April 28, 2015 – International Festival of Language and Culture was held in the nations capital at the Warner Theater.About one hundred students from 17 countries and 4 States from the U.S.A sang and danced, representing their own cultures, while their talented performances drew approximately 2,000 spectators to the theater. Among those who attended the festival were U.S. Representatives BIll Pascrell (NJ), Mark Takai (HW), Jeff McNerney (CA), Michael Capuano (MA), Randy Weber (TX), Donald Payne Jr. (NJ) and Henry Cuellar (TX), former Congressman Lincoln Davis (TN) as well as former Attorney General Clarine Nardi Riddle and NBA Oklahoma Thunder’s, Enes Kanter, while the star of TV Shows Community and The Soup, comedian Joel McHale served as the emcee for the event. Several government officials and ambassadors could also be spotted in the audience. The countries which were represented in Washington D.C. were Albania, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, France, Germany, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Lesotho, Mongolia, the Philippines, Serbia, South Africa, Thailand, Tunisia, Ukraine and the U.S., which was represented by participants from Arkansas, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Texas.
Worldwide, the International Festival of Language and Culture was hosted about 20 countries so far this year, while more than 160 countries were represented by hundreds of students in total.
Shortly after the opening ceremony, during which all students sang the festival’s de facto anthem, Universal Peace, after which Joel McHale performed his opening act and invited Dr. Faruk Taban, the President of TAA for some opening remarks. Dr. Taban thanked everyone for participating, as well as the sponsors and TAA, MAFTAA, ATFA and Rumi Forum staff for their support. The spectators enjoyed some 20 performances by the students throughout the night, throughout all of which they supported the very talented performers with their enthusiastic applauses, with a short breaks during which some distinguished guests took the stage to share their thoughts. One distinguished guest noted that “this [IFLC] is so amazing, it is the exact opposite of what is happening in Baltimore, Maryland.” Enes Kanter expressed how happy he was to be there, as he graduated from one of schools affiliated with the IFLC. In closing, the participants sang Universal Peace one more time, as a group. After the performers left the stage, the spectators chose to remain in the theater. Reluctant to leave, guests had a chance to meet the performers, the host and other distinguished people who were there that day, take pictures and express mutual gratitude.
The Festival also went viral with #IFLC2015 and twitter, as famous retired boxer, world heavyweight champion Mike Tyson sent out a tweet congratulating everyone with the festival’s success. Moreover, Mustafa Akpinar, Principal of the Pinnacle Academy, along with several student performers were guests on ABC 7 Morning News with Autria Godfrey.