From Friday Oct. 25 to Sunday Oct. 27, the 14th MAMF (Migrants’ Arirang Multicultural Festival), hosted by the MAMF 2019 Promotions Committee, took place at Changwon Yongji Cultural Park and Sungsan Art Hall. This festival is not only a local event but is also an event where Koreans and immigrants from 14 Asian countries can get together to communicate and have a cultural exchange.
The MAMF is the largest multicultural festival in Korea. It is held to encourage community integration through multicultural experiences and to promote a better understanding of diverse cultures. Almost 250,000 visitors enjoyed the festival. There were about 500 volunteers in addition to the team of volunteer interpreters. The featured country of MAMF 2019 was Sri Lanka. Thirteen other countries were included in the festival: Pakistan, Thailand, China, Uzbekistan, the Philippines, Cambodia, Indonesia, Nepal, Myanmar, Mongolia, Vietnam, Bangladesh and Korea.
Sri Lanka, the featured country of the year, was accompanied by the National Art Cultural Youth and Little Angels who gave special performances throughout the festival, as well as performing for the opening ceremony. On the last day of the festival, a reception was held to create a venue where people could establish relationships and friendships with diplomats and overseas performance groups.
The festival's main events were the Opening Ceremony, the Korea Migrants’ Song Festival, the Multicultural Parade, and the Asia Pop Music Concert. The Opening Ceremony emphasized the importance of sharing cultures between locals and migrants. Speeches were held by Co-Chairman Han Cheol soo, Vice Governor of South Gyeongnam Province Park Sung-ho, Mayor of Changwon City Huh Sung-moo, and finally Ambassador of Sri Lanka Saj. U Mendis.
The Korea Migrants’ Song Festival was held on Sunday Oct. 27. People could meet talented migrant singers who worked hard over the year to prepare for the contest. This is the largest migrants’ song festival in Korea. This year’s contest winner was Mogolian. The Multicultural Parade was held on Sunday Oct. 27 around City Hall. It was such a special parade where migrants could demonstrate their diverse cultures. Through the parade the MAMF festival was truly recognized as an international festival. The Asia Pop Music Concert was a closing performance which gathered different nations and cultures in a harmonious setting. Nine different cultural groups sang at the 2019 Asia Pop Music concert.
Some smaller events were the Fringe Concert, the Global Village Tour, the Multicultural Bazaar, and the Global Food Experience. Also, there was a Children’s Multicultural Drawing Contest to help see and communicate multiculturalism through the eyes of children and teenagers. This provided children with opportunities to better understand multiculturalism, to recognize the value of living together in a multicultural society, and to develop their sense of culture. This contest was hosted by the Gyeongsangnamdo Office of Education in association with the MAMF.
There was the Global Food Experience that provided festival goers with the opportunity to enjoy and taste various foods from 17 different countries. Local chefs prepared their own local street food to combine the experiences of street culture and food. The Global Village Tour using a multicultural passport improve participants and civils more attractive in this festival. People could experience a World Tour, described as “a global journey in 3 days”, through the Multicultural Festival. Visitors were encouraged to get a stamp from each booth on their multicultural passport and then received a gift. At each country’s booth, participants could experience multicultural activities and traditional games guided by the people of each country.
A special event was the National Art Cultural Delegation Performance by the featured country, which was held for 2 days at Sungsan Arthall. Every year, the MAMF committee selects the featured country, invites their national performing troupe, and introduces high quality aspects of their culture and art. It is a program for domestic participants. The Migrants’ Arirang and Luncheon Reception at the CECO Buffet was hosted solely for honored guests.
Kim Min-jae, a volunteer interpreter from the Department of International Trade, said, “I spent three days working with Sri Lankan locals as an interpreter at the Sri Lankan embassy booth. Having many conversations with Sri Lankan friends helped me to get rid of any fears or negative prejudices I may have had against foreigners. In addition, the parades that were held by each country became a valuable memory of mine, because I was able to see so many different cultures in one place. In particular, the Mongolian parade, which had riders on horseback, was unforgettable. At night, singers from the participating countries were invited to volunteer for three days while listening to the songs of each country. Of course, volunteer interpreters face a lot of challenges, but I am proud for having been a part of this unforgettable experience.”
|▲ The Multicultural Parade|
By Lee Yeon-ju, reporter email@example.com
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