Saluki spirit embraced at International Festival kickoff


Brian Munoz

Chancellor Carlo Montemagno, center, carries the American flag from Anthony Hall to the student center on Monday, Feb. 5, 2018, during the the International Parade of Flags. (Brian Munoz | @BrianMMunoz)

By Farrah Blaydes, Staff Writer

A vast array of flags and colors representing 42 countries could be seen throughout campus Monday during the annual International Parade of Flags, one of many events and activities coming up to celebrate the International Festival.

The International Student Council is an RSO that represents the university’s international students. Parade of Flags is an annual event created by the International Student Council.

The International Festival is a celebration of the diversity of various cultures represented at the university. This year‘s theme is “One world. One passport.”


Scarleth Subillaga, a graduate student studying foreign languages & literature represented her country Honduras at the parade. She said the cultural diversity and the university’s support given to international students is what attracted her to SIU.

“I’m very excited,” Subillaga said. “This is a great opportunity to share our culture with people from different nations.”

Eager to represent their countries, international students expressed their love for the university.

Graduate student Abdulsamad Humaidan studying education represented Yemen and said, “I’m so proud to be a Saluki.”

Humaidan was granted the Fulbright scholarship in 2012 to pursue his master’s degree at the university and said SIU has felt like home to him.

Andrew Carver, executive director of international affairs expressed his concern for the United State’s future relationship with the international community during the proclamation segment of the event.

Carver reassured international students the university will always welcome students from different countries.


“We extend this welcome as our the United States has been shaken by political turmoil manifested in travel bands, enhanced vetting, and the growing uncertainty of the accessibility in higher education in America,” Carver said.

Carver said the university’s center for international students’ core mission will continue to be focused on recruiting, enrolling, and supporting students from all over the world.

“I want to thank the entire international student population here SIUC, not just for the international festival but for every week and every semester you contribute to SIU,” Carver said.

Chancellor Carlo Montemagno also showed his support for the university’s international community in the proclamation ceremony.

“As chancellor of Southern Illinois University Carbondale I encourage the campus community, and the community at large to participate in the festival, to enhance the appreciation of the cultures, and contributions of our international students and the many countries represented on our campus,” Montemagno said.

Montemagno told the international community when they go abroad they will notice other countries’ problems, which need solutions different from those in the United States.

“Hopefully when you travel abroad, you’ll discover opportunities where you’ll use the knowledge that you created and learned here to craft, innovate and provide solutions to make the world a better place,” Montemagno said.

He said one of the virtues of going to a great university like SIU is being a global citizen and working with people of different cultures and backgrounds to make the world a better place.

Mayor John Henry ended the ceremony by showing support for the international students in their future endeavors.

“The selfish part of me wants you to get your degrees here and stay in Carbondale,” Henry said. “I know some of you will leave but hopefully some of you will stay and continue to add to the richness of our community.”

Staff writer Farrah Blaydes can be reached at 

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