Washington, DC–For the first time ever, the US State Department organized Diwali celebrations at the State Department in collaboration with the Embassy of India, Washington D.C. on Monday.
The Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan and Ambassador of India to the United States Navtej Sarna were chief guests. Over 200 guests including officials of the US State Department and Embassy of India attended the celebrations.
Ambassador Sarna and Deputy Secretary of State Sullivan jointly lighted the ceremonial lamp and addressed the gathering.
Sullivan conveyed his greetings to all Indians on the occasion of Diwali and thanked the Embassy of India and the South Asian American Employee Association (SAAEA) for organizing the event.
He mentioned that the uniting theme in the celebration of Diwali is the thread of triumph – good over evil, light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance. He also said that the message of Diwali is one of hope and added that the celebration of Diwali at the State Department reflected the great strength of partnership with India and shared values of tolerance, diversity, freedom and justice.
In his remarks, Ambassador Sarna expressed his appreciation for the initiative taken by SAAEA for celebrating Diwali at the State Department.
He said that the celebration of Diwali at the State Department symbolized the growing people to people connect between India and the US. He highlighted the rising profile and growing recognition of the contribution of US citizens of Indian origin, including within the US State Department. He also made a reference to release of Diwali stamp by the United States Postal Service in 2016 in recognition of the closer cultural ties and commonalities between the two democracies.
The celebrations included recital of Hindustani classical music played on Tabla and Sitar. The function ended with the serving of vegetarian Indian food.