By Yuri Svjagintsev, Broadside Correspondent

George Mason University’s Office of International Affairs will be hosting its annual International Week this week to celebrate the university’s laudable diversity and the attraction it holds for students from every corner of the globe.

According to the Office of International Affairs’ website, International Week is intended “to celebrate the presence of the university’s international and multicultural student population.

For immigrant students, International Week at Mason provides an opportunity to share their cultural heritages.”

During the week, more than 20 campus associations that are tied to a particular culture will be involved in the celebration, such as the Persian Student Association and the Hispanic Student Association.

Marina Casciano, a graduate student in public administration and former president of the International Association said, “International Week is a very important event for raising awareness among the student body. Unfortunately, in the past it was not marketed enough.”

This year may be different, as the Johnson Center will be decked out in flags from across the world and participating student organizations will offer various activities.

“The Russian Club will showcase poetry readings and cultural artifacts celebrating Russia’s rich literary and artistic culture,” said Tatyana Gontscharow, the president of the Russian Club and a junior majoring in athletic training.

Other associations participating in International Week will have dances, perform music and bring in food. Organizers said there was even a cricket tournament and a soccer tournament held over the weekend.

Svyatoslav Suvorov, a senior business management major, said he was looking forward to the soccer tournament the most.

“It will be like a miniature World Cup in our university,” he said. “We can see which country is truly the king of the field.”

On Tuesday, there will be a dance competition with styles ranging from traditional tribal dance from the steppes of Central Asia to a demonstration of Capoeira, the Brazilian dancing martial art.

In addition, a fashion show featuring the native apparel of participating countries will be held on Thursday, April 8.

Mason will also allow local businesses to flock to the Fairfax campus in order to show off their cuisines to students.

“I remember the first time I had something from Sangam at Mason,” said Tina Naimyar, a senior majoring in government and international politics. “It was out on the lawn serving chick peas and tandoori chicken.”

Today, Sangam occupies a spot as one of the JC’s main eateries.

The crowning event of International Week has always been the Showcase of Cultures, which will be held in Dewberry Hall in the JC on Wednesday, April 7 at noon.

At the event, each association will set up a table to represent its country. Last year, there was an entire Bedouin tent put up by the Arab Student Association.

International Week is overseen by a chair and vice chair dedicated solely to the event, and is completely student-run, with specific cabinet members overseeing individual events. International Week typically starts on the first Saturday of April.

This year is no exception, with the event commencing on Saturday, April 3 and ending on the night of Saturday, April 9 with an after-party for participants.