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Around the World in a Day—KAIROS 2019

The Office of International Affairs and Collaborations, along with the international student organisations of Manipal, hosted MAHE’s International Day, KAIROS, on 9th August. The event took place in Marena and the Dr TMA Pai Auditorium. It celebrated the international student community of Manipal through food, dance, music, and games.  

Dr Raghu Radhakrishnan, the Director for International Collaborations, inaugurated the event with the cutting of a ceremonial ribbon. He then delivered a speech welcoming the international students and thanked the organisers who made the event possible. The interactive event began with an activity called Minute To Share It, where each individual was given a minute to share their thoughts on MAHE and their experience in Manipal so far.

Following that, the attendees were invited to play the amusing game of Human Bingo, consisting of tasks such as inventing a creative handshake with a partner, playing dead, and even the childhood game of Ring a Ring o’ Roses. The next activity was an event known as World Café, coincidentally held in Marena’s Idea Café. The idea was to allow students to open up and connect with their peers through discussions held in small groups, on thought-provoking issues such as the response of the youth to the decriminalisation of Section 377. After the discussions were complete, the organisers invited members from each group to recount their ideas to the rest of the audience.

Adding to the festive atmosphere, stalls, or Country Desks, were arranged inside Marena. Here, students shared their countries’ unique cultures with the help of creative displays and delicious local food items. A variety of mouthwatering flavours were available for the attendees to sample, with foods ranging from Vietnamese Coffee to Iraqi Baklava being offered at the stalls. In order to give international students a taste of Indian food, chaat was provided throughout the event. The presence of students and interns from places all over the world, including Vietnam, Iraq, Tibet, South Africa, Bhutan, Germany, and France,  turned KAIROS into a carnival of culture and tradition. “I didn’t know that there were so many people, from so many different countries, studying here. It was wonderful exposure for me”, exclaimed Harinee, a student from Malaysia. The first session was brought to an end on a high note, with the entire group of students shaking a leg to Bollywood hits in the semi-choreographed performance, Jives.

After the conclusion of events at Marena, the students and MAHE officials assembled in the Dr TMA Pai Auditorium for the formal stage functions. The event commenced with a welcome address by Dr Raghu Radhakrishnan and a brief presentation by the Office of International Affairs and Collaborations (OIAC) on their achievements and developments. The Chief Guest of the event, Dr H Vinod Bhat, and Pro-Chancellor Dr HS Balal were escorted to the stage to witness the ceremonial procession of the international students.

The Vice-Chancellor then inaugurated MAESTRO—Manipal Academic Exchange and Student Traineeship for Research Outreach—an online portal created by the Centre of Software Development, MAHE, to facilitate international exchanges. Pro-Chancellor Dr HS Ballal then launched the OIAC’s Move On, a software designed to streamline the exchange process and manage international partnerships, as well as Aula Magna, a quarterly newsletter published by the OIAC.

The event also included a question-and-answer session with Dr Bhat titled Sharing the Spotlight with the Vice-Chancellor. The session began with him talking about how the international programmes have been paramount in MAHE receiving the tag of Institute of Eminence. He highlighted MAHE’s collaborations with numerous foreign universities which have promoted internationalisation. As he answered questions put forth by the students, he emphasised the importance of student mobility around the world. “Large scale mobility of students across continents would encourage world peace,” he remarked. He also talked about the various centres under MAHE which promote cultural interactions and allow international students to learn new things through the courses offered. After the session, Dr Pradeep G. Kini presented the vote of thanks and concluded the formal event.

Once the Chief Guest and other MAHE officials had left the auditorium, students took charge of the venue and commenced the much-awaited cultural event, starting with a warm welcome in their native languages. The distinctive traditional group dance by the Bhutanese team charmed the audience, and a student from Tanzania stunned the entire crowd with her energetic performance. A couple of soulful songs, presented by the team from Malaysia helped them connect with the audience, cutting across all language barriers. Towards the end of the performances, both Indian and international students came together to sway to a number of Bollywood hits, creating a festive atmosphere. The event concluded with a brief pageant, organised by a group of Malaysian students who flaunted their traditional garbs.

The hosts thanked everyone for their involvement and expressed their delight on the success of the event. Apart from promoting the various programmes in the institute that facilitate student mobility, KAIROS brought people, belonging to different countries, together to share their ideas and showcase snippets of their culture and traditions.

Image Credits: The Photography Club, Manipal