About

Get to know us a little better.

Our Philosophy

A mission and a vision.

The vision of the Salem Multicultural Institute and the purpose of the World Beat Festival and World Beat Gallery are to create an environment of openness for all people. In all our activities, SMI aims to be family-friendly, economically inclusive, and culturally authentic.

We believe that the key to establishing Salem and Oregon as a culturally rich and welcoming place is broad-based community involvement. Our operating philosophy has remained intact from the beginning: We all have something to learn from one another, and we all have something to teach.

Our values are at the core of our efforts.

Respect

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Integrity

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Authenticity

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Quality

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Inclusion

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Professionalism

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Balance

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World Beat Staff

Kathleen Fish

Executive Director

Evan Bosch

Assistant Director

Emily Salter

Program Specialist

Board Members

Kathy Andreas
Vice Chair
stewart hayes
Treasurer
Amanda Sherrer
Secretary
Quenton Ihne
Chair
Gretchen Coppedge
Priscilla Cuddy
Ola Elkanah
Valerie Harris
Mona Roberto Hayes
Selaina Miller
Marisa Barrios Newnam
Aaron Reber
Pedro Mayoral

Advisors

Alison Kelley
Denise Puentes
Gayle Doty
Gerry Frank
Graham Morris
Jackie Winters
Mako Hayashi-Mayfield
Marie Bradford
Pam Vorachek
Roger Yost
Terry Samuel

HISTORY

Salem Multicultural Institute

The Salem Multicultural Institute began on February 15, 1997, on rolls of poster paper stretched across a dining room wall. Two moms with young daughters saw the need to create a positive, tangible response to growing concern about racial tensions in Salem.

That response took the form of a festival, a celebration of all of the many cultures that make Oregon such a wonderful place.

The inaugural Salem World Beat Festival was held in conjunction with the grand opening of Salem's long-awaited Riverfront Park on June 27-28, 1998.

This grass-roots effort has grown out of meetings in living rooms and coffee shops into a meaningful celebration and year-round community volunteerism. More than 400 volunteers, 70 sponsors and 150 exhibitors and performing arts groups are involved with the festival annually. The average annual attendance has reached approximately 25,000 guests. Awards to the festival include: Cultural Event of the Year from the Salem Convention and Visitors Association; a Queen of Peace Community Service Award; a Quality of Life Award from Today's Choices, Tomorrow's Community; Best Festival 2006 from the readers of Salem Monthly and, twice, Best Cultural Heritage Event from the Oregon Festivals and Events Association. Also, the Salem Multicultural Institute itself was named Best Non-Profit in 2007 and 2008 by Salem Monthly readers.

Because of the positive connections made at the festival, the organization’s volunteers have been called to serve the community in the areas of cultural programming, referrals and committee work throughout the year. In 2006, the Salem Multicultural Institute moved our offices downtown and opened the World Beat Gallery at the Reed Opera House with an exhibit entitled Diversity in the Philippines.  The gallery and the performance series, which began in 2007, encourage local ethnic communities to showcase cherished traditions in the intimate, historic setting of the Reed.

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