World Culture Festival 2023: As hundreds of flags fluttered together in the background, the popular sentiment once again was one of togetherness as people from 180 countries mingled with each other, celebrating global cultures, through dance, music and food- an event of grand proportions that truly marks India’s power as a globally unifying force.
The second day of World Culture Festival 2023 dawned with a thousand people stepping on their yoga mats at the historic Lincoln Memorial, as they were led through a unique yoga, breath and meditation session, by global spiritual leader, Indian spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, setting the tone for an evening filled with soulful performances, inspirational addresses and an unmissable sense of human connection, as former President of India Ram Nath Kovind remarked, “People from mountains to coastal plains, river valleys to desserts have congregated here. In doing so, you (Sri Sri Ravi Shankar) have created a microcosm of the global family.”
Among the many art forms presented was a traditional Ukrainian song conducted by renowned Ukrainian musician Olena Astasheva, who had left her motherland due to the war. Moved by the performance, the crowds joined in a spontaneous peace prayer for the people of Ukraine, led by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.
In what can only be described as an electrifying speech, Rev Gerald L Durley remarked, “We need to change the name of the Art of Living to the Art of Living Proof, because you (Sri Sri Ravi Shankar) are proving that you can love, you can share, you can have compassion.”
Tim Draper, American venture capital investor, also shared, “We (Americans) used to call people from other countries aliens. And it was not a nice term. And somehow though, we have started to bring people together, and under Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s leadership, we have brought people together, and no longer is anyone on the earth an alien. But if there were an alien, on this earth and they said take me to your leader, I would point them to Sri Sri Ravi Shankar!”.
Other distinguished speakers on day two included Prithvirajsing Roopun, President, Mauritius, Former President of India- Ram Nath Kovind, Akie Abe (former first lady and wife of late Prime Minister of Japan-Shinzo Abe), Dr Vivek Murthy, US Surgeon General were among others.
Know more about cultural activities of World Culture Festival-Day 2:
Cultural highlights from Day 2 included the 10,000 people-strong Garba performance led by the vocals of Grammy-winning, Falu Shah, an Indian American singer; a 200-strong euphoric Bhangra performance, Irish step dance, surreal Afghan melodies, a spectacular ensemble of 1,000 Chinese American vocalists and dancers, combined with a Kung Fu performance, joined by majestic dragons and lions brought to life through artistry and imagination, Unforgettable performances from Indonesia, Brazil, Bolivia, and Latin American countries, Hip hop and breakdance performers led by legends like Kurtis Blow, 1200-people Gospel choir and mesmerizing performance from Pakistani contingent.
“Celebrations like today (WCF) are powerful because they remind us of how essential our connections to one another are,” shared Dr Vivek Murthy, US Surgeon General, “And we need that reminder today more than ever because loneliness and isolation have become epidemics that are fuelling mental health contributing to physical illness as well, like dementia and heart disease, and now threaten the very well-being of our communities.”