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Teens at WCF!

The World Culture Festival (WCF) is a global event series, that was born out of inspiration: a vision to create a celebration that reflected both the world’s unity and incredible diversity. It is an unforgettable cultural extravaganza, that aims to build a more compassionate and harmonious society by bringing the people of the world together in celebration. 

The 4th edition of WCF just happened September 29- October 2, 2023 on the National Mall in Washington DC. The festival was an epic success bringing people, cultures and communities together as One World Family. Over a million festival goers enjoyed 60 captivating performances by 17K artists. It was a historic celebration of peace, diversity, human connection and service.

Many of our SKY Youth graduates participated in performances, attended with their families and helped with outreach and kids activities on the grounds. Below are some of their experences and learnings being part of such a life changing, historic event.


I was very excited to watch the performances, but as I was watching, I noticed one thing. There were so many people from different countries, ethnic groups, and religions, but, unlike other places where most people only stay in their small groups, here everyone was with each other and were mixing and diversifying their groups. I think this is a message that even though we are all different, it is not a weakness in humankind, it is our strength. Even though we are split into different countries, we are all doing just fine, but just imagine what we could achieve if we all worked together! I think that this is something we need to learn, because there has been constant violence in this world that was made for us to share with everyone.

A True Experience of One World Family

Hi everyone! This is Shaurya and I am 13 years old, and in 8th grade, I want to share my experience at the World Culture Festival. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it is an amazing gathering where many different cultural groups meet and show their culture through many performances such as singing, dancing, or even their traditional instrument. I participated in the 1000 person guitar ensemble! The stage was huge, and even then it was filled to the brim! It was amazing to see hundreds of thousands of people watching the performance, as my group and I performed! There were many food trucks, performances, and even speeches from famous world leaders! I loved watching many inspirational people speak, and every speech took me to a different world. There were wristbands that lit up every time there was a performance, and it was magical as so many people were waving their glowing wrist bands like flashlights! 

One life learning that I had was when Akie Abe, the ex-First Lady of Japan spoke. She talked about how her husband is here with us even though he may not be here in the flesh. He would have loved seeing such a festival where all people are represented, and Gurudev had asked him to spread kindness to the people of Japan. The learning I had was it does not matter how great you were in life, you will only be remembered if you were good to others.


The fourth World Culture Festival has been an amazing experience!

My WCF Experience

My name is Vanshika Gunda and I am 14 years old. I went to Washington D.C. to attend the World Culture Festival. I am happy I got the chance to see this now because I really wanted to attend the 2016 World Culture Festival in New Delhi with my parents, but I couldn’t go because I was too young for the massive crowds. I was truly disappointed. Back in June when I heard there was going to be a WCF in a few months, I was looking forward to it. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see many countries come together and perform. Even though I couldn’t see the stage clearly and had to look at the screen, I felt like I was watching it as if I was right in front of the stage. The program was so fun to watch with the dances displaying the uniqueness of each country. 

I participated in the Bharatanatyam portion of the Panchabhootham dance. I have done performances before, but never to this scale. The moment I entered the brightly lit stage, a smile stretched across my face. I couldn’t stop smiling. I felt thrilled after waiting for so long to be able to perform on this stage in front of the multitude of people with hundreds of other amazing dancers. The WCF was a great opportunity for many things. I had never danced with live music until then. I had also always wanted to see live performances of other Indian classical dances. Those wishes came true. 

I participated in the Bharatanatyam portion of the Panchabhootham dance. I have done performances before, but never to this scale. The moment I entered the brightly lit stage, a smile stretched across my face. I couldn’t stop smiling. I felt thrilled after waiting for so long to be able to perform on this stage in front of the multitude of people with hundreds of other amazing dancers. The WCF was a great opportunity for many things. I had never danced with live music until then. I had also always wanted to see live performances of other Indian classical dances. Those wishes came true. 


Not only this, but it is amazing how this festival was pulled off. The volunteers sacrificed their own chance of being able to take part/watch the program while putting in immense efforts to make sure everything ran smoothly, despite the rigid restrictions. They selflessly gave up their own time to help make this happen. It’s wonderful how the vision of Guruji has peacefully brought together millions of people while embracing each other’s cultures. 

I cannot fully express how happy and grateful I am for the opportunity to have attended and performed at the World Culture Festival, and I eagerly look forward for the next one to take place. 

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My WCF Experience
By Ishaan Garg

The fourth World Culture Festival at the National Mall, D.C. started on September 29th with a vision of a one world family. We all are connected in spite of our different origins in different countries! It ended on October 1st with positive vibrations & celebrations of
unity and hope for the beautiful world of compassionate people.


I performed in the Shanti Mantra Choir with Ms. Chandrika Tandon. The rehearsals building up to our performance in the WCF were exciting, and we always
sang about 10 times! We did lots of practice on Zoom calls and the volunteer teachers were amazing listening to all of us patiently. I got a picture with Ms. Chandrika, Grammy award nominee! She balanced the strictness and kindness, and she didn’t let a single mistake go uncorrected. She said, “The whole world is watching you.”


As the day came,on Saturday we decided to go to WCF to feel its magnificence. I met my friends at the metro station and I was laughing hard as my friends were so funny! After what seemed like an Era, we arrived at the Smithsonian station from themetro, and we started to walk to the World Culture Festival. My experience in WCF was great! The stage was set up outside the mall, and it was colorful, and there were some boards on the grass. Many Jumbotrons were set up to watch the performances.There was security near the promformers and the important people.

I was just amazed how Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Art Of Living organized this! All the arrangements were by volunteers! They helped us by telling us where to go, were at the performers' tents, and they also assisted us by being security guards. There were many leaders from all around the world! I loved the variety of performances; all of them were awesome! I especially loved Bhangra, it was fun and joyful! The speeches were really good too, and were all about loving and unity.


I performed the Shanti Mantra Choir on Sunday and it felt powerful; it felt like soaring through the air and our voices sung loud and clear, like one voice singing together praying for peace.Building towards it though, was kind of painful; we had to stand for a long time, we were all cramped up in a tiny space under the tent, but I know everyone did their best to keep all of us cheerful.They even gave us water when we were sitting on the risers and waiting for our turn to sing.

I learnt a lot from the fourth WCF. I learnt that everyone can come together without fighting! I usually hear and read about the Russia and Ukraine war and thought there is no way there is going to be no fights! I heard a lot of speeches there at WCF and it really changed my perspective of the world! I sincerely hope for Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s vision of a one world family to become a reality; it would be an enlightening experience and as Gurudev says, “We must realize we’re a one world family.”

WCF Event

This was my first time participating in the World Cultural Festival like many others. My first thought when I heard about it was, This is going to be amazing. I was really excited that I was going to sing with other kids and I made new friends during this festival. I was really intrigued about the entire thing itself. On day 1 of the festival, I was amazed at how people from around the world had a variety of their culture to perform. I was fascinated and day 1 got me all excited during the live. My emotions during the entire thing was unexplainable. This festival was one of my favorite memories of 2023.

I performed in the Shanti mantra along with 250 kids including me. I was really nervous when I got onto the stage and waited until it was our turn to sing the Shanti Mantra.

All the practice sessions with Chandrika Tandon boosted my confidence. I was really thrilled while singing. This event lit up my entire weekend. As we performed on the 3rd and final day as the second ending, it was fun knowing that you were going to be on the bleachers singing a song where almost the entire world is watching you.

Overall, this was the best thing that happened to me so far. I am really happy that I was able to do this. I learned a lot from this and also so many people that I have only seen in videos and all. I have seen traditional dances from different religions, cultures and places. My experience was amazing, I felt as if I was famous, performing in front of a lot of people. I hope I get to participate next time.


World Culture Festival - 2023
By Diva Lakhani

The World Cultural Fest was an astonishing experience. We arrived in Washington DC on
Thursday, the 28th of September. We reached there around noon and it was a pleasant chilly
atmosphere. Since there was an evening satsang we decided to take a stroll on the National Mall
before going to the satsang. The sight of the Washington Memorial on one side and the White House on the other side was quite fantastic. There were enthusiastic volunteers everywhere, setting up tents, directing the other volunteers, serving food to the other volunteers. And at the end of the day there was a massive satsang with Gurudev. We sang songs and listened to Gurudev’s speech.

The first day there was the start of the incredible World Cultural Festival. The day started off by
volunteering at the kids tent. We, volunteers, helped kids make and decorate Egyptian crowns and
Chinese dragon puppets. There were a lot of tents to explore and learn all about different counties.
There were so many people as well as many performers walking around in their dance costumes for the evening performances. There were many performances such as the Panchabhootam - mixture of
classical indian dances, 1,000 guitar ensemble and Skip Marley’s (Bob Marley’s grandson) Reggae
Singing. There was the high school choir singing ‘Vande Mataram’ and ‘Star-Spangled Banner’. This
really touched my heart. It was amazing to see so many different cultures coming together in one single

On the second day of the WCF event, in the early morning Gurudev and 1,200 yoga teachers
gathered to lead yoga at the Lincoln Memorial. It was a spectacular view! Evening was filled with many more beautiful performances and I participated in the Garba Dance with more than 10,000 participants. We got wristbands and changed into the heavy traditional garba attire. The garba dance was quite a fascinating experience. They were trying to break a world record but the world record is more than 60,000 people! After the garba dance there were many various performances like the rhythms of LATAM and Ukrainian folk dancing. Gurudev and us even had a moment of peace for Ukraine and the war that is going on in their country! Gurudev led a beautiful meditation for us that evening. The experience of meditating with thousands of people was so uplifting!


On the last day of the World Cultural festival there were many more performances, singing and dancing! Overall, I learnt a lot about different cultures, performances, and various cuisines. I learnt that in spite of us all coming from diverse religions, cultures, ideas and personalities, we are still a ONE BIG FAMILY! We all belong to each other. It was a heartwarming experience to meet different people from so many different countries. Another exciting part was I made new friends. That was my overall experience in the World Cultural Festival 2023. That evening we had a return flight at 6:30 pm back to Sacramento. I felt sad that the event ended but happy at the same time for I got to be a part of a breathtaking event. I am so excited and looking forward to yet another World Cultural Festival!

An image from the early morning Yoga event during WCF at Lincoln Memorial.

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My WCF Experience
By Siya Mistry

This fall I went to a festival called the World Culture Festival (WCF). It is a festival organized by The Art of Living foundation, The founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar teaches amazing yoga and meditation. WCF takes place in many different areas, such as the last WCF took place in New Delhi,India. This current one took place in Washington DC, and it was awesome! There were such beautiful performances! Such as beautiful music, dances, singing and more from all over the world! This festival had at least 500,000 people! There were people from all over the world! I even saw some of my friends! My favorite part was probably the choir singing and garba. During the garba there were
over 400 people on stage and 5000 others who were participating were dancing around the area – and I was one of them! It was amazing! During this festival I learned that everyone has similarities and differences, and the whole entire world is one big family. I also learned that we can all be happy together even though we have different cultural backgrounds!

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