International New Year’s Celebration – an Unforgettable Evening

About 400 students, lecturers and staff of the University of Kassel from nearly 60 countries followed the Welcome Centre’s invitation to the International New Year’s Celebration 2015. The event took place at the “Weinkirche”, charmingly set ablaze with the university’s corporate colour.

1.Vero 1

2.Group 2

3.Monica 1

4.Group 3

5.Amantia 1

6.Misato 1

7.Group 4

© liebschuh

Rebecca Möller, Thomas Höhl and Martin Kalitschke, a fantastic student combo from the Music institute, welcomed all guests with music, while they were served a glass of sparking whine and delicious snacks. Mrs Marion Schomburg, head of the Department of Studies and Teaching officially opened the New Year’s Celebration before bestowing the DAAD Award 2014 to Ms María Verónica Romanowski from Argentina. Prof. Christoph Scherrer had nominated the master student of Global Political Economy for both her academic achievement and her social as well as intercultural commitment.

The role as ‘master of ceremonies’ was taken on by our dear colleague Jesús Pineda, who skilfully led through the versatile and intercultural evening, which commenced with a contribution from the Welcome Centre team: Jana Brakel, Selma Mergner, Martina Schmitt, Daniel Kater (all from Germany), Nils Chikh Mohamed (Syria) and Khalil Seddiki (Tunesia) performed a mock-version of the Brothers’ Grimm tale Cinderella. Following this, our guests enjoyed Emel Kasim’s (Turkey/Jordan) singing and guitar sounds. For the first time, the International New Year’s Celebration also boasted two impressive art exhibits: 12 photographic images and 6 aquarelles from Amantia Simixhiu invited viewers to a journey through her mother country Albania. Moreover, Misato Nishio (Japan), an exchange student at the School of Art and Design, put on display 12 impressive portraits drawn with Chinese ink and acrylic pigment. The programme continued in front of the stage with a Bollywood dancing performance by Monika Balachandran from India, which really carried the audience away. Thanks to their beautiful Indian gowns, she and her fellow students from Witzenhausen attracted much attention. Just for the record: some guests followed the organisers’ request and wore country-specific clothing. As a result, people got to see not only traditionally Africa and Asian attire but also some fair maidens wearing Dirndl dresses as well as a young man in Lederhosen. A further contribution to the programme was Sevim Ayazoglu‘s (Germany) interpretation of Satellite, the song which won Lena Meyer Landrut the Euro Vision Song Contest in 2010. Afterwards Gunnar Mikalsen from Norway entertained the audience with songs and music from his banjo. Subsequently, Bahareh Mirzahamedani and Ladan Hamedanian performed the gorgeous “Baba Karam” dance from their mother country Iran. Victor Okorie (Nigeria), expressing his love for British Soul music, made the audience sing along with his emotional account of famous songs such as Stay with me from Sam Smith, Thinking out Loud from Ed Sheeran and Angels from Robbie Williams. Later on, Rebecca Möller, who was as enthusiastic about Victor Okorie’s performance as the audience, invited him onto the stage for a duet. As a last point of the cultural programme, Carmen Mureşan, Denisa Steiper (both from Romania), Florian Steiper (Germany) and Constantin Colun (Republic of Moldova) presented the Romanian folk dance “Brașoveanca”. After a couple of minutes, the whole Welcome Centre team joined in, who after some time of dancing, in turn asked bystanders to take part. What ensued was a flash mob which in fact involved almost everyone present in the room – “just like at a Romanian festival”, as the dancers reavealed.

Finally, the student combo from the beginning went back on stage, marking the end of the official programme with lots of amazing intercultural contributions, before handing over the ‘musical responsibilities’ to DJ Einaudi Spychalski. He then made sure that the party continued until morning hours.

Jörg Kempe from the Kasseler Sparkasse Sales Management captured the highlights on video and also organized a photo corner, which enjoyed great popularity. There, Olga Holzschuh, a master-class student from the School of Art and Design, took professional photographs of all those interested. Images and videos are available on the website

The Welcome Centre gives thanks to all contributors and guests for this unforgettable evening and wishes everybody a successful and exciting year 2015!

Daniel Kater, 02-02-2015

Translated by Christopher Neumann