The Quinnipiac Chronicle | Around the world in one night: Quinnipiac’s International Business Society hosts annual dinner

Clicking heels, different conversations and smooth jazz reverberated around Burt Kahn Court as empty bellies entered the room ready for dinner on November 2.

Quinnipiac University’s International Business Society has held its annual dinner since 2000 to raise money for Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services, a New Haven-based nonprofit organization dedicated to helping newcomers to the United States.

The IB Diner served food inspired by places around the world through local businesses such as Ixtapa Grille, Bangkok Boulevard and China Chef. Tickets were $8 per person, and the event raised just under $1000.

IBS President Joseph Coverly, a junior international business and computer information systems double major, was appropriately the first speaker of the night. Coverly said that he organized the event with high hopes as the organization more than 70 tickets.

“I truly believe I have one of the best e-boards at Quinnipiac,” Coverly said. “I put them in the press and they came out on top.”

Coverly, a Navy veteran and co-manager of the student-run On the Rocks Pub, added running this event to his resume, but not without the help of his peers.

“That dinner could have been a major stressor in my life,” Coverly said. “It was a joy to plan because of how much my e-board had my back.”

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After the event, School of Business dean Holly Raider said she is proud of her students because of nights like these.

“The very best of business people find the win-wins,” Raider said. “The only way you can do that is to understand people’s perspectives.”

Chris George, executive director of IRIS, spoke after Coverly in the opening remarks. He educated the crowd about the work of the organization and the strong connections and relationships he has made. He put one of those connections in the spotlight as he invited guest speaker Bashir Watandost, a refugee from Afghanistan, who now works as an employment services specialist with IRIS.

In a moving story of family abandonment and political distress, Watandost left an impression on the crowd.

“I just want to say (the Americans), just think about Afghanistan or refugees, if you were in their shoes, what would you feel?” Watandost told the Chronicle. “I want to ask Americans to help the refugees as much as you can.”

Bashir Watandost, an Afghan refugee, spoke at the International Business Dinner about his new life in the United States as a member of Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services. (Aidan Sheedy)

Watandost said he was forced out by the Taliban and had to leave his wife and family behind. Watandost emotionally describes his new life to everyone in the crowd.

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Watandost said in his speech: “I am here and I am American. We are here doing great (work) for my people, for everyone, and we have people like Chris George to thank.”

After loud applause, the moment everyone was waiting for arrived. It was time to eat. There were more than 20 dishes lined up at each end of the court, giving attendees more than enough options to choose from.

Nursing sophomore Isabella Chambers said she ate a little bit of everything, including some dishes she had never even heard of.

“My favorite part was getting to try all the different foods,” Chambers said. “It was really cool, because there was some food there I had never eaten before.”

This night saw a lot of unique cuisine. Chambers said he tried a samosa for the first time, a deep-fried, cone-shaped savory appetizer from Cumin India in Hamden. But there was another element-Irish step dancing.

As an annual tradition, the IBS invites the Quinnipiac Irish dance team to perform during dinner. Chambers said he was surprised at what clubs can do on the floor.

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“It just looks like they’re flying in the air,” Chambers said. “They were very skilled, and it was kind of crazy to see how much they could do in such a short amount of time.”

Mohammad Elahee, professor of international business and IBS advisor, said the goal of this event was to create awareness of international issues, culture and the world outside the United States through cuisine.

“Everything is global,” Elahee said. “Every business is an international business. Our students must know how to compete against competition from other countries.”

Elahee said it’s these types of programs that improve students’ global perspective as they head into the future of business.

“This shows that our students are engaged global citizens and care about society,” Elahee said. “Quinnipiac (helps) students become more well-rounded people.”

Raider said these types of events enhance education for students.

“I think one of the things that gets in the way of good ideas … is the inability to take on other people’s perspectives,” Raider told the Chronicle. “It’s when you can see the world through multiple alternative lenses that new and different solutions can present themselves.

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