For the first time in Havana, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, spiritual leader who is also the President and creator of the Art of Living foundation, was warmly welcomed, after having been awarded with a high Civilian Honor in Colombia, the Simón Bolívar Order.
His three-day visit that took place between the 26th and the 28th of June, included a variety of activities, ranging from the interaction with the Cuban audience to the talks with the members of the Colombian FARC immersed in the peace talks being hosted in Havana.
Shortly after arrival in Cuban soil, a crowd received him at the University of Havana, where his lecture “How to improve our life quality: The Secret of Happiness” had been scheduled. Before moving to the amphitheater of the Law School, Sri Sri was welcomed by the Rector of the University, Mr. Gustavo Cobreiro, and the Vice Rector Frank González. Also present in the interaction was Indian Ambassador in Havana, C. Rajasekhar.
This lecture, in which Sri Sri made special emphasis on human values and the elimination of stress through practical programs, was attended by representatives of the Diplomatic Corps accredited to Cuba, members of the University board, admirers of the Indian culture, members of religious groups, and public in general. Participants enjoyed, as well, a twenty-minute meditation led by the master.
Following this first event, Sri Sri had several rounds of discussions with the FARC members, which had positive outcomes. Also important was his interaction with Silvio Irola, President of the Cuban Peace Movement; Eloisa Valdés, member of the Office for Religious Affairs of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party; and some members of the Cuban Interreligious Platform.
In his second evening in the country, an Open House was hosted at the Indian Residence in Havana, where participants were able to enjoy, once again, the first-hand teachings of this spiritual guru, as well as meditation. Exchange was equally comprehensive and tackled topics such as the introduction of Art of Living in Cuba.
Sunday morning started with a press conference at the National Hotel in which Sri Sri elaborated more on the mission of Art of Living and the positive results it has proved to have in over 150 countries. In his final remarks, the spiritual guru thanked the Indian Ambassador C. Rajasekhar, the Colombian and Cuban Governments, the Colombian Ambassador to Mexico, and all the members of the FARC for helping this historic visit.