“My vision is of a world that is crime-free, stress-free and violence-free.”
- Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Sri Sri is visiting Los Angeles in April. To find out about our programs during his visit, click here.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (Shree Shree) is a spiritual leader and humanitarian whose Art of Living Foundation is active in 152 countries on six continents.
In 1981, he started the Art of Living Foundation, an international nonprofit educational and humanitarian organization that works in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. Its educational and self-development programs offer powerful tools to eliminate stress and foster a sense of well-being. In the United States, the Foundation’s programs are helping youth in inner cities turn away from gang violence, drugs and alcohol, toward greater generosity and service.
In 1997, he founded the International Association for Human Values, a humanitarian Non-Governmental Organization that advances human values in political, economic, industrial, and social spheres. In India, South Africa, and Latin America, the Association is working in poor rural communities to promote sustainable growth, and has reached more than 30,000 villages.
Born in India in 1956, as a young child he was often found deep in meditation and astonished his teachers by reciting the Bhagavad Gita, an ancient Indian text. To know him is to understand his impact on the world through the many roles he plays:
As a spiritual leader, he was named the fifth-most-powerful person in India by Forbes magazine in 2009. His Art of Living programs and initiatives have touched the lives of people and communities around the world. Bringing his transformative presence, he regularly addresses international institutions and summits, from the U.N. Millennium Peace Summit to the World Economic Forum, and many more.
As an ambassador of peace, Sri Sri brings opposition groups together in dialogue, fostering conflict resolution in hot spots around the world. He recently addressed the 2nd Israeli Presidential Conference, advised on peace initiatives in Iraq at the invitation of P.M. Nouri al-Maliki, traveled as a mediator to Sri Lanka during the civil war at the request of President Mahinda Rajapakse, and mediated conflicts in Kashmir, Cameroon and South Africa.
As a humanitarian, his social initiatives address an array of issues such as environmental protection (more than 100 million trees planted worldwide), prisoner rehabilitation courses (more than 350,000 prisoners), women’s empowerment programs (5.000 women in Iraq alone), and the opening of 86 schools in Africa and Asia changing the lives of thousands of children. In the United States, his programs teach inner city youth how to manage negative emotions, resulting in profound transformations on the personal and social level decreasing the cycle of violence at home and in the streets (over 35 public high schools, more than 6,000 students). His trauma relief teams brought immense support to the victims of the Asian Tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and in war torn regions such as In Kosovo, Pakistan, Lebanon and to Iraq veterans.
As a role model and an inspiration, his vision of a violence free, stress free society through the reawakening of the highest human values has reached out to many millions of people worldwide. As Vice President Joe Biden noted while celebrating the Art of Living Foundation’s 25th Anniversary at the Kennedy Center, in Washington, D.C.: he has inspired an Art of Living Foundation that has an “incredible following, that cuts through all religions, cultures, and backgrounds.
Not since Mahatma Gandhi has one person united so many people of different traditions, races, religions, ages, and nationalities, creating a spiritual community across the globe. His universal and simple message is that love and wisdom can prevail over hatred and violence. Remarkably, this message has been translated into action and result.
For more information on Sri Sri click here.