District Mayor Vincent Gray has declared May 2011 Cultural Awareness Month in honor of Cultural Tourism DC’s Passport DC initiative, a month-long celebration of international culture. In May 2010, former District Mayor Adrian Fenty instituted the first Cultural Awareness Month in D.C.

Passport DC is a series of street festivals, open houses, embassy program, special performances and more that celebrate the cultural expression of the international community. The events allow District-area residents to explore the food and spirit of countries like Spain, Nigeria, Brazil and dozens of other nations without leaving the city’s confines. “Cultural Tourism DC is honored that Mayor Gray recognizes the significance of Passport DC,” said Cultural Tourism DC Executive Director Linda Donavan Harper in a press statement. “Only in Washington, DC, a truly global city, could you have a celebration like this. Both Cultural Tourism DC and Mayor Gray appreciate that Washington’s many embassies and international organizations influence the culture of DC. Passport DC serves as a gateway for exploring the world that is located in our own backyard.”

This year’s Passport DC includes a new event, Kids World Cinema, with celebrates international children’s films on May 13-14 and May 20-22. Presented by Alliance Francaise de Washington, the cinema showcase also features an arts and crafts workshop for children ages 5-12 and is free to the public.

The initiative’s highlight is the Around the World Embassy Tour on May 14. At this free, day-long event, 35 embassies representing six continents will welcome visitors as they enjoy the art, fashion, music, food and dance of various countries.

All Passport DC events are open to the public and most are either free or a low cost. For more information visit culturaltourismdc.org.