Secretary Kerry to Host Diwali Celebration

Notice to the Press
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
October 22, 2014

Secretary of State John Kerry will host the Obama Administration’s Annual Diwali Celebration to honor the Hindu, Sikh, and Jain holiday celebrated throughout the world. The event will be held at 6 p.m. on October 23, in the Benjamin Franklin Room at the U.S. Department of State.

Diwali, also known as the “Festival of Lights,” celebrates the triumph of light over darkness, signified by the lighting of oil lamps. It is celebrated by many Indians, across South Asia, and by millions of people around the world.

After an introduction by Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Nisha Biswal, Secretary Kerry will deliver remarks that celebrate the important contributions Indian and South-Asian Americans have made to the United States, and highlight the State Department’s commitment to human dignity, compassion, and service – a commitment that is at the heart of all great faiths.

Secretary Kerry will be joined on stage by Indian Ambassador to the United States S. Jaishankar

Following their remarks, Secretary Kerry and Ambassador Jaishankar will light a traditional Diwali oil lamp. Local Hindu Priest Narayanachar L. Digalakote from the Sri Siva Vishnu temple will preside over the ceremonial lighting and will drape Secretary Kerry with a traditional shawl, consistent with Hindu tradition.

The event will be open to the press.

Pre-set time for video cameras: 5:30 p.m. from the C Street Lobby.

Final access time for writers and still photographers: 5:45 p.m. from the C Street Lobby.

Media representatives may attend this event upon presentation of one of the following: (1) A U.S. Government-issued identification card (Department of State, White House, Congress, Department of Defense or Foreign Press Center), (2) a media-issued photo identification card, or (3) a letter from their employer on letterhead verifying their employment as a journalist, accompanied by an official photo identification card (driver's license, passport).

For further information, please contact Mark Thornburg, Press Chief, U.S. Department of State Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, at 202-647-8914 or Ryan Norton, Press Officer, at 202-647-7940.