Liu, a public relations professor in UNCP’s Mass Communications Department, was in the audience with many other international professors.

“UNCP is one of the most diverse universities in the nation, and I think Asia Day demonstrates our diversity in full,” Dr. Liu said. “I am especially appreciative to see so many Asian cultures represented on this campus.”

About the fashion show, Dr. Liu noted that she had not seen such a variety of traditional costumes on display except on television.

Freshman Darrell Fotso looked a little out of place in Japanese garb, but he had the international spirit and credentials.

“I was born in Cameroon and grew up in France,” Fotso explained. “I came to UNCP because of its reputation for welcoming international students, and it’s going very well.”

UNCP faculty, staff and family members participated in the fashion show and other performances.

  • Gino Cacharro, a student from the Philippines, wore a traditional costume and assisted with his country’s food, music and information table.
  • Chemistry professor Sally Vallahba and Psychology professor Dr. Shilpa Pai wore traditional outfits from India.
  • Dr. Marilu Santos, a biology professor, represented her native Philippines.
  • Dr. Kevin Freeman, a political science professor, wore a Japanese outfit.
  • Joanne Maysami, wife of business professor Dr. Ramin Maysami, represented her native Singapore.
  • Gloria Canonizado, a former faculty member, choreographed routines and performed a traditional Philippine dance.
  • Dr. John Bowman, a sociology professor, wore a silk Chinese outfit.
  • Tamyrn Hall, daughter of Jessica Hall, associate director of International Programs, wore a traditional Japanese outfit with red platform shoes.

“Everybody worked very hard to make this possible,” said Dr. Robert Schneider, associate vice chancellor for International Programs. “Their hard work was reflected in a good show.”

For more information about International Programs at UNCP, please contact the office at 910.522.4095 or at ip@uncp.edu.