OGE’s first Cultural Cafe presents Israel and Nepal


Food is served at the Cultural Cafe event in the Kent State Ballroom on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017. The event focused on food and culture from Nepal and Israel.

Alec Slovenec

Kent State’s Office of Global Education hosted its first Cultural Café of the semester on Wednesday in the Ballroom Balcony of the Student Center.

While the event featured Kent State international students from Nepal and Israel, other countries will be represented later in the semester. Students from Wednesday night’s spotlighted countries gave presentations on their respective cultures, with free food served to those in attendance.

The event was part of “I Heart Travel Week.” The goal was to encourage more students to study abroad and learn about the outside world.

The event started off with a presentation from Samyak Moktan, a communication studies faculty member born in Nepal. Moktan has been working on her master’s degree at Kent State since 2014, and is currently teaching communication classes at the university.

“Nepal is my roots,” Moktan said. “It’s always going to be my country, so I’m always very proud of the fact that I’m from Nepal, and I always want to bring that up to people.”

Her presentation was filled with information regarding Nepal’s rich culture and the Himalayan landscape. Moktan showed many pictures of the country’s landscape and people and gave a short lesson on Nepalese history.

Following Moktan’s presentation, president of Students Supporting Israel (SSI) and senior communications studies major Sophia Witt, gave a presentation on Israel. Witt visited the country for the first time in 2014 and has been an active supporter of Israel ever since. As the representative of SSI, Witt reached out to the Office of Global Education hoping to display her country at the Cultural Cafe.

Like Moktan’s presentation on Nepal, Witt gave a short lesson on Israel’s history. She discussed its establishment in 1948, its advancement in the world of technology and other facts about the country and pictures of one of Israel’s largest cities Tel Aviv.

“Within every country, there are some faults, but there are also some triumphs,” Witt said. “I think that Israel goes above and beyond the expectations of international law constantly to show innovations and the incredible opportunities you can have through the democracy that is Israel.”

In between the two presentations, food from Nepal and Israel was served to everyone at the event. The Nepalese dishes Alu Dum, a savory potato dish, and Lalmohan for dessert, were served alongside Israel’s falafel — made of fried chick peas — with tahini yogurt and baklava.

According to event coordinator Delaney Graybill, the Cultural Café will happen once a month and will always feature two countries. The next Cultural Café is March 15 on the third floor of the Student Center and will feature presentations about Oman and England, as well as food from each country.

“I think that presenting every culture at the cultural cafe is important,” Witt said. “If you feel a strong identity to your culture, then you should express it, regardless of what anyone thinks.”

Alec Slovenec is the university diversity reporter, contact him at [email protected].