Bharatnatyam performance by Harshitha Venkatesh.

Art of Living’s Bay Area chapter held a curtain raiser to create awareness about the World Culture Festival happening in March, in New Delhi, India. (@Siliconeer, #Siliconeer, #ArtofLiving, #SriSriRaviShankar, #WorldCultureFestival, #India)

The World Culture Festival 2016 is a celebration of The Art of Living’s 35 years of service, humanity, spirituality and human values. It will take place on March 11-13, 2016 in New Delhi, India. The festival will celebrate the diversity in cultures from across the world while simultaneously highlighting our unity as a human family.

Operating in 155 countries, The Art of Living is a non-profit, educational, and humanitarian organization founded in 1981 by philanthropist and spiritual leader, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

The San Francisco Bay Area chapter of The Art of Living held a curtain raiser to the World Culture Festival, at India Community Center in Milpitas, Calif., Jan. 20.

The keynote speaker was Consul General of India in San Francisco, Ambassador Venkatesan Ashok. The event was also attended by Joshua Kaye, Director of Public Affairs, Consulate of Israel, Mayor of Milpitas Jose Esteves, David Bonnacorssi, Member Planning Commission, City of Fremont, Anjali Lathi, Director Union Sanitary Board, Jessi Bailey (Representative from California Assemblymember Kansen Chu’s office), apart from numerous leaders of community organizations including non Indian organizations.

Congressional candidate Ro Khanna was also at hand to share his thoughts. The event was emceed by award-winning author Ritu Marwah.

Representatives from various Bay Area organizations were present at the event. Some of those present were: Rev. Beverly Kam – Center for Spiritual Enlightenment; Murali Krishnamurthy – Sankara Eye Foundation; Sandeep Roy Choudhary – Air India; Geeta Kulkarni – Akshay Patra; Mahesh Nihalani – Priya Living; Khanderao Kand – President GITPRO; Niraj Baxi – GOPIO; Ajay Bhutoria – Global Organization of Community Service; Chandru Bhambra – HSS; Samir Kalra – Hindu America Foundation

Consul General Ashok and Joshua Kaye from the Consulate of Israel did the honors of lighting the lamp to commence the evening.

Two kids read a verse from Quran and explained the meaning. A Bharatnatyam performance and some beautiful music by Martin Blank’s South American band kept the audience entertained.

Next up was a conversation with Abobaker Mojadidi, founder of LEAD, an Afghani organization; Diane Fisher, director Jewish Federation of Silicon Valley; and Ashwani Dhall, who represented Art of Living.

Satej and Sanjana presented Art of Living and Sri Sri’s 35 year journey. They narrated some of the success stories like Tom Boss – Project Welcome Home Troops; Ivory Coast civil war resolution; YES for Schools – Overfelt High School in San Jose; Iraq story – Yezidis issue/SriSri’s visit and experiences of Kurdish Parliamentarians; Columbia – how you have helped broker a cease fire.

The story section was very well received by the audience.