The Bhutanese Community Association of Akron will host its Annual Festival on Saturday, Aug. 19, noon to 5 p.m. at the University of Akron, in the third floor ballroom at the Student Union. The festival will showcase Nepali music, dance, speeches and food. Members of the community will also address the crowd, including University President Matthew Wilson, Cuyahoga Falls Mayor Don Walters and Akron Public Schools Superintendent David James.
“We are delighted and honored that our Bhutanese neighbors have chosen to celebrate this festival on our campus,” said Wilson. “Our university is rich with international expertise, experience and activities, and we have an unwavering commitment to the values of inclusion, diversity, mutual respect and equal opportunity, among others.”
“The Bhutanese Community Association of Akron continues to do a phenomenal job of building relationships and making a lasting impact on our community,” said Walters. “The annual festival is a great opportunity to celebrate the culture of our Bhutanese neighbors and friends and we are proud to support this spectacular event.”
This annual program is designed to enhance relationships between Bhutanese refugees and other residents of the Akron area. The festival organizers say they hope to provide an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of its members, meet new people and build friendships.
Refugees from Bhutan comprise the membership of The Bhutanese Community Association. The Government of Bhutan forced the refugees off of their property and out of their country with sweeping discriminatory policies towards their ethnic group in the late 1980s.
The government exiled these refugees to camps in Nepal where they lived in bamboo huts with no running water or electricity. After 18 years, resettlement began through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Many Bhutanese refugees elected to live in Akron.
The Bhutanese refugees who settle in the area are making a positive impact in their communities. They are getting jobs, paying taxes, purchasing cars, buying homes and starting businesses. Many have earned U. S. citizenship and vote regularly.
The University of Akron Student Union is located at 303 Carroll St., with free parking in the Shrank Hall North Parking Deck at 240 Carroll St.