The event drew 200 guests, featured artwork by French artist Yarek Godfrey, who was visiting the Cleveland area. Iraqi refugee Ahmed Ghareeb shared his calligraphy work and wrote out guest names in Arabic. Jeanette Rosa and Lyseet Mariella Taipe displayed cultural treasures from Peru.
Entertainment included Russian dances by Ken Kovach and company while Lisa Cooper-Wheeler drew the crowd in with a twist on the Indian folk dance, bhangra masala. The grassroots organization began last year after the successful event that brought together 500 people from all walks of life to the city’s center to enjoy ethnic food, network and grow partnerships.
Building on the success of its inaugural diversity celebration, this year event focused on local startups, entrepreneurs and artists. Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson, co-hosted the event and congratulated the WIN-Board for their contributions to making Cleveland a better and more welcoming city. He said the work that is done daily by individuals and organization adds-up to the cumulative success of the city.
During the VIP reception with WIN-Cleveland Board members Mayor Jackson was presented with the Cleveland’s Diversity Tapestry. Created by Arooj Ashraf, WIN Board Member, the painting features the skyline of Cleveland formed as a puzzle that is bordered with 119 national flags of countries represented in the Greater Cleveland population. The Diversity Tapestry was created to celebrate the region’s multicultural riches, and its welcoming nature. Few missing puzzle pieces symbolize the region is still growing and inviting more people who will bring and add to the vibrant diversity.
Eduardo Romero, WIN Board Chair encouraged attendee to see themselves as Ambassadors of the fresh water regions and market it globally. “The world has shrunk, and its times to say Cleveland- it’s a beautiful place, we having inviting people, we have wonderful resources, come here and make your home here,” he said.
Romero noted the networking and friendships that formed during 2010’s event resulted in stronger work relationships and even drew two international companies to Cleveland.
WIN-Cleveland has supported many non-profit and cultural organizations through the year in effort to encourage diverse attended and appreciation. In June, the organization hosted an International Arts Show & Bazaar that featured 28 local artists representing 14 countries.
WIN-Cleveland is developing a Diversity Scholarship and Education Fund and will be announcing scholarship opportunities in spring. Funds raised during the event will contribute to the fund. Organizations and individuals interested in supporting WIN’s mission are encouraged to contact the organization at [email protected]
Visit the website at www.win-cleveland.org and join the facebook fanpage for updates and future events.