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Celebration of Cultures at Mississippi College International Festival

Mei-Chi Piletz, Office of Global Education Executive Director

Nepal is the resting place of some of the world’s tallest peaks, including Mt. Everest. The landlocked Central Himalayan country in South Asia is home to 31 million people. The spoken language in the country near Bhutan and Bangladesh is Nepali.

To showcase their country’s culture by performing a traditional dance, three Nepali students will appear on stage at Mississippi College’s International Festival on April 7.

Performances by the talented trio of Nepali women, Bibhusha Neupane, Punam Thapa and Shabnam Thapa are expected to delight audiences at Swor Auditorium.

That’s just one of many attractions in store for the crowd at the program sponsored by the Christian university’s Office of Global Education. The 10th annual event is open to the public.

A fashion show featuring the national dress of Asian and African countries, and a series of musical performances are part of what is always an enriching program on the Clinton campus. The 90-minute show begins at 6:30 p.m. that Friday night.

Students and others in the audience can capture some of the evening’s shining moments on their cell phone cameras. Chinese exchange student Wei Lai will display his singing talents by performing a selection from an Italian opera.

Mississippi College hosts more than 430 international students from more than 30 countries across the globe. They come from China, India, Saudi Arabia, France, Germany, South Korea, Nepal and other lands.

MC leaders view the International Festival as a wonderful avenue for students to share their cultures of countries thousands of miles from Mississippi with the university family and metro Jackson community.

All ticket proceeds will benefit international student scholarships, says Phala Echols, MC’s international program coordinator.

As new Office of Global Education staff members, Echols and Chip Clary bring decades of valuable experience as international missionaries to the 191-year-old university. Both are Clinton residents.

Echols, Clary, Office of Global Education Director Mei-Chi Piletz and other colleagues work hard year-round to make MC an inviting home away from home for hundreds of international students.

Following the festival, there will be a reception in the lobby of Nelson Hall. On tables will be a nice smorgasbord of delicious foods for all guests to sample and enjoy.

President Lee Royce, his wife, Rhoda, and Vice President for Academic Affairs Ron Howard make it a habit to attend the festival every spring.

Tickets go on sale starting Monday March 27 at the Office of Global Education at 201 Monroe Street. Pre-event prices are $5 for students, $7 for faculty and staff and $10 for the public. Tickets at the door will be $7 for students, $10 for faculty and staff and $15 for the public. Children under the age of 6 will be admitted free.

For details, contact Phala Echols at 601-925-7762 or go to the website