Buffalo Without Borders celebrates diversity

Photos courtesy of IIB


The influx of people from around the globe into Buffalo has brought the city a new vibrancy, as well as an opportunity for residents to experience the traditions and cuisine that these cultures have to offer. You can explore the diversity bonanza at Buffalo Without Borderspresented by M&T Bank and the Sastri Family Foundation, Thursday October 23 from 6-9 PM at the Hotel @ The Lafayette, 391 Washington Avenue in downtown Buffalo.


Benefiting the International Institute of Buffalo (IIB)—a nonprofit dedicated to helping refugees and immigrants to become independent, informed and contributing members of the community, and to promoting and supporting cultural competence, multiculturalism and global connectedness throughout the region—Buffalo Without Borders will put the focus on global culture and food, including fare from Sun Restaurant, Pure Peru, and Taste of Africa, as well as cuisine from more than a dozen other countries, including Ethiopia, Burma, India, Jamaica, Ireland, and Sri Lanka.


Plus, new this year, Blue Table Chocolates is creating three specialty chocolates exclusively for the IIB inspired by refugees the organization has helped settle in Buffalo from Iraq, Bhutan, and Burma. Guests can sample the chocolates at the event and purchase more for loved ones (or themselves), with proceeds going to the IIB.


When deciding what to wear to this event, consider that guests will be treated to music and dance from around the world, including DJ Projex spinning world music, Hebrew Klezmer music by Ahavaraba, traditional Latin American music performed by Buffalo Tango Quartet, Bollywood dance, and Bhangra dance performed by University at Buffalo students. Dancing shoes are optional, but recommended.


Be sure to bring your holiday gift list and questions for the spirits because the Souk and Den of Prophesy is back this year. David Tiftickjian & Sons will transform one of the hotel ballrooms into an authentic Middle Eastern bazaar featuring henna tattoo artists, mystics, and handmade crafts from around the world including merchandise from West Side Bazaar, Global Villages, and El Buen Amigo, with ten percent of proceeds benefiting the IIB. And if you have a burning desire to know if you will find love, work, or your lost keys, seek out a fortuneteller for answers. Or maybe they’ll find you.


If your taste for foreign cultures is still not sated after all this, Buffalo Without Borders is debuting the third installment of the IIB’s Map for Adventurous Eaters, showcasing local ethnic restaurants and markets so you can continue to experience the excitement and adventure of Buffalo Without Borders throughout the year.


This year marks the start of IIB’s effort to collect the stories of immigrants and refugees the organization has served for 100 years through current clients and their descendants. The organization encourages locals to share their own cultural or immigrant stories, which will be a part of the International Institute’s Centennial Celebration set for 2018.


This event always sells out, so order your tickets ASAP. Tickets are available for $35 at iibuff.org/bwb


Food Vendors

Passport Wines - Global

Sun Restaurant - Thailand

Pure Peru - Peru

Lucy’s Ethiopian - Ethiopia

Caribbean Experience - Jamaica 

Rakapura Sushi - Burma

Wegman’s - Japan

Gelato Gypsy  - Italy

Blue Table Chocolates - Iraq, Bhutan, Burma

Taste of Africa - South Sudan

The Irishman - Ireland

Go Veggies - Sri Lanka

Bavarian Nut Company - Germany, Taiwan



Ahavaraba (Klezmer group) - Israel

Devi Bollywood Dance - India

Buffalo Tango Quartet - Argentina

Bhangra Dancers - India

Mbaya Rama Drummers - Africa

Amor and Heritage Dance Company - Latin America



Henna Artists - Middle East

Fortune Tellers - Various

El Buen Amigo - Latin America

Sew REDI (Canisus College program to assist refugee women) - Bhutan

Global Villages - Africa

David Tiftickjian and Sons - Persia

Zeytouna Olive Oils - Middle East

Stitch Buffalo (non profit assisting refugee women) - Burma

Moonlady Arts & Crafts - Burma

Julienne Boutique - West Africa

Gysma’s African Style - African, Sudan


Buffalo Without Borders celebrates diversity


Wendy Guild Swearingen is a frequent contributor to Spree.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.