City of Irvine Celebrates its Diversity
A Pakistan Link Report

A group of ladies with Consul General Syed Ibne Abbas. Anila Ali is on extreme right

The city of Irvine with its huge multicultural community came together at the Irvine Global Village Festival at the Bill Barber Park on Saturday, September 29. Each year the city celebrates its diversity by bringing together peoples of different cultures with exhibits, entertainment and food from various regions. More than ten thousand people attended this event.
Different cultures display their handicrafts, world religions provide informational materials and dialogue. There are demonstrations, international cuisine, a world marketplace, and many activities and games for children.
This year, Pakistan was represented by Anila Ali, a teacher, a social worker, and a long time resident of Irvine. Anila Ali told Link that she has been living in Irvine for the last eleven years. She said, "The need to assimilate and inform people about our culture has never been greater than it is today. The Pakistani community lacks community spirit, I called so many people and found only a handful of volunteers. Thus there is a need to create in the community a sense of fellowship, community service and building up bridges of friendship and understanding with other communities. It's such an important period in the history of the US. There is a need to remove some prevailing misconceptions about our country."
The Pakistani exhibit was inaugurated by the Consul General, Mr. Ibn-Abbas and his wife. The exhibit included handicrafts from all the four provinces of Pakistan. Atiya Khan and Ayesha Shahid of the Pakistan Arts Council, Pacific Asia Museum were instrumental in making sure the display looks beautiful. A group of young, energetic, and dedicated volunteers, Taimur Jesrai, Faizan Mehdi, Sara Ali, Iman Farooqui, Amal Farooqui,Yousuf Khan, Sarah Aleem, Saba Ahmed, Sana Siddiqi, Erum Ahmed, Nomi Mirza, Shahzad Malik along with many other members of the community put up a Pakistani Dholki/Wedding Scene to the delight of the audience. Some members of the audience were so moved by the melodies from Pakistan and the scintillating scenes of marriages in wedding ceremonies that they voluntarily joined the performers.
Talking about the impact of the show on the visitors, Anila Ali said, "People were really interested in Pakistan. Many people stopped and discussed tourism and politics. Ten years ago, people didn't know where Pakistan was and now they were stopping and pointing at the posters of the mountains in the NWFP as the suspected hideout of Osama. Visitors were intrigued to learn that tourism despite everything, is flourishing in Pakistan and that our economy is the fastest growing after China and India. I am so glad that I was able to change some negative perceptions that people had," said Anila.
Anila Ali highly appreciated the spirit of the young participants and said that next year she will organize a show far more inspiring and spectacular. Anila Ali also highly appreciated the cooperation she received from COPAA's board member, Mr.Hamid Malik and the Pacific Asia Museum's Atiya Khan and Ayesha Shahid.
The dholki scene can be viewed at:
keyword: Irvine Global Village Festival


Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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