Peace on Earth: Concordia Language Villages celebrates International Day
BEMIDJI -- Nearly 2,000 people gathered Friday afternoon at the Concordia Language Villages for this summer's second International Day to celebrate their cultural differences.
BEMIDJI -- Nearly 2,000 people gathered Friday afternoon at the Concordia Language Villages for this summer’s second International Day to celebrate their cultural differences.
The festivities featured the Peace Site Rededication, the Parade of Flags, a World Cup soccer tournament, a mock global summit meeting and the closing ceremony.
Throughout the day, tents were set up to sell souvenirs and let people taste various foreign foods.
The Peace Site was donated in the mid-90s by Minneapolis-based World Citizens Inc., and the villages come together for a ceremony every year.
“When you register a peace site, you commit to re-dedicating the peace site every year, kind of recommitting yourself to the peace site,” said Martin Graefe, senior director of the villages. “We use it to rededicate essentially ourselves to the mission of the language villages.”
For the ceremony, members from the 15 villages gather and say “May peace prevail on Earth” in each of their languages.
This year, the rededication specially acknowledged the Arabic village, Al-Waha, as it celebrates it’s 10th anniversary as a village, Graefe said.
At 1:15 p.m., the Parade of Flags served as a welcoming ceremony for guests, as well as a celebration of unity among the villages for I-Day.
The Global Summit includes representatives from each village coming together to respond to a global issue.
“These different villages represent these different philosophies,” Graefe said. “The question is ‘How on earth can we all live together?’ and so they think of resolutions or statements that they can pass as a global UN summit kind of organization that allows us to live together peacefully and respectively.”
From 1:30 to 4:30 p.m., students competed in the soccer tournament, trying to secure the World Cup for their village.
The theme of this year’s International day is “I am ___. We are ___. We all are CLV.” Graefe said the closing ceremony is an event that nicely reflects the theme.
“We have a sit down piece at the end where each village has a three-minute performance of some sort. A dance or a song or a combination of the two,” he said. “That’s kind of a highlight for everybody because we have this theme, and then they try to do something that interprets that theme based on their language or culture.”
Overall, International Day is meant to be a balanced combination of fun and learning.
“This is awesome, this is what we’re all about,” he said. “People being together and being together for a certain cause. It’s a mission-driven thing for us, and International Day reflects that very strongly, but it’s also just seeing how people get excited and have fun by experiencing different languages and cultures.”