Two and a Half Million People to Meet for World Unity and Peace

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Presidents, kings, and prime ministers will join about 1,000 spiritual leaders and 2.5 million others at a conference to honor Art of Living Foundation, a leading United Nations NGO. The event is followed by a two-day science and spirituality conference on the latest findings in the study of yoga and breath.

Heads of state, spiritual leaders and people from the United States, Russia, Canada, Iraq, India, the Middle East, Africa, China and many other countries will meet Feb. 17–19 in Bangalore, India, for the Art of Living Foundation’s 25th anniversary celebrations. The three-day international conference for world unity and human values will include what is expected to be the largest group meditation in history.

Leaders who are participating include Indian President A.P.J. Kalam; the President of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapakse; the King of Ghana, Osagyefuo Amoatio Ofori Panin; President of Slovenia, Dr. Janez Drnovšek; President of Mauritius, Anerood Jugnauth; three former Prime Ministers of India; and the Vice Presidents of India, Croatia, South Africa, and Surinam.

The Art of Living Foundation (AOLF), is an international non-profit humanitarian and educational organization founded by spiritual and humanitarian leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. In a quarter of a century, AOLF and its sister organization, the International Association for Human Values (IAHV), have touched the lives of more than 20 million people worldwide. They are among the United Nations’ largest volunteer-based non-governmental organizations.

“This conference is a wonderful occasion for all leaders of society who are concerned about terrorism and fundamentalism,” said Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, who has worked for the past 25 years to revive human values, inspire a sense of responsibility and create peace at both the individual and societal level. “We need to look back and learn from the mistakes of the past. We need to understand what is lacking in society and how we can nurture the human values without which this Earth cannot be sustained.”

About 2,000 Americans will be among the 2.5 million people of diverse races, religions and socio-economic backgrounds who are traveling to the event from many of the 147 countries where the Art of Living Foundation has an active presence.

Attendees include people who have benefited from AOLF trauma-relief programs in Iraq and Afghanistan; villagers from the 25,300 rural villages in India where the Art of Living and IAHV have implemented sustainable rural development programs; professionals who have participated in AOLF programs that foster workplace health, teamwork, and creativity; and AOLF volunteers who conducted trauma-relief programs for Hurricane Katrina and South Asian tsunami survivors.

The Art of Living has 170 chapters in the United States, with programs benefiting various sectors of society. Its work in inner city areas includes stress-relief courses for elementary and high school students, prisoners and prison guards and people in drug rehabilitation programs. NASA and the World Bank have also offered AOLF programs to their employees.

“In a world that possesses weapons dangerous enough to destroy the whole of humanity several times over, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and his Art of Living show us the path towards non-violence,” said According to D.R. Karthikeyan, the former director of India’s Central Bureau of Investigation and a member of the conference reception committee.

The event's first day will feature a global interfaith conference with thousands of religious and spiritual leaders, including swamis, imams, rabbis, monks, priests and others from around the world. Renowned artists, actors and business leaders will be among those contributing to second- and third-day events on Human Values and Ethics in a Global Society.

More than 3,800 musicians will perform together on flutes, violins, saxophones and traditional Indian instruments, and people from every continent will showcase their country’s heritage and culture during the three-day conference.

John Osborne, the president of the Art of Living Foundation in the United States, says, “We are looking forward to millions of people from all over the world attending our celebrations, a momentous gathering designed to actualize a one-world family.”

Following these Silver Jubilee celebrations in Bangalore, the Second World Conference on Science, Consciousness, and Spirituality will highlight the most recent scientific advances in the study of yoga at the All Indian Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi on Feb. 24 and 25. The focus will be on yogic breathing techniques, with an emphasis on the Art of Living's Sudarshan Kriya Yoga (SKY) and its accompanying practices.

The international group of researchers and presenters is headed by Dr. Richard P. Brown, an internationally recognized expert in integrative psychopharmacology and associate professor at New York’s Columbia University. The conference will include results of studies on post-traumatic stress disorder and depression in Southeast Asia tsunami refugees, schizophrenia, Australian Vietnam War veterans, and the effects of yogic practices on cancer patients, obstetrics, workplace stress, addictions, neurophysiology, genomics, bacteriology, and more.

A satellite view of the Jakkur Airfield in Bangalore, India where 2.5 million people will meet can be viewed using Google Earth. The coordinates are 13 degrees 04' 38.12" N, 77degrees 35' 51.17" E

The foundation can facilitate interviews, accommodations, and transportation within India.

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