Celebrate! Plenty of Events Planned for International Education Week

Week will finish with a taste of many countries at annual International Cook-off

Kent State University is offering five days of events to celebrate International Education Week this week, culminating with Friday’s popular International Cook-off, which offers a taste of many nations to all. 

International Education Week is a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State, and the U.S. Department of Education to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn and exchange experiences. It is celebrated in more than 100 countries worldwide. 

This year’s theme, “International Education Is the Future,” explores the many ways that international education is driving us into the future. 

At Kent State, colleges and departments have compiled an extensive list of events to mark the week, from learning about education-abroad experiences to understanding the legalities of work visas. 

Click here for a full list of the week's events.

Headshot of Salma Benhaida
Salma Benhaida

“International Education Week is a nationwide celebration. It is an opportunity for Kent State University to highlight the value of international education and exchange by bringing together the campus community and the local community through various programming events,” said Salma Benhaida, Kent State’s director of International Recruitment, Admissions and Sponsored Student Services for the Office of Global Education. 

Benhaida noted that her favorite event of the week is the International Cook-off, in which teams of students from several nations compete in a large public event, offering free food samples of their country’s cuisines.

"We look forward to celebrating International Education Week every year as an opportunity to showcase the strong international programs we have at Kent State," said Sarah Malcolm, executive director of the Office of Global Education. "International Education Week is an annual opportunity to bring together students, faculty, and staff to celebrate international programs at Kent State."

Malcolm said events this week will showcase more than 30 international programs at Kent State and she hopes that many will take the opportunity to join the celebration and learn about all that Kent State has to offer. The cook-off, she said, is a signature event for her office. 

“International students look forward to participating and attending the event each year,” she said. “It represents an opportunity to bring together people from around the world and establish community using food as a starting point for conversations and connections.” 

The event has been happening for many years and many international students often hear about the cook-off even before arriving at Kent State and come ready to form a team, Malcolm said. 

Sarah Malcolm, executive director for the Office of Global Education at Kent State University.
Sarah Malcolm

Several hundred students, faculty, staff and their families attend the annual cook-off, which this year takes place from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday in the Kent Student Center Ballroom. The event is free and open to the public and offers a wide variety of international cuisine. 

Team Sri Lanka took first place honors at the 2022 cook-off, with its dish of milk rice with cashew curry and chicken, along with ginger tea to drink. Last year’s event marked the first time two teams from sub-Saharan Africa – Rwanda and Nigeria – entered the competition, reflecting Kent State’s growing relations in that region, which are resulting in new groups of international students on campus.  

Watch the highlights of the 2022 cook-off: 


Kent State is known for its broad international presence and is the recipient of the 2022 Senator Paul Simon Award for Comprehensive Internationalization from NAFSA: Association of International Educators.

International Student Cook-off
POSTED: Monday, November 13, 2023 01:47 PM
Updated: Tuesday, November 14, 2023 03:24 PM
Lisa Abraham