CityUHK embraces cultural diversity and celebrates Central Asian Festival



CityUHK held The Blossoms of Spring: Central Asian Cultural Festival to celebrate the diverse, culturally rich artistic traditions of Central Asia.

City University of Hong Kong (CityUHK), rated the most international university in the world, aims to promote multicultural exchange and foster an inclusive and a diverse environment on campus.

The Blossoms of Spring: Central Asian Cultural Festival (the Cultural Festival) was held by Cultural Exchange Oasis (CXO) of CityUHK on 15 March to celebrate the diverse, culturally rich artistic traditions of Central Asia in the month of Nauryz through a variety of events.

Visitors will share the joy that captures the essence of Nauryz through a diverse range of exhibits, including the traditional Kazakh yurt, costumes, musical instruments, and photographs.

Nauryz is a holiday in Kazakhstan that marks the arrival of spring. More than 300 million people around the world celebrate this day as the beginning of the New Year in a number of regions. The tradition has a history of over 3,000 years in regions such as the Balkan Peninsula, the Black Sea Basin, the Caucasus, Central Asia and the Middle East.

Officiating guests at the Nauryz: Kazakhstan Spring Celebration Exhibition of the Cultural Festival included Mr Almas Seitakynov, Consul General of the Republic of Kazakhstan in the Hong Kong and Macao SARs, PRC, Professor Freddy Boey, President of CityUHK, Professor Li Wenjung, Vice-President (Talent and International Strategy) of CityUHK and Ms Candy Chouk, Director, Cultural Exchange Oasis of CityUHK.

(From left) Mr Kamil Bekenov, Vice-consul of the Republic of Kazakhstan in the Hong Kong and Macao SARs, PRC, Professor Li, Mr Seitakynov, President Boey, Professor Steven Wang, Associate Vice-President (Resources Planning), and Ms Chouk.
President Boey

In his welcoming remarks, President Boey extended a warm welcome to Mr Seitakynov and his team. He said that it was wonderful to celebrate the beginning of spring together with the Kazakhstan community and to enjoy the captivating images and exhibits on display, and that the traditional Kazakh snacks reminded him of the unique charm and beauty of Kazakhstan.

“In line with our vision of inspiration, innovation and internationalisation, CityUHK is the first university from Hong Kong to commit to establishing a presence in Kazakhstan,” he said. “CityUHK signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Republic of Kazakhstan and Satbayev University last November. We are dedicated to becoming a hub of knowledge and cultural exchange between Hong Kong and Kazakhstan.”

Mr Seitakynov

Mr Seitakynov expressed his gratitude to CityUHK for organising the Cultural Festival, as it connects people from Kazakhstan, mainland China and Hong Kong.

He looked forward to more in-depth and fruitful co-operation between universities in Kazakhstan and CityUHK in the future time. “I welcomed the establishment of links between Kazakhstani and Hong Kong universities and signing cooperation agreement between Satbayev University and CityUHK is a successful step in this direction,” he said.

Another highlight of the Cultural Festival was the Connecting to the World Performance: Central Asian Music and Dance Gala Show, which attracted an audience of about 500 to enjoy an evening of multicultural delight.

Mr Huang

In his welcome remarks, Mr Lester Garson Huang, Council Chairman of CityUHK expressed his gratitude for the support and assistance of Mr Seitakynov and his team in organising the Cultural Festival. He added that the University is proud to host this gala show, inviting audiences from different cultures, institutions and professions to come together and celebrate cultural diversity in Hong Kong.

“Tonight, through appreciating the diverse and colourful Central Asian music and dances, we aim to promote cultural exchange, foster mutual understanding, and strengthen the bonds between our communities. It is through such interactions that we can truly connect with the world and embrace the beauty of diversity,” he said.

The gala show featured traditional Central Asian music and dance. The delegation from the Alatau Traditional Art Theatre from Almaty, Kazakhstan had their debut performance in Hong Kong and renowned dancer Ms Pasha Umer presented a variety of dance styles from the region, accompanied by live music by local musicians.

Connecting to the World Performance: Central Asian Music and Dance Gala Show

On 14 March, CXO partnered with the CityUHK Kazakhstani Association and Kyrgyz Society to hold a fun fair, which was open to the CityUHK community and alumni. Booths were run by CityUHK students from Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. Participants had the chance to try Kazakh horse and camel milk and learn ancient Turkic calligraphy. The students also gave a Central Asian music and dance performance during the fun fair.

With over 9,700 non-local students from over 80 countries and regions on campus, over 100 of whom are from Central Asian countries. CityUHK has been recognised as the Most International University in the World, according to the recently published Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2024. This ranking is a tribute to the diverse community of students and scholars from around the world at CityUHK.

Connecting to the World Performance: Central Asian Music and Dance Gala Show



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