Menlo Expected To Hold Global Expo for the First Time in Three Years


Pete Zivkov

In the Latin America section of the Global Expo, a few of the parent volunteers for Mexico make cups of chips and guacamole to represent Mexican cuisine. Photo courtesy of Pete Zivkov.

Sophia Hinshaw, Staff Writer

The Menlo Global Expo will be held on April 24 in the gym for a chance to share and explore the rich diversity at Menlo, as decreasing COVID-19 restrictions allow the event to occur for the first time since 2019. Parents, students and faculty come together to showcase country booths, foods and art from their countries at the event.

Menlo started hosting the Global Expo, formerly the International Fair, 12 years ago, according to Usha Nesamoney, co-organizer of the showcase and mother of Junior Sean Nesamoney. The Global Expo is a day for families to share their culture by creating posters and foods from their country and setting them up in different sections in the gym. Expo is one of the most significant community events on the Menlo campus, representing almost a year of work from over 100 parent volunteers and staff. The organizers of the global expo spend lots of time publicizing the event, and anyone from the Menlo community can sign up online in emails sent out about the showcase. It is an opportunity for the community to share and appreciate their culture. The showcase can also be an opportunity for Menlo students to learn about other countries and geography.

 “[The Global Expo] shows that Menlo has many faces, all of them are wonderful and supported,” Global Programs Director Peter Brown said. According to Brown, people go to the Global Expo to learn about new cultures and cuisines; also to watch the dynamic performance of students and their families. In 2019, those performances included an Irish Fiddle faculty performance, a Chinese Lion dance and a Polynesian Women’s dance. 

Planning for the Global Expo begins approximately one year before the event. Usha Nesamoney and other Menlo associates appoint chairs and co-chairs to identify the core planning team from May to April. After assignment, organizers mobilize to recruit parent volunteers. The objective is to have 35 countries across five continents represented every year. Even though it takes a ton of work, “[families] do it because they love their community, and they love the kids,” Brown said.

The facilities team begins setting up for the Expo a week before the event, preparing the stage and basic decorations. On the day of the Global Expo, parents, students and staff show up 4-5 hours early to decorate the gym and set up their booths. A year’s work is focused just on the day of the expo.

The core value of the Expo is “inclusivity,” so the chair works to include everyone in the communities ideas for the Expo, according to Nesamoney. The global expo represents how heterogeneous Menlo is, and considering the scale of diversity, organizers represent a lot of the world. However, there can be gaps in representation.

Despite the diverse demographic at Menlo, it is not uncommon for a country to have no representation. The school reaches out to parents and asks students to prompt their classmates on this occasion. Ultimately if the chairs cannot find a representative for a country, they can request specific booths to represent territories and their own country to be as inclusive as possible.