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OU International Advisory Committee approaches annual pageant with inclusive mindset

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iac pageant

An event graphic for the International Advisory Committee's 2020 OU International Pageant.

The OU International Advisory Committee (IAC) will hold its annual International Pageant on Feb. 6, with this year’s event taking steps to become more inclusive of all students in OU’s international community.

The pageant will be held in the Meacham Auditorium at the Oklahoma Memorial Union. The doors will open at 6:30 p.m., and the pageant is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Admission is free and more information is available on the pageant’s Facebook page.

Youssef Kamel, IAC president and international area studies and religious studies senior, said the committee is continuing a campus-wide trend of removing gendered titles from awards — such as homecoming’s nomination of homecoming royalty rather than king and queen, and the replacement of Big Man/Woman on campus with the OU Campus Life Award.

The winners of the IAC pageant will be recognized as “Future Faces of OU International,” Kamel said.

“As far as I know, we are the very first on-campus pageant (to remove gendered titles),” Kamel said. “We are being more gender-inclusive, getting rid of heteronormativity and trying to just be open to everyone — this is a huge step for us.”

Kamel said the pageant will feature eight international students representing eight different nations. Each contestant will showcase aspects of their country’s culture through events including a fashion show and a talent portion displaying individual skills. 

Contestants will also speak with attendees about their current roles in OU’s international community and future leadership positions they hope to attain to benefit the community, Kamel said.

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