I think that one of the biggest misconceptions about GlobalFest is that the whole premise of the organization is around just putting on a firework show. Many people that I talked to about GlobalFest would ask verbatim “Oh that’s the fireworks thing, right?” Before joining this organization, I also thought that; however, I quickly learned that there are a multitude of projects that happen annually.

The mission of GlobalFest is to celebrate, showcase, and promote Calgary’s ethnocultural diversity while simultaneously strengthening the community. Methods include not only pyrotechnic displays but also through food, cultural pavilions, live performance stages, as well as events outside the festival through Reaching Out. The Reaching Out initiative was launched by GlobalFest in 2021 with the main goal of assisting in connecting with potential corporate partners. Within this initiative, several programs seek to strengthen the community and embrace multiculturalism including the YLOT Program and GlobalFest Groves.

The Youth Leaders of Tomorrow (YLOT) Program allows young professionals to access an environment where senior staff can actively train them and help them gain the competencies needed to compete in today’s workforce.

GlobalFest Groves helps to strengthen the community from an environmental and social position. From a social aspect, GlobalFest works with community partners to bring together Calgarians for fun and exciting activities, performances, and food trucks. In terms of the environmental aspect, GlobalFest plans to utilize the Groves initiative to build or renew up to five community spaces over the next five years and is exploring opportunities to create environmental offsets.

Another aspect is the Human Rights Forum. Dating back to 2007, this forum has been apart of GlobalFest’s mandate to promote diversity, cross-cultural respect, and equality within the community. This forum is not afraid to discuss topics that can be otherwise difficult to digest, in the hopes of increasing awareness and acknowledgement of everyone’s experiences.

Before my hiring, I had a very surface-level understanding of the work being done in this organization. With the knowledge that there are many people out there who had the same preconception of GlobalFest, I feel as though it is part of my duty to inform people that it is much more than just a firework show. GlobalFest is a community builder and a platform for cultural groups to share their identities and traditions with all Calgarians.

Taiyo Erskine | Marketing and Communications Coordinator