It started with a vision: a vision of peaceful co-existence in a stress- free and non-violent world for people of all backgrounds. That was 30 years ago when Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in Bangalore, India, founded The Art of Living, a humanitarian NGO that serves people through humanitarian projects and educational programs. The Art of Living, represented in Germany as The Art of Living Association, is one of the largest volunteer-based NGOs who in order to make their vision a reality, are active with programs in 151 countries. The organization also holds special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations (UN), and he is active in numerous other international bodies and committees in the areas of health, education and sustainable development.
The World Culture Festival in Berlin - a sign of peace
This year, Art of Living Foundation, will be celebrating its 30th anniversary and to mark this special occasion, the Foundation will be hosting the World Culture Festival, on 2&3 July 2011 at the Olympiastadion Berlin in Germany.
Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar says on the occasion of the upcoming event: "Thirty years of Art of Living - a milestone has been achieved. We are inspired to continue with even more enthusiasm and greater speed to realize the dream, where life becomes a celebration and the world will become one family. Millions of volunteers have worked with so much love and enthusiasm and will continue inspiring millions more people, in all the areas that we have not yet reached, and dry the tears that are still being shed. The World Culture Festival is a celebration of achievements and a vision to do even more good."
More than 70,000 people from 151 countries will participate in the event whose central theme is "Celebrating diversity and enriching life". Visitors will have the opportunity to inter-actively learn about different cultures, as well as experience a festive program with music shows, dance and performances from around the world.
What makes this festival so special, among other things, is the active participation of the people. It is not only a show. The program design will include many visitors and each performer is a part of the entire peace festival. Anyone who wants can participate in a number of activities, for example, folk dance, national choir, guitar orchestra and in the great yoga performance, the sun salutations.
A meditation for peace and an inter-religious peace prayer will set a precedent for peace and inter-cultural harmony which will strengthen the awareness of cultural diversity, traditions and religions. Human values and the "One World Family"
As an ambassador of peace, Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar plays a key role in conflict resolution and speaks at public events and meetings around the world about his vision of non-violence. He is regarded as being neutral and exclusively dedicated to peace. One who embodies hope for people finding themselves in conflict situations; he is particularly recognized for having brought warring parties to the negotiating table in Iraq, Sri Lanka, Kashmir and Bihar.
Through his initiatives and talks, Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has consistently stressed the need to enhance human values and to recognize the humanity as our highest identity. Promotion of religious harmony and the need for multi-cultural education as a remedy for fanaticism are important parts of his efforts to achieve sustainable peace on our planet. Working towards achieving this with his “One World Family” message, overcoming barriers, races, nationalities and religions, his work has touched the lives of millions of people around the world. Inner and outer peace is possible. A stress-and violence-free society can be created through service to others and the revival of human values.
Service projects and educational programs
The focal points of The Art of Living Foundation’s aid projects include: developing countries, trauma and stress management in crisis areas, and rehabilitation programs for victims of violence and prison inmates. In addition, yoga and meditation classes are conducted with breathing techniques for relaxation and stress management. A key component is the Sudarshan Kriya ™, a health-promoting breathing technique.
In 1997, he founded the International Association for Human Values (IAHV) to coordinate sustainable development projects to promote human values and conflict resolution, in collaboration with The Art of Living Foundation. In India, Africa and South America, volunteers of the two sister organizations are at the forefront of sustainable growth in rural communities and have already reached more than 36000 villages.
High-profile personalities welcome The World Culture Festival
Prof. Gesine Schwan, the founder of the Humboldt-Viadrina School of Governance says of the forthcoming event: "I think it is timely that the World Culture Festival, which aims to promote harmony in diversity and dialogue between cultures, takes place in Berlin. The integration of different cultures and inter-cultural harmony are important issues. I cordially congratulate Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and the International Art of Living Foundation on their 30th Birthday and welcome the World Culture Festival in Berlin, the historical bridge between East and West."
Tickets for the World Culture Festival can be ordered through the official event website www.worldculturefestival.org.
Following the event, interested visitors will also have the opportunity to take part in the famous Art of Living courses in the presence of Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Questions about this and the possibilities of active participation in the performances can be directed to The World Culture Festival event office in Berlin,
Phone: +49(0)30-2535 83 30.
The World Culture Festival
Tel: +49(0)30-253583 96 Fax: +49(0)30-2535 83 97 firstname.lastname@example.org