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SIU International Flag Parade

Dozens of international students and faculty marched across the SIU Carbondale campus Monday to commence the 2019 SIUC International Festival.

CARBONDALE — Bearing the flags of their home countries, dozens of international students and professors marched through the Southern Illinois University Carbondale campus Monday, smiling, hugging and taking selfies.

SIU International Flag Parade 2

A participant takes a selfie during the SIU International Parade of Flags Monday on the SIU Carbondale campus.

The flag parade is a yearly reminder of the diversity of Southern Illinois and SIUC, which educates students from about 100 countries, according to Interim Chancellor John Dunn.

"A university cannot be a truly great university unless it's an international university," Dunn told students after the parade. "Thank you for sharing your cultures, your languages, your knowledge and who you are."

SIU International Flag Parade 2

Holding an Indonesian flag, participants take a selfie during the SIU International Parade of Flags, Monday, on the SIU Carbondale campus.

For Carbondale Mayor Mike Henry, who studied engineering at SIUC, the university provided his first real exposure to people of other ethnicities, religions and skin colors, he said, something he's extremely grateful for.

Some countries had just a single representative — Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and South Africa among them — while others, like the Panama contingent, were out in force, setting the march's pace with national cheers, songs and soccer chants.

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Dozens of international students and faculty marched across the SIU Carbondale campus Monday during the SIUC International Parade of Flags.

International students make up about 10 percent of the SIUC student body. They are especially important to the university's doctoral programs, earning 50 percent of all the Ph.D.s granted at SIUC.

The International Festival celebrations continue with the International Food Fair from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday at the SIU Student Center.

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Reporter

Gabriel Neely-Streit is a reporter for The Southern covering higher education.

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