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A multi-unit group supporting Cornell University's institutional diversity planning initiative.

DFA celebrated world cultures at March 12 cultural food event

The staff members in the Division of Financial Affairs (DFA) are no strangers to potluck gatherings, and they united for a memorable celebration of diversity at their March 12 cultural food event, held for the Alliance for Diversity and Inclusion (ADI) Cultural Awareness program. The DFA community collaborated to present delights from all over the world, embroiling themselves in gathering facts and stories about the foods and traditions from those cultures.

National flags and associated cultural details were displayed with each dish.

Each of DFA’s twelve departments was asked to select a country or culture to represent at the event, creating opportunities for staff members to learn about unfamiliar cultures as they worked together to plan their dishes. Tables or dishes were labeled with a national flag for and facts about the food presented. Some departments created entire displays detailing facts about the country and culture of those who would have originally prepared the recipes. As they sat and ate together, attendees enjoyed sharing personal stories about the dishes they chose and, in some cases, the challenges they faced in finding the right ingredients.

Some participants prepared detailed displays about the country their foods represented.

Available were cuisines such as Israeli salad and tabbouleh; Krakus ham, kielbasa, pierogi and sweets from Poland; German pretzels; French fruit tartlets; Jamaican jerk chicken; varieties of Italian pasta; Greek loukoumades; Cambodian Mee Ka Thung; American New England Clam Chowder; Native American Indian pudding; and Scottish tiffin. There was even a Mexican taco bar with a variety of fillings and trimmings.

Employees enjoyed talking about their dishes and how they were prepared.

Among the talk overheard at the event were exclamations such as, “This is beautiful!” “Wow, that’s delicious!” and “Gosh, we should do this more often.” The gathering was so well received that Vice President for Financial Affairs Gerald Hector said in a subsequent communication to the DFA staff that he “asked the [Special Events] committee to consider whether or not we can create more events like these throughout the year. These functions do not have to be tied to any particular division event or holiday, but it is good for us just to sit in a space and enjoy the fellowship of our colleagues.”

Read about the cultural food events hosted by other departments, including Cornell Information Technologies and the Audit Office and President’s and Provost’s Staff.

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