2013 Global Excursions poster

Beyond Borders: OU Music and Dance Fest Celebrates Diversity

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You can read a story in a book or watch a video online, but to truly understand the arts from cultures across the globe, there’s no better way than to experience them first-hand.

The purpose of the 3rd Annual World Music & Dance Festival and Concert is to bring arts from around the world to Athens, Ohio.

The festival, which started Wednesday, Jan. 23 and continues through Friday, Feb. 2, consists of nearly 30 different workshops, ranging from Japanese Taiko drumming to Italian dance.

On Wednesday, Jan. 30, a Latin American and Caribbean Culture/Arts open forum will be held in the Walter Hall Rotunda from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. OU faculty will discuss the politics of music in Guyana, Cuba and Puerto Rico.

The Global Excursions Concert will conclude the festival on Saturday, Feb. 2 at 7:30 p.m. in Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium.

The concert will feature various musical and dance performances from Guinea, Italy, Trinidad, Spain, Ukraine and more, with performances from students, faculty and special guests.

Dr. Paschal Yao Younge and Dr. Zelma Badu-Younge founded the program at Ohio University three years ago. After arriving at OU, the pair recognized that, in order to receive a well-rounded experience, students needed more than what they were getting in the classroom.

Since then, they have stressed diversity and getting an academic experience outside of the classroom.

“It gives the students a chance to bring to life what they’re reading about,” said Dr. Badu-Younge. “If they’re reading about it and they’ve never experienced any of it and only watched it on video, it’s not going to give you the same experience as actually engaging it yourself.”

After successful events in 2011 and 2012, the directors are hoping for the same kind of positive feedback from the Athens community. As long as the two are here, they plan on continuing the festival and even expanding it to include theater and the visual arts.

“The world is changing so fast; globalization is taking over. There is no way you can survive if you’re only stuck in your own bubble,” said Dr. Yao Younge. “You have to go beyond the classroom. Go beyond the syllabus.”

The concert is free for OU students with a valid student ID. For more information, visit