US State Department hosts Diwali after Covid hiatus
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken hosted in-person Diwali reception following a gap of two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This event, which follows the White House's biggest Diwali event on October 24, received guests from the diplomatic and religious communities, from the private sector and from all across civil society.
"Simply to you: it's an honour - an honour to host you at the State Department for this first in-person Diwali since before the pandemic," Blinken said in his remarks at a Diwali reception.
"Over the past few days, Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists have decorated their homes with rungolee; they've shared sweets; they've given thanks through pooja; they've lit sparklers. All around the world, from the streets of New Delhi, to the parks of Kuala Lumpur, to right down the street at the White House, people have gathered to share in the simple joy of being around friends and family," he added.
Speaking to the diplomatic, and civil society members present at the reception, Blinken said they are playing an invaluable role in helping to connect the US with local populations abroad, and "by pushing us to do more to support religious freedom around the world."