The Parade of Nations: Celebrating Multiculturalism at KAUST

By | March 12, 2015

Last week KAUST hosted the annual Parade of Nations, an event that invites residents to show their national pride by dressing up in their national dress and visiting stands with information about each of the countries.

One of the wonderful parts of living at KAUST is the opportunity to connect with people from all around the world on a daily basis. There are over 90 nationalities represented in a community of just over 6000 people – and it shows! I regularly look around a table of friends at dinner and realize that we’re all from different countries. And, Jordan’s best friends in his daycare are British, Saudi, Slovakian, Brazilian, and Chinese. Diversity and multiculturalism are not corporate buzzwords here… they’re what we live every day.

One of the long-standing jokes about living here is that the question “where are you from” can be pretty complicated for some people to answer. For many people it involves saying their nationality, their place of birth, their most recent location etc – because all of these are different places. My children for instance have lived their whole lives in Saudi, but they are American/British. It’ll never be too straightforward for them!

Anyhow, back to the Parade… The Parade of Nations is entirely volunteer-driven. The people who host the stands do so because they want to share about their culture with the rest of the community. The stands are well developed with food and cultural information. Walking around the stands is like taking a very quick round-the-world trip.

This event is my favorite of the year, not only because it is the biggest community event at KAUST, but because it really brings out the best in everyone.

In writing this post, I wanted to include the community’s voice. So, I reached out to our community Facebook page and invited them to submit photos from this year’s event for readers to see. They are all included below. If you were there and would like to add a photo, please do so in the comments of this post.

Looking forward to many more Parade of Nations events to come!

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Syria // Photo used with permission from Marwa Ani

 

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Egypt // Photo used with permission from Walaa Emara

 

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Egypt // Photo used with permission from Walaa Emara

 

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Tunisia // Photo used with permission from Sana Ghedira

 

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Pakistan // Photo used with permission from Nazish Ghauri

 

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Pakistan // Photo used with permission from Sana Bilal

 

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USA // Photo used with permission from Julie Bishop Thurston

 

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Brits together // Photo used with permission from Rukhsana Ansari

 

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Sri Lanka/USA // Photo used with permission from Kristin Elizabeth Anson

 

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Palestine // Photo used with permission from Asil Masry

 

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Taiwan // Photo used with permission from Jill Doyle

 

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Team Ireland! // Photo used with permission from Bronagh Hogan

 

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Photo used with permission from Sarah Craft

 

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United Kingdom // Photo used with permission from Sadiqa Siddique

 

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Philippines // Photo used with permission from Jun Jun Kulitz

 

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Philippines // Photo used with permission from Jun Jun Kulitz

 

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Egypt // Photo used with permission from Rehab Osman

 

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Philippines and Morocco // Photo used with permission from Ammar Benamr

 

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Saudi // Photo used with permission from Alaa Sameer Oraif

 

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Leen from Jordan // Photo used with permission from Ameen Ghawanmeh

 

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Iran // Photo used with permission from Leila Ebz

 

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Kenya // Photo used with permission from Joyce Nailantoi

 

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Nadeen and Sami from Jordan // Photo used with permission from Ameen Ghawanmeh

 

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The little Pharaohs from Egypt // Photo used with permission from Nadine Hosny El Said

 

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Hamza from Egypt // Photo used with permission from Nathasha Jerry

 

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Ireland // Photo used with permission from Susanne Cunningham

 

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Lebanon // Photo used with permission from Bassem Kattan

 

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Egypt // Photo used with permission from Yasmeen Hashish

 

Parade of nations morocco

Morocco // Photo used with permission courtesy Nourel Rezki

 

 

You can see more photos from previous Parade of Nations’ via the KAUST Flickr page.

 

 

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  • Rick

    Great post. Great metaphor for life at KAUST!

  • Osama Younis

    Wow, I like the idea.
    One of the best things at KAUST is its diverse community.

    Nice blog, keep it up.

  • Claire

    Thank you!

  • Emma

    Thanks Clare. Exciting to see the wide diversity. We are hoping to move to KAUST 1st Aug for my job at TKS. We are bringing a 10 and 13 year old girls and are intrigued about what there is for slightly older kids to do in the compound. Thanks for your blog…invaluable!

  • Claire

    Hi Emma – congrats on your new job! I only have the little ones, so feel more comfortable speaking to their needs. That said, we have close friends with older kids and teenagers and they seem to get on well here. It is a small community, so they have a lot of freedom at an early age. I think the teenagers like to do a lot of the same things that teenagers elsewhere do. They like to watch movies, hang out with friends, eat at the fast food places, and sometimes they venture into the malls in Jeddah together. They all have bikes, and there is a new bmx bike track (not sure if it’s opened or not) as well as several skate/bike parks on campus. They also like to go to the beach and many teenagers are certified in deep sea diving. There are also a lot of groups for kids like sports and music groups etc which they can join. The teenagers will tell you they are bored here…. but I’m pretty sure that’s what teenagers say the world over! They seem to have a nice, easy, and independent lifestyle here. Let me know if you have any specific questions and I’ll see if I can put you in touch with someone who knows better than I do!