Global Fair Celebrates a World of Cultures

This past Monday, there was one place in Weston where you could sample baklava, dumplings, brisket, samosas, and more, all under one roof. That location was the tent on the Lank Quadrangle at Rivers, and the occasion was the Global Fair Picnic, an annual event that celebrates the diversity of our community. More than 150 people—Rivers families, students, alumni, faculty members, and staff—turned out for the festive potluck; this year, for the first time, the program also included musical and spoken-word performances by students and an Ethiopian coffee ceremony.
The annual event—a descendant of a longstanding earlier version, International Night—was on hiatus during the first two years of the pandemic. Last year, COVID restrictions still in place limited the size and scope of the event. This was the first year post-COVID that the fair was fully back—and it was bigger than ever.
“The Global Fair is one of the most community-oriented events on campus,” said Julien Burks ’23, one of the student leaders of BRIDGE, which helped organize the fair. “Having the Middle School, Upper School, BRIDGE, affinity groups, parents, kitchen staff, and the DEI office all work together is truly special. Times like these, when we get to share collective joy and learn more about each other and our cultures, remind me of how great and diverse our community is.”
The performances set this year’s fair apart from those past. Several students shared poetry and music that reflected their own experience or background. Others chose to celebrate the diversity of our community. Maylea Harris ’26 recited an original poem titled “Maddeningly Multi,” about her experience as a person with a foot in more than one culture. “The Global Fair was an amazing experience,” Harris said later. “As I performed in front of the attendees, I was not nervous, because every person there was extremely kind and open-minded. There was diversity all around: in the people, the performances, and the delicious food.”
The Hossaena family (daughters Eden and Meron are Class of ’27 and ’28, respectively) provided the Ethiopian coffee ceremony. The family noted beforehand that the ceremony is an important social occasion and sign of respect  in Ethiopia. It’s conducted in three stages—roasting, brewing, and cupping—and at Monday’s fair, the delightful aroma of roasting beans filled the air while the students performed. Afterward, everyone was invited to enjoy the freshly brewed coffee.
Organizers and attendees were delighted to see the Global Fair back on campus and unencumbered by the pandemic. As Jackie Lee ’23, another BRIDGE leader, said, “It was a culmination of celebrating and sharing the joy of different cultures that are present within the Rivers community, and it was also just a great time to eat food, listen to performances, and spend time with our friends and family. I know it's a Rivers tradition that will live on, and I hope everyone will get to experience it in the future!”