This year, Borderless World Volunteers (BWV) will further its initiative to promote cultural awareness by hosting the fourth annual International Food Festival (IFF) at the SSMU Ballroom on both February 12 and 13. In 2012, BWV established its first International Food Festival with great success, with 190+ in attendance and over $1,500 raised in ticket sales. Last year, with 250 guests we raised $2,700, all going directly towards our members’ development projects. In 2013, the International Food Festival was recognized as a finalist for the 2012-2013 Campus Life Fund Project of the Year by SSMU. This year, we aim to go over the bar of 300 guests by innovating and launching our first 2-day event! Being internationally renowned, McGill ‘s student body is culturally diverse with 20% of the student population representing over 150 countries, and the remaining 80% representing Canada’s own multiculturalism. As such, this festival provides a platform to showcase tremendous cultural diversity while raising funds to support the international development projects that Borderless World Volunteers undertake annually. Our goal continues to be that of raising awareness and promoting the understanding of different traditions and cultures in the world, particularly in the developing regions of the world. We seek to expose the McGill and Montreal communities to such diversity through diverse cultural cuisines and exciting cultural acts.
Having a two-day event provides both flexibility and logistical difficulty in planning IFF. We are able to stage more performances from the student body and are able to showcase more food from clubs who haven’t participated in the past as well as more food from restaurants in the area. It also entails coordinating between more people and making sure that everyone is where they need to be and has what they need. It’s a testament to BWV’s organizational capacity that we are able to put this on. The support of BWV’s executive team, IFF’s team and the volunteers themselves has been tremendous. It shows how planning, teamwork and organization can accomplish goals that will help BWV have a global reach in empowering people and making change.
Performers this year include the Algeria Ballet Company, McGill Salseros, the Marunczak Ukrainian Dance Ensemble, Urban Grove and many more! TV McGill has agreed to provide coverage of our event and a caracticure artist will be on site to bring attendees’ beautiful faces to an artistic form. Queer McGill, a student organization on campus, has kindly donated booking time to help defray our costs in room bookings. Restaurants such as Basha and Au 14 Ouest Prince Arthur have provided immense support as well as our on-campus sponsors including SSMU, the AUS and McGill University Advancement. We are thankful and proud of our sponsors who are able to help with initiatives that ultimately empower the lives of our volunteers and the people they meet in during their projects.
The International Food Festival is not just another fundraiser, and it is not just a about having a nice dinner. We want attendees to learn about the origins of food from around the world and what those foods mean to the people who consume them. We want people to gather together in a casual atmosphere and not simply be amazed, but gain a sense of global citizenship. A basic tenant of Borderless World Volunteers isn’t the political manifestation of a global state but rather a global cultural awareness that we are all people with different origins, yet we have similar hopes, dreams and love for those around us. We feel that this awareness comes about in the International Food Festival. We have sold out in past years and many people come back again year to year. We hope to see you there!