In a breathtaking spectacle that reverberated with the essence of unity and diversity, the iconic National Mall in Washington DC played host to The Art of Living's World Culture Festival, drawing an unprecedented gathering of one million individuals from 180 nations. Distinguished global luminaries, resplendent musical performances, and vibrant dance presentations, including those by Grammy Award Winners, converged under a common banner - celebrating the One World Family.
Performers from diverse cultures celebrates at the Art of Living World Culture Fest TT Online
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the renowned humanitarian and peacemaker, and founder of The Art of Living, conveyed, "It's such a beautiful occasion to celebrate our diversity. Our planet is so diverse, yet there is an underlying unity of our human values. Today, on this occasion, let’s commit ourselves to bringing more happiness to society. That’s humanness. That’s what we all are made up of. No celebration gains depth if it's not supported by wisdom. And that wisdom is within all of us. Wisdom is to recognize we are all unique and that we are all one. Let me tell everyone once again - We all belong to one global family.
Pandit Ravi Shankar waves at the audience TT Online
"The global extravaganza awakened the senses with captivating performances like "America the Beautiful'' and "Vande Mataram" by Grammy Award Winner Chandrika Tandon, featuring a 200-strong ensemble. Additionally, there was the mesmerising Panchabhootam, a 1000-strong Indian Classical dance and classical symphony, a global guitar ensemble of 1000 led by Grammy Award winner Micky Free, and traditional dance showcases from Africa, Japan, and the Middle East, culminating in a performance by Skip Marley, who serenaded the audience with the iconic 'One Love.'
In attendance was Dr. S. Jaishankar, India's External Affairs Minister, who remarked, "Whether it is natural disasters, man-made ones, conflicts, or disruptions, it is important that in an interdependent world, we are always there for one another. The Art of Living has been an inspirational example in this regard and I personally have seen the difference that they have made most recently in the Ukraine conflict.
Dr. S. Jaishankar, India's External Affairs Minister during his address TT Online
"The inaugural day of the World Culture Festival witnessed the presence of global dignitaries, including H.E. Ban Ki-moon, the 8th Secretary-General of the United Nations, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, Michigan Congressman Sri Thanedar, Mr. Hakubun Shimomura, MP and Former Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, and Science and Technology of Japan, Eric Solheim, former UN Deputy Secretary-General and Executive Director of UNEP, among others, who shared their shared vision of unity, peace, and harmonious coexistence in a world grappling with multiple global challenges.
Ban Ki-moon, the 8th Secretary-General of the United Nations addressing the gathering at The Art of Living Cultural festival TT Online
A venerable message from The Pope through The Reverend Bishop Emeritus Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, Chancellor Emeritus of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, The Holy See, underscored the need for communicating with God to live in peace. Ban Ki-moon emphasised the power of cultures in bridging divides and bringing the world together through dialogue and mutual understanding.
As thousands of national flags fluttered in the air in a spirit of oneness, and the energy was equally infectious among the artists, the enthusiasm and happiness of the crowds were palpable. "This is overwhelming and so beautiful," shared Beena Mohan, the choreographer of the Mohiniyattam performance.