Nationalities Service Center celebrates its centennial anniversary during annual "Global Tastes" event
The event serves as a food and culture gala that celebrates Philadelphia’s diverse communities through cuisine, dance, and customs.
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To celebrate the 100th year since its founding, the Nationalities Service Center will be hosting a multitude of events throughout 2022.
Its annual “Global Tastes” event, the organization's most important fundraising event, took place Thursday, March 24.
Prior to the event, Steven Larín, NSC deputy director, spoke to AL DÍA to highlight the significance of this annual event.
“It is an opportunity for us to connect with the people who support the work we do,” said Larín. “But also the communities that set up restaurants throughout the city, and it's a way for us to try to help showcase some of the tremendous global cuisine that exists in the city.”
At the event, more than 20 culturally diverse restaurants displayed popular dishes on their menu from all over the world for guests and attendees to sample.
The event also featured an award ceremony, in which three impactful leaders were recognized for their respective work — all connected to improving the success and well-being of immigrants and refugees in the Philadelphia region.
Margaret Harris, was presented with the first-ever Centennial Award, which “recognizes the true exceptionalism of an individual who personifies NSC’s mission of welcoming and empowering immigrants to thrive in pursuit of a just future.”
Upon accepting the honor, Harris showed deep gratitude.
“Over 32 years ago, NSC took a chance on me, gave me an opportunity to teach a beginner English class, an event that changed my life,” she said.
Upon being given that opportunity, she immediately fell in love with teaching, and embarked on this new journey. Her affiliation with NSC also helped develop her into a mentor, advocate and key cog in advancement of several of the organization’s other services.
Through the various challenges, struggles and conflicts she’s faced throughout her more than three decades with the organization, her mission has always been the same: to help others.
Larín’s comments about her justified such.
“She’s always been tremendously welcoming to all the different immigrant groups that come to Philadelphia and to our office, and she’s encouraged others to also support this work and to participate and engage in immigrant rights activism, so we’re very happy to be honoring her,” he said of Harris.
The celebration of Harris and her decades of impactful work didn’t end there, however.
The two other honorees — Dr. Mark S. Wolff and Will Gonzalez — were each recipients of the Margaret Harris Award, named after the Centennial Award recipient.
Wolff is the Dean of the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine and Professor in the Department of Preventive & Restorative Sciences, while Gonzalez is the executive director of CEIBA.
As the organization celebrates the beginning of its second century of service, Brian Kim, NSC Chairman of the Board, put into perspective the value NSC has had over the past 100 years, despite various challenges.
He noted that the organization has been the region’s immigrants’ and refugees’ “companions, their guides, their advocates [and] their friends,” he said, before further quantifying the statement.
“We designed pathways for stability towards economic mobility. Poverty and racism still push back on immigrants, yet they forge lasting contributions and they strengthen our communities,” said Kim.
Thanks to all who joined us in celebrating 100 years of standing with immigrants last night at Global Tastes: The Centennial Edition! Special thanks to our incredible host committee, sponsors and restaurant partners for helping us create a memorable event!#westandwithimmigrants pic.twitter.com/UuPIUu1c71— NSCPhila (@NSCPhila) March 25, 2022
More than 500 guests attended this year's annual event, significantly higher than past year's count.
“We're honored and touched that the community is supportive of the work, but we also recognize it's truly supportive of immigrants in the immigrant community,” added Larín.