Arts and Culture

Festival of Nations returns to celebrate cultural diversity at Bemidji State University 

Bemidji State University
Festival of the Nations returns to Bemidji State University on April 13.
John Enger | MPR News 2015

On Saturday Bemidji State University will hold its 50th Festival of Nations celebration. The event is hosted by the university’s International Student Organization.

According to a release the festival “celebrates unity, understanding and friendship,” among differing cultures. Visitors can experience cultural performances, people wearing traditional clothing from around the world and taste different international foods. 

Attendees can also interact with booths that explore cultural activities and traditions while meeting with students from diverse backgrounds. 

BSU and Northwest Technical College President John Hoffman sees the event as a chance for the university to promote its priority of mutual understanding. 

“This focus that we have connects with international students as well as with American Indian students in the region, and all students,” Hoffman said. “It’s sharing, of course, cuisine and performances and information, but it's also sharing more deeply about culture, cultural awareness and engaging with one another in mutuality.” 

This is the first time the event has been held since the pandemic shut it down. It is the longest standing multicultural festival in BSU's history. 

“I know many times folks think about northern Minnesota and when they think international, they're probably thinking about connections to Canada. But you know, here in Bemidji, the city is home to the Concordia Language Villages and Bemidji State,” Hoffman said. “For 50 years now, we have been hosting this festival of nations. It's an opportunity to celebrate our international students to engage with them to learn from one another. And to do it right here in the North.” 

The festival is free and open to the public. It runs from 4-7 p.m. on campus at the Beaux Arts Ballroom.  

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