Chandigarh's International Peace Festival bridges borders

      Nearly 500 students from different countries participated in the annual International Peace Festival held in Chandigarh. The five-day festival, from September 27 to October 1, saw students from Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, USA, Philippines interact and exchange with each other their views and experiences. "This festival is basically bringing these students together, these change makers. It's creating an opportunity and it's a platform for peace," said Christine Singh, one of the coordinators of the festival. The objective of the festival was to make the international students mingle and interact with each other, for which the organisers made many of them stay in Indian households. "I think that people from around the world really need to join together and I think as a whole, as a world, we have missed a lot of connections and I think it would be good if we just came together again," said Lexi Macavinchey, a participant from USA. The cultural presentations by students from the various countries also stole the show as they entertained the audience with their mesmerising performances. "Music reaches the hearts of people. It brings the message of peace to the community. So I thought what better way than presenting local and international music. So we mixed local and international and local musical instruments and formed a fusion and are performing here to tell the people that we have brought the message of peace that we want to convey through our music," said Firoze, a Pakistani participant. The delegation from Pakistan appeared keen to improve relations with India and left with a pledge to organise a similar festival in Pakistan to carry forward the peace process with India.

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