September 30, 2023 Washington DC, USA
ne of biggest events showcasing cultural diversities is taking place this week. The three-day event in the Nation’s Capital with over 500,000 in attendance, dignitaries, heads of nations, businesses and spiritual leaders from every corner of the world, speaking on the importance of unity and harmony in diversity. It will be of a colossal nature and the magnanimity of the event speaks of inclusivity, diversity, celebrations of cultural values, differences and coming together as a global family. This vision of bringing all countries and cultures together to manifest a harmonious blend is an unparalleled initiative by a humanitarian, and philanthropist, a spiritual Guru, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar of the Art of Living Foundation (AOL). Prevalent in over 155 countries and in existence for over 42 years, AOL has reached out to over 475 million people globally. It is a great opportunity for the Nepal Performance Team in Washington DC Metro area to be a part of the WCF 2023 and represent Nepal’s diversity and celebrate the traditional heritage of Nepal with other 180 countries, with 17,000 performers and 61 global performances taking place.
With the help of organizations such as Nepal Education Cultural Center (NECC), and other community leaders, community members Mr. Rajesh Pradhan and Ms Neeva M. Pradhan, also volunteers with the Art of Living US and Nepal, are the key supporters and sponsors of the Nepal Cultural Performance. They were able to share Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Guruji’s vision since last year. Their wish was to have Nepal participate in this global arena along with the other 180 countries. It started last year when the WCF theme was announced, they were required to present a proposal and a concept note stating why Nepal performance should be selected. As founding members of Daya Foundation in Nepal, which also focuses on cultural preservations and promotion, they are happy to support this cause as the Art of Living practitioners. There were multiple meetings, follow up, with the Nepal Education and Cultural Center (NECC) and few other organizations to gather the community to come together as a team to perform. Pradhan said, “It is equally important for our culture and other cultures to be appreciated at home and abroad”. NECC headed by Ms. Saroj Prajapati, President NECC has helped to bring the team together to help make this event a success. True to their name, NECC has held to their commitment to preserve and share Nepal’s cultural heritage in the US over the years.
With global participation, this event will manifest as an extravaganza in the cultural attire, dance, music, food, meditation and the variety of performances in the three days of celebrations. One of the key highlights will be a meditation session for peace led by Sri Sri in the heart of the city of Washington DC.
The reception committee is headed by the United Nations General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon along with other dignitaries. Member of Parliament, Nepal, Mr. Binod Chaudhary is also among the dignitaries. Chairman, AOL Nepal Mr Sidheshwar Kumar Singh will also be present. This is the fourth World Culture Festival taking place for the first time in the Nation’s Capital. In Delhi there were 3.7 million people in 2016, in Berlin in 2011 had 70,000 and in Bangalore there were 2.5 million in 2006. The Art of Living has been vibrant in Nepal for the past 25 plus years with many volunteers and trainers sharing practical tools to manage stress and bringing better work life balance for the individual and in the corporate sectors. There are community outreach and service projects that have made positive impact in Nepal over the years. There is great cheering, support and encouragement from the Nepali community in the US, Nepal and globally for the Nepal performance in the US, WCF in this global platform.
The main choreographer Mr. Yagyaman Shakya, a well-known dance instructor has provided the training and motivation to the team. He and his family have shown great dedication and effort throughout to make this program a success. The diaspora community in Washington DC has come together to perform seven traditional dances with 150 performers. The dancers ranging from age thirteen to sixty plus are from varied backgrounds, senior scientists from National Institute of Health (NIH), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), IT professionals, Teachers, Entrepreneurs and students. It is admirable how they have all managed to juggle their personal schedules to devote time and effort for a regular twice a week dance practice for the past five months.
Nepal is a country of diversity since its inception with over one hundred and thirty ethnic groups and many dialects. Nepal is known to honor cultural celebrations throughout the year, which manifests the recognition and upholding of varied traditions in the form of art, literature, dance, song, and the many varieties of ethnic authentic cuisines. This vision of WCF in this large scale resonates with the cultural diversity and peace in the history of Nepal.
The main theme and concept of the performance is to highlight the traditional dances, including various deity and ethnic backgrounds of Nepal in the spirit of WCF. Performance variety to showcase the diversity of Nepal are the Deity Dances: Astamatrika, Kumari, Lakhe, Ethnic Dances: Sherpa, Tamang, Gurung, Tharu, Newar along with background dancers. The performance will showcase the unique traditional art of honoring spirituality, unity in diversity, co- existing in harmony and the storehouse of talent in Nepal. The story telling through the live dances with special costumes will be in keeping with the theme of WCF in honoring, sharing and celebrating unique talents and cultures of the world.