Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, humanitarian and founder of the Art of Living, joined District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser to unveil the dates for the highly anticipated World Culture Festival 2023. Set to take place from September 29 to October 1 at the iconic National Mall in Washington, D.C., the inaugural U.S. edition aims to foster global diversity, unity, and peace.
The festival kicked off with a special pop-up event on Saturday, May 20, featuring a captivating live meditation session led by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar himself. It served as a preview of the immersive cultural experience that await attendees.
Emphasizing the festival's significance, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said, "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."
Under the theme "#YOUnitedWeCelebrate," the festival invites the public to participate in the world's largest celebration of diversity and belongingness. It aims to unite world leaders, combat loneliness, and promote social connection amidst societal polarization.
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 know that Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's message that 'diversity is the beauty of creation' aligns with our D.C. values..."
The festival boasts an impressive lineup of over 50 world leaders, including current and former heads of state. Additionally, visitors can tantalize their taste buds at the diverse international food festival, featuring over 50 ethnic food trucks stationed along the National Mall.
Leading up to the main event, multiple cultural events will be held throughout the community wards of Washington, D.C. These events offer residents and visitors an immersive experience of the cultural celebration and unity that the festival promises.
With an expected attendance of over 150,000 visitors, the World Culture Festival is poised to have a significant economic impact, generating over US$30 million in revenue. The previous edition in New Delhi, India, witnessed a 45 percent increase in the GDP of the region and a remarkable US$300 million boost to the local economy.
Spanning the entire National Mall, the festival grounds will be reminiscent of presidential inaugurations in terms of size and scale. The event has obtained the necessary permits from the U.S. National Park Service.