- The festival is a gigantic cultural platform to help us step into a new moment – From loss to celebration, from divisiveness to harmony, from loneliness and isolation to a sense of belonging as part of a one world family.
We, the human race cannot afford not to celebrate our diversity. To turn around the rise of intolerance and violence, the celebration of our diversity is a needed solution. Only then can we embrace our uniqueness and belong to a world family. To belong is a human need. The World Cultural Festival 2023, is the need of the hour as it celebrates belonging in a unique and empowering way.
The World Culture Festival, which has attracted millions in its previous iterations in Asia and Europe, will come to the United States for the first time ever for an epic celebration of global diversity, unity and peace. The National Mall in Washington, D.C. will be decked out in full plumage, to host this mammoth event. hosted jointly by the Mayor’s office and the Art of Living Foundation. The 2023 World Cultural Festival to be held from September 29th to October 1st, in Washington, D.C. is expected to draw in a large number of visitors, dignitaries and world leaders from around the globe.
This cultural extravaganza showcasing a huge slice of global dance, music, food, ethnicities and cultures, is being spearheaded by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living Foundation, which has over the last 4 decades held on to a singular vision of a stress-free, violence-free society, whilst teaching its renowned breathwork techniques to more than 500 million people around the globe.
Speaking at the official launch announcement of the 2023 World Cultural Festival, Mayor Muriel Bowser said, “We are delighted to host the fourth-annual World Culture Festival. Washington, D.C. is the perfect city to bring people together from around the globe. We are a city that celebrates diversity and inclusivity, a global city, a welcoming city, and a city that loves visitors. We know that Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s message that ‘diversity is the beauty of creation’ aligns with our D.C. values. So, we invite people to the District of Columbia.”
Unprecedented in scale, grandeur and reach, the historic celebration of diversity and global culture will bring visitors to D.C from around the globe. At the World Culture Festival, thousands of people from Argentina to Zimbabwe, Canada to Australia, and from every state in the U.S., will come together for an unforgettable experience of music, dance, art, food, and inspirational talks. Past World Culture Festivals have brought together a combined 7 million people representing 150 countries.
In the past, describing the world family coming together for the last World Cultural Festival in New Delhi, India, in 2016, where millions gathered in celebration, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar remarked, “It’s just a small family get-together!” A small family get-together indeed! More than 2.5 million people came together for world peace, to celebrate diversity and meditate together for universal harmony.
“We need to bridge the gap. There is a lot of polarization in the world. The World Culture Festival is an occasion for people to come together and celebrate each other’s differences. It is the need of the hour, to bring people together in celebration and to spread the message of peace and to say that we are one human family.” Sri Sri Ravi Shankar says.
He adds, “In a world which is so polarized, divided and despondent, it’s time for us to come together in celebration, where we appreciate the rich diversity on this planet. It’s high time we recognize we are a one-world family.”
Thousands of unique performers and artists will take part in the jam-packed entertainment lineup. All performers are based in the United States, representing the cultures and heritage of over 35 countries. Performance groups are from backgrounds as diverse as Ukrainian, Indian, Native American, Latin American, Afghan, Hip-Hop, Gospel and more.
A global Faith Advisory Council is also being convened in support of the World Culture Festival. The council, composed of leaders from faiths of the world, will share messages about common values of peace, harmony and partnership to nurture greater unity and togetherness.
Another remarkable highlight will be a diverse international food festival associated with the event that is expected to attract thousands to sample international cuisines made by chefs from around the capital region. Over 50 ethnic food trucks are expected to be in a designated area along the National Mall.
Over 50 world leaders, including current and former heads of state, members of national parliaments and international governmental organizations, have already committed to attending the Festival, including UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
It’s hard not to draw a comparison of the upcoming global event to the 1963 March on Washington when the country began to view race relations and the civil rights movement with a historical shift of mythic proportions. Perhaps this event on the National Mall will reignite a newer vision of peace and oneness.
The 2023 World Cultural Festival is a gigantic cultural platform to help us step into a new story and a new moment – From loss to celebration, from divisiveness to harmony, from loneliness and isolation to a sense of belonging as part of a One World family.
All 2023 World Culture Festival events are free and open to the public. All ages are encouraged to join. Registration and ticket information for the fall festival in Washington, D.C. can be found at www.worldculturefest.org.
Shalini Parekh is a reporter and journalist living in the Chicago area, with an interest in issues of identity, culture, and diversity, particularly with regard to the Indian diaspora in the United States. She has covered a wide range of topics from terrorism and assimilation; yoga and wellness.