In an event celebrating the diversity of the world’s cultures, students of different races, colors and ethnicities gathered for the United Nations Day celebration at the Centennial Hall last Nov. 12.
Dubbed “The Cordilleran Connection: Fusing the World’s Cultures,” the activity was highlighted by a multi-cultural interaction which included a presentation of traditional costumes from around the world, a culinary presentation, and the Mr. & Miss UB International 2018.
The event, spearheaded by the University of Baguio (UB) International Students’ Association, was opened by Dr. Esmeralda Gatchallan, UB’s vice-president for institutional and external affairs. In her remarks, Dr. Gatchallan noted that UB is home to over 150 foreign students, whose growing number continues to add colors to UB's vibrant and diverse community.
The Mr. & Miss UB International primarily serves as a platform for cultivating appreciation and respect for cultural diversity, a showcase of the beauty of the world’s diverse cultures.
Here, the candidates remind us of the basic truths and fundamental lessons in humanity:
Taking a peek further into the candidates’ minds, here are the answers of the top three pairs:
(Editor's Note: Answers were condensed for brevity.)
Anne Marie Brant – Ms. UB International 2018, Ms. Photogenic, Best in National Costume
Q: What have you learned about yourself in joining this pageant?
A: I learned a lot from this experience, but I think the most important thing I have learned is that my biggest competition is myself. I have learned how to make myself grow; I learned what my strengths and weaknesses are and how I can use them to progress myself.
Wadah Adil Mohamed – Mr. UB International 2018, Mr. Congeniality, Best in National Costume
Q: What is the most important piece of advice someone has given you?
A: It’s from my father. He taught me to appreciate the little things around me, he taught me to never hurt anybody, he taught me about humility, and he taught me to spread kindness and happiness around.
Ruba Ahmed – Ms. UB International 2018 First Runner Up, Best in Talent
Q: What quality do you like most about yourself, and why?
A: I think it’s the quality of being accepting of others, or at least I try to be. I try never to judge anyone and I always put myself in other people’s shoes before I try make any assumptions or think anything of them. I cannot really take full credit for that because that is something that my parents have instilled in me, and I’m very grateful for that.
Suleman Abdulrahamani – Mr. UB International 2018 First Runner Up, Best in Talent
Q: If you were to develop an app, what would it be, and why?
A: I’d create an app that will help people understand cultural differences, something that will teach people about the world’s cultures. That way, the amount of racism around the world can be reduced and that appreciation for diversity will be promoted.
Maral Namvarasl – Ms. UB International 2018 Second Runner Up, Ms. Congeniality, Darling of the Crowd
Q: What’s your take on cultural diversity?
A: Being exposed to diverse cultures cures our ignorance of other races. We have different beliefs and values, but what we’re supposed to do is build a strong foundation for unity and respect. Like pieces in a puzzle, we should to come together and join hands towards creating a world that’s inclusive.
Ali Ali, Mr. UB International 2018 Second Runner Up
Q: If a book about your life were to be written, what would be its title? Why?
A: It will be “Problems are Gifts.” Problems are part of life. With pain and obstacles, we become stronger. I’ve had my share of pain and obstacles in my life and they helped me grow deeply.
Scroll down to see photos from the event.
Photos by the UB Media Affairs and Publications Office, UB Institutional Documentation Office, and the UB International Students' Association
Officers of the UB International Students' Association, who organized the event, take their oath at the start of the program.
Jojo Padilla (U.S.A.) and Wedad Alqiqie (Jordan) host the event.
Abdulrahman Hasan Mohammed Alkbidh (Yemen) dons his country's traditional costume.
Eugene Mark Alimondo (U.S.A.) in a Texan cowboy outfit
Ali Ali in Ethiopian national costume
Urakawa Daisuke, who won the Darling of the Crowd award, sports a native Japanese ensemble.
Wadah Adil Mohamed in a Sudanese male garment
Suleman Abdulrahamani (Ghana) in a traditional shirt
Musab Albayari (Jordan), who won as Mr. Photogenic, wears a coat.
Ji Seung Hui in a Korean costume
Maral Namvarasl (Iran) in her country's native costume
Nayeon Kim in another version of a Korean traditional ensemble
Jo Eunji dressed in Korean garment
Stephanie Thalia Macaraeg (U.S.A.) clad in the colors of the American flag
Anne Marie Brant (U.S.A.) dressed in Native American indigenous attire
Ruba Ahmed dons a traditional Sudanese costume
Members and officers of the UB International Students' Association take part in the presentation of the world's traditional costumes.
A group of Japanese students perform a number at the show.
Members of the UB cultural group UBBUK perform a Cordilleran dance during the show.
The candidates dance the Cordilleran tayaw in their production number.
International recipes, such as chinchin (African fried snack) and kabsa (Saudi Arabian rice dish), were presented and served during the event.
Arabian coffee was also served. The dishes were prepared by the officers of the UB International Students' Association.
From left: Ali Ali (Mr. UB International 2018 Second Runner Up), Maral Namvarasl (Ms. UB International 2018 Second Runner Up), Anne Marie Brant (Ms. UB International 2018), Wadah Adil Mohamed (Mr. UB International 2018), Suleman Abdulrahamani (Mr. UB International 2018 First Runner Up), Ruba Ahmed (Ms. UB International 2018 First Runner Up)
Ms. UB International 2018 Anne Marie Brant with her mom and dad. Brant took over from Ms. UB International 2017 Raheemat Oladeji (Nigeria), who shared: “Taking part in [the event] gave me confidence and made me feel like I could do anything I wanted as long as I tried my best. For that, I thank UB, the various offices, and the UB International Students' Association for their tremendous dedication in making sure we feel welcomed and for [initiating] activities to help us integrate with the Filipino culture.”
Remarked one of the judges, it was like travelling the world all at once.
We are peoples of different colors, races, religions and morals. But with respect, understanding and tolerance, we can see past our cultural differences, connect to each other, celebrate humanity, and help build a world that embraces all colors and races.