Morris Mkwate Sunday Mail News Editor
President Mugabe left for India yesterday to attend the World Cultural Festival which opens in the capital New Delhi this week.
Vice President Mnangagwa is Acting President.
The President, who is travelling with Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi and other senior Government officials, was seen off at Harare International Airport by Vice Presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko, Cabinet ministers and service chiefs.
The festival celebrates cultural diversity across the globe and highlights growing unity among humans.
Several world leaders are expected to attend, with some scheduled to address thousands from various countries, religions and cultures.
Top musical and arts groups will then spice things up with performances that depict cultural diversity.
The event has been organised by The Art of Living, an educational and humanitarian organisation that promotes peace via conflict resolution, disaster relief, education for all, sustainable rural development, women empowerment, environmental sustainability and prisoner rehabilitation.
Philanthropist and spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar of India founded the organisation in 1981, and has helped 370 million-plus people in 155 countries.
All programmes are premised on Sri Sri’s philosophy, “Unless we have a stress-free mind and a violence-free society, we cannot achieve world peace”.
The Art of Living says: “Culture binds us together and showcases our diversity. The underlying joy that culture brings resonates across the globe. “When we celebrate culture, we celebrate all our communities and enjoy the different expressions of the commonality. Building bridges between people and nations; it is culture that preserves our roots and deepens our bonds.”
Zimbabwe, too, is promoting cultural diversity and rural development. In September 2015, President Mugabe extracted the Culture component from the then Sports, Arts and Culture Ministry and fashioned out a full-fledged portfolio focused on Rural Development and Cultural Heritage.