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Banquet to highlight diversity, awareness

Nov. 4, 2010

By Jade Mardirosian
Staff Writer

Saturday the Asian Students Association will host its annual banquet, with the publisher and co-editor of Giant Robot magazine present as guest speaker.

Eric Nakamura was chosen based on his prominence as an artist and expert in Asian-American popular culture.

Giant Robot is a lifestyle magazine that features Asian and Asian-American pop culture, movie stars, musicians and toys.

Deer Park senior Connie Tang, external vice president for the organization, describes the magazine as being the first of its kind to spotlight Asian and Asian-Americans like Jackie Chan before they were famous.

Tang said the organization was looking to find an innovative and interesting person to feature at the event.

Nakamura will speak about cultural authenticity and will discuss how the media, toys and other products from Asia have translated over to Asian-American culture.

Houston senior Gia Pangindian is the public relations officer for the Asian Students Association. Pangindiansaid Nakamura was chosen for his expertise and innovation in his field.

"Mr. Nakamura created the very first Asian-American magazine that became very popular," Pangindian said. "What we like to do is to find a speaker that can talk about some sort of interesting cultural aspect that we can relate to. We as an organization want to know more about how Asian-Americans are doing today."

The banquet is part of the sixth annual AsianFest, which celebrates Asian and Asian American pop culture, and will take place Friday and Saturday on campus.

"What is really exciting is the speakers we bring," Pangindian said. "It is an opportunity to learn about a culture that is still applicable today. Anyone can come to the banquet and listen and learn something that can still apply to them whether they are Asian or not."

Members of the Asian Students Association hope that Baylor students of all cultural backgrounds will attend the banquet.

"Students who attend are meeting a really great Asian-American figure," Tang said. "The more exposure students can gain of other cultures will give them a broader perspective and better outlook on life."

Pangindian adds that in attending the banquet and learning about another culture, students will potentially gain good practical knowledge and personal enrichment.

Katy senior Eddie Seto, president of the organization, cites a rapidly globalizing world as further reason students should inform themselves on cultures other than their own.

"I think the whole world now is just so globalized, and many students are going to have to do business with people in other countries," Seto said. "It is better to have a good and accepting background of other cultures and other cultural values. This helps to makes people more aware of how other cultures function and what values they have."

Seto explains that the goals of the Asian Students Association include raising awareness in the Baylor community.

"We are a social organization on campus and are here to promote unity and diversity within the Asian and Asian-American culture," Seto said.

The banquet will take place Saturday in the Barfield Drawing Room at the Bill Daniel Student Center and will include dinner catered from Pei Wei.

Admission is $10 for Baylor students and $15 for Baylor faculty and staff and members of the Waco community.

Tickets for the banquet are available at the Baylor Ticket Office in the Bill Daniel Student Center.