MESA Hosts First Taste of the Middle East Event


Pia Fischetti/The Fordham Ram

The Middle Eastern Student Association held an event at which students could try various middle eastern foods.

Patricia Whyte, Contributing Writer

Fordham University’s Middle Eastern Student Association (MESA) hosted its first annual Taste of the Middle East food event on Friday, Nov. 8. The event, held in the McGinley Center, featured a buffet of Middle Eastern food, as well as appearances from performance groups on campus.

This was the club’s first annual event, as this is their second year in operation, but first as an official university club. Miar Hamido, FCRH ’20, said Taste of the Middle East was its first big opportunity to make its presence as a cultural club more widely known on campus.

“The goal of [the event] was definitely first, I want them to know what MESA is as an association,” Hamido said. “And second, I wanted them to embrace the culture, the different foods.”

The event showcased both catered and homemade foods from several Middle Eastern countries such as Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon and Palestine. Arabic music played as over 150 students filed into the commons to eat and socialize.

Later in the evening, students enjoyed performances from a capella group The Ramblers and dance group, Candela Latina. The all-male a capella group performed Jason Mraz’s “I Won’t Give Up” and The Backstreet Boys’ “I Want It That Way,” after which the Latin dance group showcased two of their dance routines.

Last spring, MESA held its first Middle Eastern Festival, which Hamido said the club plans on hosting again this year. As the festival is more entertainment-based, the club also wanted to create an event focused around food.

MESA member Steven Gomez, FCRH ’22, said he hopes the club continues to grow in the future and can host Taste of the Middle East every year.

“If this were annual, that’d be insane to get this amount of people and this much support,” Gomez said. “Next semester, we’re having the festival, which they did last year, and hopefully we can get this many people or more just so they can get to know a little bit about the Middle East.”

This year marks its first year as an official university club, after being approved by USG last semester. According to Hamido, some students wanted to build a community for Middle Eastern students and those who stand in solidarity with the Middle East. Some students also wanted to have a space apart from the Muslim Students Association, as not all Middle Eastern students are Muslim.

“We want to spread the word about MESA more so that not only do people come to the events, but they also come to the meetings,” Hamido said. “It’s the Middle Eastern Students Association but that doesn’t mean it’s just for Middle Eastern Students. It’s multicultural. The whole point of the club is that people that aren’t Middle Eastern know about us. We want people of different ethnicities, cultures, backgrounds to get to know the culture.”

Mathiew Chen, FCRH ’21, had never been to a MESA event before but decided to come to Taste of the Middle East after hearing about the event through a friend.

“I had a blast, honestly,” said Chen. “The food was great, all the performances, it’s all a good time. I would definitely come to more [events], especially if I had the time.”