Wayne State University

News and Announcements Archive

Third Annual Children's Festival & Competition Promotes Cultural Exchange

May 22, 2013

The Third Annual Children’s Festival & Competition was organized by the Turkish American Society of Michigan (TASM) and Balkan American Community Center and sponsored by the Niagara Foundation. The event took place on Sunday, May 19th 2013, at Wayne State University and it is MC’ed by Carol Cain, the Detroit Free Press columnist and WWJ-TV CBS Detroit Senior Producer/Host of the "Michigan Matters" show. 

More than 350 children representing 21 countries and cultures performed at the event, which also attracted close to 1000 people. The children’s groups competed with each other in front of a jury, who scored each performance by its choreography, group execution as well as its appeal to the audience. The jury members were Mayor Karen Majewski of City of Hamtramck, Prof. Antoine Garibaldi, the President of the University of Detroit Mercy, Mr. Clay Pearson, the City Manager of City of Novi, Ms. Karen Prall, Lecturer & Director of The Art of Motion Dance Theatre,  Prof. John Barton, the Provost of Rochester College,  Mr. Alex Terzian, a musician, Ms. Karen V. DiChiera, the Director of Community Programs at the Detroit Opera House,  Mayor Suzanne Pixley of City of Eastpoint and Ms. Jaclyn Assarian, Associate Director of the Office of International Programs at Wayne State University.

The cultural groups that performed and competed included Albania, Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, China, Germany, Hungary, India, Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Mexico, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, Russia, Scotland, South Korea, Turkey, United States, and West Africa (Senegal, Mali, Guinea). After a very close contest, the Indian group from Hindu Temple Rhythms Dance Organization took the first place with their performance of “Colorful Indian Folk Rhythms”. The Behar Bosnian Cultural Dancing Group, representing Bosnia and Herzegovina, took the second place. Group Prodijee, representing the United States took the third place with their American urban hip hop dance. After the award ceremony, the program ended with a rendition of Michael Jackson’s “We are the World,” with all the performers onstage waving flags.

There were also country exhibits, which featured Chinese and Turkish calligraphy, Romanian crafts, Korean games, and Japanese origami. The children also enjoyed face-painting stalls, tightrope walking plus a host of other fun activities. The event also included a very rich food and bake sale.

The president of the Turkish American Society, Tolga Celik, expressed his delight at seeing the children interacting with one another and having the opportunity to learn about other cultures. In addition to promoting cultural exchange and understanding among Michiganders, another goal of the event was adding vibrancy to the city of Detroit through its multi-cultural richness.

Among the honorable guests in attendance were Michigan State House Representative Jon Switalski; Ryoji Noda, Deputy Consul General of Japan in Detroit; Gabriela Ban, Assistant to Honorary Consulate of Romania in Detroit; and Judge Shelia Ann Gibson of the 3rd Circuit Court in Wayne County.

TASM is a subsidiary of Turkish American Society, Inc., a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt non-profit organization established in Illinois in 1997. TASM organizes cultural, intercultural, educational, religious, charitable, literary, sporting, and social programs and activities.