Friday, December 11, 2015

Fall 2015 Flag Dedication Ceremony Highlights

By Maura Sullivan


The UAF Flag dedication ceremony has been a tradition at the Fairbanks campus for many years, and promotes diversity and international connections. The flags that hang in the Wood Center show the diversity of the student body at UAF. For each international student or exchange student, a flag is hung to represent their home country. On November 20th, we heard from four speakers; the Director of the International Programs, Donna Anger , the ISO president and two of our international students. Our two students that spoke for their flag dedication were from Denmark and Jordan.

The Danish student, Peter Ladefoged, told the story of how the Danish flag came to be what it is today. The most popular legend is that on the field of battle with Estonians in 1219, the Danish were losing, but after praying to God, a flag fell from the sky and the Danes went on to win the battle. The flag is called the Dannebrog, and is the oldest continuously used national flag in the world.


The white cross represents Christianity, and the red stands for the battle and bloodshed where it appeared.

The second student we heard from is Ala’a Mutawe, a degree seeking student from Jordan. She presented a slideshow about the beautiful sites of her home country, and gave us a wonderful introduction to her culture. She was wearing her traditional Jordanian dress, that had the most amazingly intricate beading. She explained that though they have a similar style dress in other Middle Eastern Countries, you could tell the difference by the pattern of the beading. She also served some delicious black spiced coffee that had cardamom in it, which is one of the essential spices for Jordanian cooking. The black, red and white bands represent the three caliphs: Abbasid, Umayyad and Fatimid. The red chevron is for the Hashemite dynasty, and the seven pointed star signifies the unity of the Arab people and seven verses for the first surah in the Qur’an.


The third flag to be dedicated was the flag from Greenland, but unfortunately the student was not able to make it. The local name in the Greenlandic language is Erfalasorput, which means ‘our flag’, and has been used as the national flag for 20 years. It is the only Nordic country to not use a cross on their flag. Because Greenland is part of the Kingdom of Denmark, they use red and white of the Danish flag. The colors represent the white of the snow and the red of the sun. The circle in the middle represents the rising and setting sun.


Here are some pictures taken at the event: 
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UAF's International Student Organization (ISO) leading the ceremony.

Danish exchange student Peter Ladefoged speaking about his flag.

Jordanian student Ala'a Mutawe, dressed in a traditional Jordanian dress, speaks about her flag.

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