Week Around the World Showcases Diversity at Midwestern University

Events display the various cultures at the University

  • AZ - Glendale
  • IL - Downers Grove
Collage of cultures

The Week Around the World at Midwestern University featured the cultures of several countries including Mexico, India, Italy, Kenya, Palestine, Egypt, Spain, Papua, New Guinea, Armenia, Brazil, Cuba, and Spain.

 The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Student Services, and Human Resources hosted A Week Around the World to celebrate and learn about the rich, multicultural backgrounds, customs, and traditions of the Midwestern university community. The cross-campus events included a Wellness & Diversity Walk displaying informational posters about several world regions; an art show with paintings, photography, ceramics, poetry, embroidery, and crochet figurines made by faculty, staff, and students; cooking demonstrations; and a Cultural Fair with food samples and information about many countries and cultures. The week began with an Art Walk, where different types of art displayed the cultures and talents of the Midwestern University community.


Artwork created by the Midwestern University community
The Art Walk features the artistic talents of the Midwestern University community.


There were lunch events with cultural conversations that provided an opportunity for multicultural discussions amongst Midwestern University community members. Attendees broke into small groups to talk over several topics including their family’s heritage, fluency in foreign languages, international and national living experience, cultural food and how to find it, traditions, and decorative items. At the end of the session, attendees concurred they have a lot in common although they come from different walks of life.  


AZ campus celebrates Around the World
Students on the Glendale Campus celebrate A Week Around the World.


Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine student Michael Gonzalez Caracheo (AZCOM ’27) and president of the Medical Spanish Club, described his favorite aspect of the Week Around the World as “sharing a bit of my country of Argentina while also displaying our Medical Spanish Club and its importance within the Midwestern community.” Michael also discussed the importance of diversity and the new experiences he had during the Week Around the World. “Diversity allows individuals to feel welcome, like they belong. By expressing my culture and heritage coming from South America, I learned and spoke to many Midwestern University students whose native language is Spanish. Diversity gives students empowerment, visibility, and representation, while allowing others to learn cultural competence and cultural humility.” Michael continued sharing his experience, “I learned how events that involve culture play a role in the school core. For example, by simply wearing my Argentina flag, so many students from different programs came up to me and spoke Spanish.” 

The week culminated in the MWU Cultural Fair, where the cultures of several countries were featured including Mexico, India, Italy, Kenya, Palestine, Egypt, Spain, Papua, New Guinea, Armenia, Brazil, Cuba, and Spain. Posters were on display with information, facts, food, and traditions for the Midwestern University community to increase awareness and multiculturalism appreciation while fostering connections and understanding. 


Artifacts and information about India.
One of the tables at the MWU Cultural Fair featured India, with information about the country, facts about historical sites, recipes, and beautiful gold jewelry.  


Students, faculty, and staff had the opportunity to create the posters, bring in cultural artifacts, and talk about their cultures to the fair attendees. Students expressed their appreciation for the event.

Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine student Nur Selin Akbulut (CCOM ’27) shared that her family was from Ankara, Turkey, as she handed out treats and information at the table about Turkey. “People visited because some of them saw the Turkish delight in movies and were curious to try it,” Nur said, adding, “The event brings everyone together and introduces them to new things. It’s really important to learn more about different cultures.” Nur added that multiculturalism experience assists aspiring healthcare professionals on their educational and career journeys. “Everyone you see are patients from different cultures, and it helps the patients if you know where they’re coming from, include them in healthcare, and make the patient more comfortable with you.


Palestine table at MWU Cultural Fair
The Middle Eastern Pharmacists Association (MePA) displays Palestinian arts and culture, including the symbolism of the keffiyeh headdress and the watermelon.


The Middle Eastern Pharmacists Association (MePA) put together a table to represent Palestinian art and culture. College of Pharmacy student Eman Qasmieh (CPDG ’26) shared she received questions about the symbol of the watermelon, which represents the colors on the Palestinian flag. She also received inquiries about the patterns on the keffiyeh headdress, as the fishnet pattern represents the connection to the Mediterranean Sea, and the waves represent olive leaves. She shared that the table received a positive reception. “Everyone is very interested and really respectful.” Eman also discussed the importance of the campus cultural events. “As healthcare professionals, we work with different demographics. This helps us expand our horizons and makes us more comfortable with each other before we enter our practices.”

Artifacts showing Mexican culture
Another table at the MWU Cultural Fair provided information about Mexico. Some of the information available included sites, recipes, and cultural décor. The Mexican Spanish language has several dialects spoken throughout the county with differences in structure, sound and vocabulary depending on the region. 

Physical Therapy student Casey Bala (CHS-Downers Grove PT ’26) shared her family is from the Philippines, and she enjoyed several aspects of the fair, including the cultural dresses. “I think being surrounded by cultural events allows all of us to connect and learn. It really prepares you when you’re working with patients to embrace different kinds of cultures, communities, and languages.”

Medical student Ashni Shetty (CCOM ’25) said, “It’s been a good experience, learning about different cultures through food and posters, we learn about each other. It’s nice to get the multicultural experience now. I’ll be seeing patients from all different backgrounds.”

Pharmacy student Justin Webster (CPDG ’25) stated, “It was a very eye-opening experience.” He emphasized that the cultural event added to his understanding and cultural interest. “It makes me want to visit the places (countries) and experience the cultures,” he said. He also said it was important when working with patients to consider their traditional cultural healing methods along with modern healing methods and find a compromise.

Cross-campus cultural events are a central component of Midwestern University and supplement students’ educational experience in order to become caring, patient-centered healthcare professionals with a deeper appreciation for multiculturalism and diversity. 

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