Photo Essay: 2017 International Nights, UH Hilo students showcase their cultures

The annual International Nights is the time of year when all eyes are focused on the many cultures and international students represented at UH Hilo.

Photos by Bob Douglas.

The University of Hawai‘i at Hilo hosted the annual International Nights on Feb. 10 and 11, 2017. Each year, the UH Hilo International Student Association produces a two-night show that features dance performances from the many different cultures and countries represented at UH Hilo. International Nights is a long-standing tradition at the university that spans over three decades, and is a favorite event on campus among students, the community and visitors.

Performers volunteer their time, a testament to the willingness of UH Hilo’s international students to share their cultures with others.

Jim Mellon
Jim Mellon

The event is headed by Jim Mellon, executive director of global and intercultural education programs.

“The shows are a celebration of the vibrancy and diversity of cultures that make UH Hilo such a special place,” says Mellon. “It provides a platform for students from around the world to express and showcase their cultures, and for people to learn about other parts of the world.”

He adds, “International Nights is a time of year when all eyes are focused on the many cultures and international students represented at UH Hilo, who contribute so much in so many ways to student life on campus and in the community.”

Photos are arranged in order of appearance during the two-night event. Click photos to enlarge.


Hula halau in brown, red, yellow
Hālau I Ka Leo Ola O Nā Mamo: “‘O Hawai‘i Ku‘u Kulāiwi”


Dancers in white gauzy material, wearing berets and ballet slippers.
French à la Carte: “Vive la Resemblance!”



Dancing in off white costume, tai chi poses.
Nicole Smith: “Contemporary Freestyle Tai Chi”



Group dancing with bamboo poles, all in black with colorful kerchiefs.
The Bayanihan Club: “Traditional Dances of the Philippines”


Taishoji Taiko: “Seishunjidai”

Yap, Federated States of Micronesia

Very colorful group of dancers with bamboo sticks, colorful skirts.
Wa’ab Student Organization: “Gamel” (Yapese Bamboo Dance)



Male dancers with red costume, gesturing up, shell lei, grass fringe on legs, some in headdress.
Tupulaga O Samoa Mo A Taeao: “O lupe sa vao eseese, a ua fuifui fa‘atasi” (“No matter where you’re from, Samoa will always be united as one”)


Young women dancing in white tops and brown fringey skirts, lei.
Big Island Kiribati Club


Female dancers in line, wearing green and black, holding hands
Spirit of Ireland: “Hawai‘i Irish Dance”

Kosrae, Federated States of Micronesia

Group of male and female dancers in botanical skirts and headdresses, men are tossing sticks between themselves.
Kosrae Hilo Organization: “Green Hills and Sra Lo Tol”


Single female dancer in purple and green, twirling.
Big Island Desi: “Indian Fusion Dance”

Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia

Male dancers in leaf skirts holding long sticks.
Chuukese Student Association


Men and women dancing in leaf skirts. Women have flower in hair over right ear.
Ngelekel Belau Club


United States of America

Large group of men and women dancing in modern black and white garb, white shoes.
INT Dance Squad: “Two Worlds”

Marshall Islands

Group of men and women, black pants and skirts respectively, women orange tops, men blue, gesturing arms out while dancing.
Marshallese Iakwe Club: “Biit Dance”

About the photographer: Bob Douglas is a local artist, photographer, and sometimes part-time student who volunteers his photography skills to the Office of the Chancellor and UH Hilo Stories. 

-UH Hilo Stories

Share this story