Cultural Diversity Series teaches students, staff cultural awareness

Chelsey Milkovich

The interest in cultural diversity brought Kent State students and staff to White Hall on Friday, April 4th at 7 p.m. for the Cultural Diversity Series 2: Turkey Experience, an event filled with Turkish cuisine and discussion of diversity and culture with Keynote speaker Murat Gurer, director of the Turkish American Society of Cleveland, Ohio.

Hosted by the Cultural Diversity and Inclusion Association of Kent State University, the event focused on promoting cultural awareness and its importance at Kent State.  Yertai Tanai, graduate business administration major and president of the Cultural Diversity and Inclusion Association of Kent State said he wants students to be aware of the cultural difference of the people at Kent State.

“We strive to promote the importance and richness of the cultural diversity in the Kent State environment,” he said.  “Hosting events like the Cultural Diversity Series helps demonstrate the association of cultural differences in Kent State students.”

Tanai said he enjoys hosting events with great food and discussion of cultural awareness.

“The point of the Cultural Diversity Series is to bring together the interest of different cultures through food and discussion,” Tanai said.  “I think the high attendance indicates everyone’s love for food and great discussion, as well as interest in cultural awareness.”

This event is the second of the Cultural Diversity Series, the first theme being United States experience on Cultural Diversity. 

Keynote speaker Murat Gurer greeted students with “Merhaba,” which translates into “Hello” in Turkish.  Gurer discussed the importance of the Turkish background, culture, geography and tradition. 

“My goal is to promote a different culture to the Americans because I believe it is important to discuss different cultures in this society,” he said.

“I think with the United States being a melting pot, many people find comfort here,” Gurer said.  “Not only from American culture, but also cultures all around the world that chose to come here for freedom and opportunity.”

In attendance of the discussion was Sevim McCutcheon, associate professor of University Libraries, who said she believes cultural awareness is necessary.

“I think it is very important to have contact with other people of different cultures to realize that we are all human and there is much more similar about us than different,” she said.  “It can help dispel stereotypes and prejudices we might not even know we have.”

Laura Graham, junior recreation park/tourism management major said she believes cultural diversity helps make her a more open-minded person.

“My experience with traveling has made me more excepting as a person,” she said. “I’ve learned so much about other cultures and it has made me learn so much about myself.  I think cultural diversity is so important for people in our society.”

Tanai said The Cultural Diversity and Inclusion Association wants to keep Kent State students aware of cultural diversity by hosting events such as the Cultural Diversity Series.  The next set in the series will be announced at a later date.

Contact Chelsey Milkovich at [email protected].