Fourth Annual International Festival attracts close to 4,000!

The annual International Festival of North Alabama, co-hosted by The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) and the International Society of Huntsville (ISH), was held this past Saturday at UAH’s Spragins Hall.

“This year’s festival really showcased the rich diversity of our community,” says Dr. Belinda Ong, Director of Reference & Information Services at UAH’s M. Louis Salmon Library and President of the ISH.

Thirty-five countries were represented at the festival, which attracted approximately 3900 attendees from the community at large. Admission was free, but many opted to pay a $5 fee in return for a sampling of international comfort foods. Traditional dances were also performed throughout the day on the outdoor stage, including some from UAH’s international students.

But the real highlight was a mid-day showstopper from Step Afrika!, one of the top ten African American dance companies in the nation. “They were full of energy and the crowd loved it,” says Dr. Ong.

Now that it is over, she already has her sights set on the 2014 festival. “I have received so much wonderful feedback from people who attended Saturday’s festival that I am confident that it will continue to be bigger and better each year,” she says.


College of Liberal Arts Library Celebration on October 16th

Exciting news!  Salmon Library is having a celebration for the College of Liberal Arts on October 16th from 4-6pm.  We will have vendor representatives providing demonstrations of our newest databases, Early English Books Online and Eighteenth Century Collections Online, as well as our recent expansion of database JSTOR.

Food, drinks, and door prizes for those who attend!  All faculty, staff, and students are invited to attend.  We look forward to seeing you there!

Fourth Annual International Festival food selections

Curious to see which delicious, unique food selections await you at the 2013 International Festival?  The anticipation is over!  See below for pictures and short descriptions of each menu item.  Specific ingredient lists of each dish will be available at the festival.

Food from Terranova, featuring European, Central American, and African Dishes:

 Nyama Ye Mombe (Beef Stew from Zimbabwe)

Shabbat (Baked fish with tomatoes and sweet bell peppers from Morocco)

Muriwo (Spiced Greens from Zimbabwe)

Mupunga une Dovi (Brown Rice with Peanut Butter from Zimbabwe)

Other dishes from Terranova include:  Pollo Costa Bravo (Chicken and Pineapple Saute from Spain, Penne Cremoso Marinana (Pasta with Creamy Marinara from Italy, Bœuf Bourguignon (Braised beef with red wine from France), Cacerola De Berenjena (Eggplant casserole from Nicaragua).

Food from restaurant Phuket, featuring Asian cuisine:


Bulgogi (Grilled, marinated beef from Korea)

Larb Gai (Minced chicken and toasted rice salad from Laos)

Tofu Pad Thai (Stir-fried rice noodle dish from Thailand)

Hor Mok (Steamed pork curry patty from Thailand)

Satay Ayam (Skewered chicken with peanut sauce from Malaysia)

Tarla Dalal (Yellow curry with vegetables from India)

We sure hope you come hungry!  See you Saturday September 28th at Spragins Hall!

Mayoral proclamation declares September 28th International Festival Day!

Thanks to a proclamation signed last month by Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, September 28, 2013 has officially been declared International Festival Day. The proclamation was issued in recognition of the joint efforts of The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) and the International Society of Huntsville (ISH) to “demonstrate, educate, and promote the many countries and cultures” of the city with its annual International Festival of North Alabama.

“The proclamation focuses on the impact that the international community in and around Huntsville has had on making this area a leader in the academic, economic, and technological fields,” says Dr. Belinda Ong, Director of Reference & Information Services at UAH’s M. Louis Salmon Library and President of the ISH. “It also acknowledges the way the international community of UAH has come together with the staff and faculty and the community at large to celebrate the diversity of the area and to promote understanding and appreciation of all it has to offer.”

In just the four years since its inception, the Festival has already grown from a small one-room gathering to a truly citywide effort, responsible for fostering cultural exchange and encouraging tolerance among area residents. And Dr. Ong says that, ultimately, she hopes to see it grow to become a regional international festival rivaling those of Birmingham and Mobile – a goal that the recent proclamation will help further.

Per the proclamation, this year’s family-friendly event will be held on Saturday, September 28, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Spragins Hall on the UAH campus. International cuisines from dozens of countries will be featured, and more than 3000 attendees are expected. Step Afrika!, one of the top ten African American dance companies in the nation, will also perform.

Open House 2013 Pictures

Thanks to everyone who made Fall Open House at Salmon Library a success!  Check out all our pictures from the event!

Couldn’t make it to the library for Open House and wish you could be eligible for a prize too?  Don’t forget- we have a photo contest going on until September 20th.  Take a creative picture at Salmon Library with the #SalmonLib13 on Facebook, Twitter, OR Instagram.  Our top 5 favorites will be getting a special prize!

Fall Open House 2013 at Salmon Library!

On Tuesday, September 10th from 11am-3pm we will have fun activities, free lunch, and the chance to win free prizes at Salmon Library!  Our large prize this year is a tablet!  All Faculty, Staff, Alumni of UAH are invited to participate in Open House.

**Participants in our Open House MUST follow us on either Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to find out if they have won any prizes!**  So don’t wait and become a fan of us today!

Don’t think you can come by the library on Tuesday?  Don’t worry, you can still register to win a prize by participating in our first ever Photo Contest!

We look forward to seeing you at the Salmon Library Fall Open House!

Salmon Library Photo Contest!

It’s simple, all you have to do is take a creative picture at Salmon Library on Tuesday September 10th during Open House (11am-3pm), post on Facebook, Twitter, OR Instagram with official hashtag #SalmonLib13 

If you can’t be here during Open House, we will be accepting picture submissions at #SalmonLib13 until September 20th.

We will be selecting our top 5 favorite pictures and giving out special prizes to the winners.  We look forward to seeing your photos!

Fourth Annual International Festival of North Alabama (iFest) 2013

HUNTSVILLE, ALA.:  Each fall, the International Society of Huntsville and UAHuntsville present the ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF NORTH ALABAMA (iFest)!

Our fourth year’s festivities will be held on Saturday, September 28th from 10:00 a.m. till 5:00 p.m. in the Gymnasium, Parking, and Sidewalk areas of Spragins Hall, 1070 Ben Graves Drive, NW on the UAHuntsville campus.

The iFest is a one-day, family-friendly spectacular―Open to the Public, with NO Admission Charge―and links with the Alabama Tourism Bureau’s “Year of Alabama Food” promotion.  Join us for:

  • 11:30 a.m. – On, West Parking Lot Area (Tent):  a $5 Sampling of International Comfort Foods―a festival favorite!  Savor such delights as Bœuf Bourguignon (France); Bulgogi (Korea); Tofu Pad Thai (Thailand); Satay Ayam (Malaysia); and Mupunga une Dovi (Zimbabwe)
  • 2:00 p.m. – On, Gymnasium Area:  International Dessert/Snack Samplings from many of the participating nations!  Examples include:  Chrusciki (Angel Wing Cookies), Strudel Jabłkowy (Apple Strudel), Sernik (Cheesecake), & Oranżada (Citrus Soft Drink)—Poland; Tiramisu & Espresso—Italy; Baklava—Turkey & Palestine; Anzak Biscuits (Rolled Oat/Coconut Cookies)—Australia; Zoolbia (Crunchy Persian Pastries) & Iranian Tea—Iran; Biscochitos(Sugar/Cinnamon Wedding Cookies)—Mexico; and Trung Nguyên (Deep-Roast, Heirloom Coffee)—Vietnam
  • All Day, West Parking Lot Area (Tent):  A wealth of Global Performances, from Folk Dance and Traditional Instrumentals to Ethnic Song and Martial Arts.  Expect to see such artists as:  Fitness Arts Center Irish Dancers (Traditional Step Dancing); The Little German Band (Waltz/Polka/Military/March Music from Austria & Germany); Center for Kuchipudi Art (Classical Dance from State of Andhra Pradesh, India); the UAH Salsa Club (Latin American Dance); and Heidi Kaeding (Ehru (Chinese Three-Stringed Instrument) Performance)
  • All Day, Gymnasium Area:  FREE, Hands-on Children’s Activities, ranging from: Making Boomerangs (Australia) to creating Flowers w/Caribbean Flag “Petals” (Caribbean Islands), crafting Crowns (British Isles), and a chance to write your name in Greek (Greece) and/or Kiss the Blarney Stone (Ireland)!
  • All Day, Gymnasium Area:  Transnational Table Displays featuring Cultural Artifacts, Flags, Travel/Historic Literature, Handicrafts, Native Apparel, Maps, Educational Videos, and so much more!
  • All Day, Front Sidewalk Area:  A Cutout (a.k.a. “Stand-In” or “Character Stand”) Lineup in Traditional Clothing, offering great photo ops!

For 2013, the iFest Spotlight Country is Colombia—watch for their showcase!  Our Featured Performers are Step Afrika!, a Washington-based “percussive dance troupe” sponsored by the UAHuntsville Office of Student Affairs and dedicated to the tradition of stepping and its use as an educational, motivational, and healthy tool.

Other campus organizations supporting the fest include the Student Government Association; Office of Diversity; Office of Advancement; M. Louis Salmon Library; Chinese Students and Scholars Association (CSSA); and the Indian Student Organization (ISO).

Though many of the school’s students and faculty assist in presenting the iFest, this extravaganza’s source of power comes from the volunteers within the North Alabama community, particularly those associated with transnational organizations.  Nations as diverse as Poland, Thailand, India, Ghana, Malaysia, Pakistan, Ireland, Australia, Nepal, Turkey, Panama, Egypt, Greece, and MORE (37 nations in all!) will be represented in 2013…and each year is bigger and better than the last.

For more information, visit or the ISH Facebook page, or contact Belinda Ong at (256) 824-6432 or  One can also visit the individual organizations’ websites and the iFest event page on Facebook.

Bring the entire family and join your friends and neighbors in celebrating the MOSAIC that is NORTH ALABAMA!

About the International Society of Huntsville…

The goal of the organization is “to bring diverse international citizens together for social interaction and cultural awareness in the general region of Huntsville, Alabama.”  It is the goal of the Society to establish a permanent International Festival (iFest) for Northern Alabama along the scale of those in Birmingham and Mobile.  You can follow them on Facebook.