Since 1999, Culture Fest has been the Chattanooga area’s premiere showcase of international communities and the largest annual celebration of local cultures. It’s a wonderful one-day celebration of diversity that features live performances from local cultural groups, a Parade of Nations, a multicultural fashion show, a dance contest and an exhibition of culturally-themed art. Additional opportunities to learn about other cultures are also presented at 24 display booths coordinated by local ethnic organizations, where sample foods from various countries are offered throughout the day. Now, for the first time, Culture Fest will be more. This “one day celebration” will serve as a fundraiser and launch an important on-going project that will benefit members of our local Hispanic and international community and build participation in Chattanooga’s economic and workforce development efforts. Proceeds from Culture Fest will fund our International Community Outreach program engaged in activities that focus on education, workforce development, diversity and civic engagement. Hosted by Chattanooga State Community College (ChSCC), the goal of the program is to increase the enrollment of Hispanics and international students and the retention rate of non-traditional and underrepresented students at Chattanooga State.
Cultural Ambassadors and International Achievers are new initiatives created in partnership between Chattanooga State Community College, Hamilton County and the City of Chattanooga. These initiatives aim to impact local perceptions of the value of international diversity within our community and to provide support for our international students at Chattanooga State Community College. It provides opportunities for the diverse people in our region to strengthen communities, and it will expand opportunities for local international leaders to engage their communities in activities that focus on education, workforce development and civic engagement.
The goal of the program will also be on international student recruitment and the retention of non-traditional students and underrepresented groups. The program strives to increase inclusion, immigrant integration and participation in educational programs emphasizing leadership, achievement, and success. The program’s network is comprised of local foreign-born leaders who are selected based on their history of engagement with their communities of cultural origin, as well as their influence within those circles.