Food, market, cultural presentations highlight BenU’s annual Festival of Asia

December 30, 2014

Festival of Asia (pong)

Lisle, Illinois ~ Cooking demonstrations. Ping pong exhibition. Food. Art. Shopping. Colorful costumes. The Festival of Asia at Benedictine University brings a taste of the Far East to the Midwest.

Now in its eighth year of celebrating Asian culture, the annual Festival of Asia at Benedictine University will be held from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Friday, February 20, in the Krasa Student Center.

Born of a need to provide Chinese international students an opportunity to acknowledge their heritage, it has since grown into a popular community event showcasing the diverse culture and traditions of the University’s Asian population. The public is invited and encouraged to attend. Tickets must be purchased in advance at

The festival includes traditional Asian cuisine, performances and cultural exhibits representing China, India, Thailand and Vietnam. Visitors can play table tennis, learn how to make a dumpling, check out a cooking demonstration, enjoy a Joy Yeel smoothie and shop in an Asian-style market which features authentic clothing, jewelry and art.

“Benedictine is delighted to provide Asian students the opportunity to celebrate their cultural traditions with the local community while they are away from home,” said Elsie Yuan, executive director of International Programs and Services at Benedictine.

“The Festival of Asia is also about promoting cultural understanding by bringing people from diverse backgrounds together,” she added. “We encourage people to interact and learn from one another, which hopefully leads us to build a more connected and mindful world community.”

The celebration is also known for its performances, which in the past have included a martial arts show from the Illinois Shaolin Kung Fu school in Naperville and dance performances by the Ray Chinese School, which offers Chinese language, painting, dancing, music, chess and martial arts classes, cultural exchanges, sports and social activities.

Since the first Festival of Asia in 2008, the University has greatly expanded its Asia programs at home and overseas.

Today, there are Benedictine class sites in China and Vietnam serving approximately 500 students. U.S. students are annually awarded full and partial Chinese Government scholarships to study in China through the generous support of the Consulate-General of the People’s Republic of China in Chicago. Benedictine faculty members have also conducted research in China and every year the University hosts visiting scholars from the People’s Republic of China.

To prepare more students for an increasingly China-centric global community, two years ago Benedictine added a Chinese Language (Mandarin) minor with an option for a Chinese Culture track.

Sponsors include The Hyatt Lisle Hotel, Navistar, the Consulate-General of the People’s Republic of China in Chicago, Graphics Plus and Joy Yee Noodles.

Admission to the event is $20 per person, which includes a lunch and smoothie. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit or contact the Office of International Programs and Services at (630) 829-6354.


Benedictine University is located in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has a branch campus in Mesa, Arizona. Founded as a Catholic university in 1887, Benedictine enrolls more than 5,000 students in undergraduate and graduate programs. Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the eighth consecutive year in 2018. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission ( For more information, contact (630) 829-6300, or visit

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Trente Arens
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