April 28, 2016, Washington D.C. — The 14th International Festival of Language of Culture (IFLC) continued at the DAR Constitution Hall in Washington D.C. The event was attended by over 2800 people, including over 126 students from 27 countries. Among the participating countries were Albania, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, China, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Mozambique, Nigeria, Paraguay, Philippines, Romania, Russia, South Africa, Tanzania and the United States.
The program began at 6.30pm with a group performance by the student, with the opening song, titled “Colors of the World”. The emcee of the evening was Andy Garcia, a popular professional actor and director — who introduced the participants,their families and other distinguished guests to the colorful event.
Emre Celik, President of Rumi Forum in Washington D.C. welcomed the guests, briefly mentioning the history of the festival, including its inspiration, Fethullah Gulen, who inspired the groups and individuals to serve, become role models citizens and support initiatives that further mutual respect.
Asher Mayerson from the Office of Public Engagement in the White House, delivered a message on behalf of President Barack Obama:
“The rich cultures and unique histories of our global society are brought to life through mesmerizing dance and captivating performance. In demonstrating the traditions that make your heritages special, festivals like this one allow us to bear witness to the ways hope and beauty stem from songs of inclusion. Your efforts to unite young people from across the globe reflect the power our common humanity has to transcend what sets us apart. As you come together to celebrate the cultural mosaic that is our world and forge bonds of friendship, I wish you all the best.” – President Barack Obama
Other distinguished guests, including Ambassadors, U.S. Members of Congress, representatives from the White House, showed their support in embracing the youth and supporting the vision of the International Festival of Language and Culture.
Congressman Randy Weber (TX) was pleased with the attendance. The theme of the event, inspired by Fethullah Gulen, is a “global tapestry” that provides a “vision of peace”. “Cultural traditions help weave the fabric of nations…and are critical to understand perspectives”, he continued. In addition, he expressed his disappointment in the festival not being held in Turkey the past two years, due to “lack of freedom of speech and expression”.
Congressman Mike Honda (CA), also gave brief remarks, praising the event as one that “is vibrant and celebrates humanity”. As a former teacher and principal, he shed light on the importance of celebrating multiculturalism in promoting the message of peace, tolerance and service to humanity. “The world will be more respected if they understand the Gulen Movement”, he concluded.
Some of the popular songs performed were, “Waka Waka” from South Africa; “Kalinka”, one of Russia’s most recognized songs written more than 130 years ago; “What a Wonderful World”, sang by students from the Philippines, Albania and the United States.
The program continued with mesmerizing folk dances from Brazil, Mozambique, Kazakhstan, Turkey that showcased the rich color and traditions. The event concluded with the song, “Universal Peace”, performed by all students as an international choir.
The International Festival was started and held in Istanbul, Turkey in 2003, and attracted students from 14 countries. By 2016, it spread to over 145 countries with over 2000 participants worldwide. The International Festival of Language and Culture (IFLC) is an annual celebration and showcase for the diversity of linguistic talents from across the world. Its mission is to serve for global peace, research, learning, and information exchanges in support of friendship, and understanding.