A very warm good afternoon to you all, and in particular to Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, respected dignitaries and everyone who is watching this wonderful celebration of humanity, both near and far.
It is with a deep sense of honour and responsibility that I stand before you today. During these past days here in Washington, we have not shied away from discussing some of the key challenges facing our world, from climate change to artificial intelligence. As we deal with them, the common thread that runs through all of this is the critical role that political leaders play in shaping the well-being of our society.
The best form of leadership is to demonstrate example through service, which is the embodiment of mutual respect, encouragement, empathy, and kindness. This isn’t just good in itself. It produces happier workforces, higher productivity, and much better outcomes. Without leaders who can, through the maintenance of their own well-being, radiate calmness, and true servant leadership, then the forces of division, violence and destruction will prevail. We must not let that happen.
We are fortunate to have many examples across the world, both past and present, of servant leadership, many of whom are immortalised in this great capital city, and of course I applaud Gurudev in his tireless work, from Columbia through to the Middle East and beyond.
The World Culture Festival, which promotes peace and unity worldwide, can help bridge divisions and replace them with a true sense of belonging. It is my fervent wish to see a future Festival being held in the United Kingdom where the welcome will be just as warm and enthusiastic as the welcome we have seen here in the United States. As a proud Welshman, and as a proud representative of the town that I call home, Swindon, in the UK Parliament, I would love you all to come with me and meet the warmest and kindest people anywhere in the world.
Congratulations to all the organisers and performers and The Art of Living Foundation. Thank you.