Thursday, October 23, 2008


New York Center, Wagner College and the Mosaic Coalition Partner to Celebrate the Richness of SI’s Diversity through This CultureFest

Celebrate the Cultures of China, Russia, Sierra Leone, Egypt and Native Americans

Grab your children and travel the world with them without ever having to leave Staten Island!

Attend Celebrate Diversity 2008!

Wagner College Gym
Sunday afternoon, 2-6 pm
November 9, 2008

Looking for an opportunity for your family to experience other cultures and all the wonderful things about them? Stop by November 9th from 2 to 6 p.m. and join the Mosaic Coalition, the New York Center for Interpersonal Development (New York Center), and Wagner College in the Wagner College gym to Celebrate Diversity.

What is Celebrate Diversity 2008!
An annual event, this free, fun-filled family celebration is designed to help strengthen respect and understanding among the different cultures that call Staten Island their home. This year’s Celebrate Diversity event will highlight the cultures of China, Russia, Sierra Leone, Egypt and Native American neighbors.

Children and their families will be able to travel from country to country by visiting their “marketplace” area with a “passport”. After learning a few facts about these five cultures, their passports will be “officially” stamped and they will receive a free t-shirt. There will also be a diversity-themed puppet show for the younger attendees.

In addition to sampling foods from these countries, you and your family will be entertained with music and dance performances from these cultures. An awards ceremony for students who entered essay and banner contests focusing on their cultural roots will also be held during the day.

Honor These Community Leaders
In addition to honoring several cultures at this event, individuals from each of these cultures will be honored to acknowledge the important contributions they have made to our community. Each culture chose its own honoree.

The honorees are: Mr. Chuan Teng (China), Arkadiy Fridman (Russia), Ahmed D. Kargbo (Sierra Leone), the Red Storm Drum & Dance Troupe (Native Americans), and Dr. Samy F. Rizk (Egypt) and Christine Moore (Egypt).

Mr. Chuan Teng (of Huguenot) is a much-collected master calligrapher and retired economist who has devoted much of his retirement to serving the Chinese community on Staten Island. Born in China in 1934, he grew up in the north of Guangtung and lived in Taiwan before moving to the United States in 1961. He and his family have lived on Staten Island for more than 35 years.

Chuan learned the basic elements of Chinese calligraphy when he was six years old from his father who was a poet and master calligrapher. Chuan won many prizes in calligraphy throughout his school years.

After undergraduate school in Taiwan, he earned a master’s degree in Economics from Ohio University and worked as a financial system analyst serving companies such as Young and Rubicam and Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Throughout his career he practiced calligraphy an hour or two every night. His works are now collected and displayed in many homes in the local Chinese community. He has passed along his love of the art by teaching classes at the Staten Island Chinese School ( located at IS 73) and at the New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden in Snug Harbor.

No stranger to politics, Mr. Teng served as the president of the Chinese American Voter’s Association of Staten Island in 1987. He co-founded the Asian America Coalition of Staten Island, a political action group.

Mr. Teng has been married to his wife Charlene for 38 years and has a son, Michael, who works as news producer at CBS in Manhattan; a daughter, Michelle, who teaches PS 22 on Staten Island, and a grandson, Alexander, 10, and granddaughter, Lily, 5.

Arkadiy Fridman (of Dongan Hills) is president of the Staten Island Community Center. He was born in the Soviet Union in 1957. He attended the Hi-Military Academy and served in executive positions in the army until 1990. In 1991, he left the army and opened one of the first private companies in the former Soviet Union.

In 1993, he immigrated to the United States. After working in retail he decided to gather the people and resources to open a community center to serve Staten Islanders. In 2004, the beautiful building he worked so hard to build opened as a not-for-profit organization focusing on cultural, educational, and social improvements for Staten Island and the greater New York Community.

This year the NY State Assembly awarded the Staten Island Community Center, a non-profit organization under Russian-American leadership, a $4M grant for the expansion of its services.

Red Storm Drum & Dance Troupe was founded in 2002 as a Native American education performance group. The core members are: Founding member and Drum Keeper Robert Boldeagle, founding member and organizer Margie Boldeagle, and secretary and web master Ivette Alequin. Performing members are Robin Rivera, Red Thunder, Allie Bowman, and SunWolf. The members are from many different Native American cultures.

TheRed Storm Drum & Dance Troupe brings the beauty and understanding of the Native American culture to the public through drumming, dancing, music, story telling and sharing the history of Native Americans.

Red Storm Drum & Dance Troupe believes that through participation comes a greater understanding of the culture. Thus their performances always involve the audience in a gathering dance or by playing a part in their stories.

The Troupe has performed in many schools, public venues, and pow-wows in and out of New York State. They also host pow-wows open to the public here on Staten Island.

Ahmed D. Kargbo (of Mariners Harbor) is the current President of United States-Sierra Leonean Association (USSLA) Inc., in Staten Island. Under his leadership, this new organization is registered and incorporated, and in the process of securing it’s 501 (c) 3 status. He is also an executive board member of the Black Heritage Festival and led his organization in the first Annual Black Heritage Festival in 2007.

Mr. Kargbo was born in the West African country of Sierra Leone. He is the fourth of six siblings (four boys and two girls), and grew up in the midst of many cousins and nephews. He was born in a Muslim family and has maintained his religious practices.

Since childhood, Ahmed wanted to serve in the uniformed services. In the late 1980’s, he joined one of his older sisters in Germany. After seeing the United States Armed Forces stationed there his desire for the uniform grew even stronger.

In the early 90’s, Ahmed came to the United States and settled in Alexandria VA. In January of 1996, he enlisted in the US Marines where he served for eight years until his medical discharge in 2004.

Mr. Kargbo works as a Licensed Practical Nurse and has now earned a two year degree in Information Technology (IT). He is currently enrolled in an IT program at City Technical College in Brooklyn.

Mr. Kargbo has been working closely with other Island leaders to foster stronger community relationships. He balances that by reminding his team about the work they need to do for their less fortunate countrymen in Sierra Leone.

Dr. Samy F. Rizk (of Morris Plains, NJ) serves as a model for many young Egyptian youth. He has a medical degree from Ain Shams University Medical College and has worked as an anesthesiologist in Egypt, England, and several institutions in the United States including the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and the Memorial Sloane Kettering Cancer Center.

Dr. Rizk has many achievements and awards including receiving the North London Group of Anesthetists’ Steri-seal prize in 1975 and publishing medical work\discoveries in his field.

Christine Moore (of Manhattan) is a soprano opera singer. She has performed in operas and concerts throughout the United States and Europe including playing Mimi in La Boheme with the Leipzig Opera and Madama Butterfly with the Central City Opera. Christine is a faculty member at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music where she teaches voice, vocal performance and opera workshop.

Born and raised in Sacramento, California she is the daughter of an Egyptian mother from Cairo and an American father. She spends a great deal of her time working in the Arab- American community in New York City serving as board secretary of the Arab- American Family Support Center and a board member of the New York Chapter of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination committee.

Join the Mosaic Coalition

“Celebrate Diversity” is part of the Mosaic Coalition, a coalition of Staten Island community organizations that have come together to increase respect and understanding among the diverse groups that populate our Island through dialogue, study, reflection and play. The Mosaic Coalition kicked off in 2002 with a community forum and several study circles. The Celebrate Diversity event grew out of a request from the study circle participants to offer a broad group of Staten Islanders the opportunity to participate. The Mosaic Coalition has therefore been very active in mobilizing diverse groups of people to work together in planning this event.

The New York Center for Interpersonal Development (NYCID) provides youth, community, and professional development programs, and dispute resolution services that educate and inform about constructive problem solving, effective communication, violence prevention, and intercultural awareness. It also operates a training institute to teach these skills to others. NYCID also administers the Community Dispute Resolution Center Program providing mediation and arbitration services in many of our local courts. This program is a court-approved alternative to criminal prosecution, civil litigation, and other traditional avenues for resolving conflict.

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