Nearly 500 local fifth-graders will carry the international flags of more than 100 nations during the 11th annual Parade of Flags, set to step off at 11:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 17, from the east side of Huskie Stadium.
Participants will march along Lucinda Avenue to the Martin Luther King Commons, where Dr. Awni Alkarzon, graduate assistant in the Division of International Programs, will lead the ceremony. Originally from Gaza, Alkarzon is currently pursuing a second doctoral degree, this one in higher education administration.
“This year we’re trying to focus the program on our students, so we’ve asked Awni to speak and lead the ceremony as a current student himself,” said Deborah Pierce, associate provost for International Programs at NIU. “Displaying all these beautiful flags reminds us all of the wonderful diversity of our campus and community, and hosting the DeKalb schoolchildren emphasizes the strong partnership between NIU and the local community.”
Also prior to the parade, participating students from DeKalb-area public and private schools will have an opportunity to meet with NIU international students and study-abroad participants, to learn directly from the NIU students about other countries where they have lived.
“Both the NIU students and the elementary school students really seem to enjoy this part of the parade, because they’re learning from each other as they talk about other nations,” Pierce said.
In the last academic year NIU enrolled students from more than 90 nations, with India and China sending the largest numbers. NIU also enrolls students from such nations as Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysian, Moldova and Saudi Arabia.