Celebrating the spirit of multiculturalism and diversity, GIIS Queenstown Campus hosted the GIIS Cultural Convention on April 28, 2012. As an academic institution, GIIS recognises that cultural awareness forms the foundation of a global citizen and is essential to harmony in today s multi-racial societies. To foster empathic understanding amongst people of different cultures, awareness and appreciation of values, richness, beliefs and perceptions of cultures other than one s own is quintessential. Through an array of interesting competitions, GIIS Cultural Convention provided a platform to encourage young students to appreciate various existing cultures around them.
The event was graced by two Guests of Honour over the different sessions - Dr Uma Rajan, Chairperson, Community Arts & Culture Committee, Siglap South (Joo Chiat) and Ms Shobha Tsering Bhalla, CEO and Editor-in-chief, IndiaSe. Eminent guests at the event included Mr Gilbert Ndiaye, Mr Patrick Jonas, Deputy Editor, Tabla!, Ms Aparna Temurnikar, Ms Smita Wargantiwar, Ms Vrushali Bodhankar, Mr Rajiv Vasudeva, as well as Principals Mr Ramesh Mudgal, Ms Melissa Maria and Vice Principal, Ms Meenakshi Mehta. Also present as judges at the event were Dr Sanjay Swaroop and Mr Gourvendu Saxena, both from the Department of Biological Sciences, NUS.
On Saturday, the school campus buzzed with student participants from GIIS Queenstown and GIIS East Coast Campuses. The participants were finally getting an opportunity to showcase their knowledge through creative talent.
Through student presentations of glimpses of the world, Cultural Exposé presented a window to world cultures. The symbiotic relationship of life, art and literature and the integral role they play in any culture was showcased through Literary Masquerade. The onstage performances by students impressed the judges, parents as well as GIIS students in the audience.
There exists a strong and living bond between language and culture. So it is only natural that languages would be an integral part of the cultural convention. The French Singing contest united the francophones and the rest of the world through lilting music. Using words and gestures, an intellectually challenging competition took shape in the French Charades. Finally, the French Poster-making competition explored the creativity and agility of the participants.
The Hindi Quiz competition aimed to encourage students to understand cultural aspects of epics. The Hindi Sufi Singing competition enlivened the zest and spirit of Sufi music. Samacharpatra Rachna, or Hindi Press Reportage, empowered students with creativity, teamwork, integrity and ethical practices in Hindi-medium press reporting.
Dance is a wonderful medium for expressing thoughts and feelings as well as historical themes and characters. Tamil is one of the national languages of Singapore. Expression of Tamil Language through the portrayal of historical events and characters gave students an excellent exposure to the Indian culture. Kolam provided a platform that not only encouraged creativity and team work but also helped re-live one of the finest artistic traditions of Indian culture.
Ad-making got students to display their creative ideas, by using research-based information to create unique advertisements. Face Painting - Symbol of Peace aimed to inspire creativity, bringing alive the artistic streak of our young minds; who lent an aesthetic and symbolic sense to the theme through their art. Documentary-making, themed Towards Peace , encouraged students to promote cultural tolerance through the challenging task of conceptualising and creating a documentary storyline.
As part of environmental studies and to impart knowledge on indigenous people and their importance in maintaining cultural and biological diversity, GREENLINKS@GIIS Queenstown Campus arranged a model-making cum lifestyle display competition on Indigenous Peoples and the Environment. For this competition, students had prepared detailed models depicting the lifestyle, occupation, history and practices of different tribes from around the world. Their presentations included details about the tribes on which they had researched for the project.
GIIS Cultural Convention was a harmonising platform to represent the ethos of a global community. As a melting pot of cultures, the event certainly stimulated students to learn through the various creative endeavours.
"GIIS Cultural Convention has given the students a platform to share their multi-cultural perspectives and it has helped raise the value system of the school," Mr Rajiv Vasudeva, Country Director (Singapore), GIIS.
For GIIS Class 12 student Devrat Kaushal, a participant at the event, "The Literary Masquerade was a truly enriching experience. I had a marvellous time portraying Porus - the Indian ruler who fought against Alexander the Great. I look forward to participating in many more such cultural activities."
Another student, Meghana Ray, Class 9 IGCSE, who played the lead role in the Japanese Tea Ceremony, opined, "Through competitions such as Cultural Exposé, subtle aspects of major cultures around the world were showcased with a stunning display of creativity and elegance by my friends at school. Not only did it deepen our understanding of the prevalent cultures, it symbolically captured an attribute of our school."
"It was a great experience to be with so many young people. The students are immensely talented and they were so innovative and enterprising. I am sure events like these help boost their confidence," conveyed Mr Patrick Jonas, Deputy Editor, Tabla!
Ms Shobha Tsering Bhalla, CEO and Editor-in-chief, IndiaSe expressed, "I must say that I was extremely impressed by the cultural activities encouraged at the school. It is not just the simple performing arts like dance and singing; here children have been made to think. Even in a competition like face painting , it was not only about the aesthetics, but also about the symbolism behind the craft. GIIS seems to have nurtured cultural thinking with academic learning in students, as it should be in the best schools. It is quite rare to see this in schools here (in Singapore)."