A woman wears her traditional outfit at the International Street Festival in downtown Athens, Georgia.

Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) Heritage Month 

From March 15 to April 15, the University of Georgia will celebrate Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) Heritage Month. APIDA Heritage Month is a time to learn and celebrate cultures and histories of Americans with roots in Asia, the Pacific Islands, and the Indian subcontinent.  

The official observation of this month is in May. However, UGA observes it earlier so that all students can participate before the end of the school year. APIDA Heritage Month is a time to reflect on the challenges faced by the APIDA community, appreciate their contributions to society, and promote understanding and unity.  

In previous years, celebratory events have included fan dance workshops, cultural exchanges, international coffee hours, culture nights and more.  

Members of Shikaari, an all-female Bollywood fusion team, rehearse their dance pieces for their India Night performance. Photo taken by Dorothy Kozlowski. 

Joanna Yonathan, a fourth-year student at UGA, reflected on her fondest memories of celebrating APIDA Heritage Month at UGA.  

“[During my freshman year] I was excited to take initiative on celebrating our heritage month as it wasn’t recognized in my high school,” said Yonathan. “That was when the social media campaign, #ProudToBeAPIDA, was born.  

Students socialize at the International Coffee Hour 50th Anniversary Celebration. Photo taken by Dorothy Kozlowski. 

Anirudh Yadlapalli, a fourth-year mechanical engineering student at UGA, is the President for the UGA Indian Cultural Exchange. Yadlapalli is a First-Generation college student and has a South Asian ethnic background. He did not grow up in a community with people who shared his experiences and did not celebrate APIDA Heritage Month until his freshman year at UGA. Through his involvement in multicultural organizations, he was able to connect with others who shared similar experiences.  

“Taking the first step to get involved is always the hardest,” said Yadlapalli. “But it is also the most rewarding and impactful.” 

To learn more about APIDA 2024 Events, or to get involved with multicultural organizations, visit https://msp.uga.edu/

By Madison Imparato, Digital Marketing Assistant in the Division of Student Affairs