We have discovered a new approach to world peace – through the
natural goodness of children.
2007 INDEPENDENCE DAY FRIENDSHIP CELEBRATION
Sixty years and three generations after Independence, an
historical event will take place on the India-Pakistan frontier:
the Independence Day Border Celebration.
On the night of August 14th and into the early hours of August
15th, preeminent artists will come together to lead the youth of
both countries into a new era of friendship and cultural
interaction. This celebration will begin with two hours of
pre-produced television programming, and will culminate with a
live broadcast from a stage actually spanning the international
border. For the first time ever, the people of India and
Pakistan will come together to honor their common history, their
common humanity, and their common dreams, while acknowledging and
respecting the fact that their nations are pursuing separate
Through a combination of network broadcast partners, the
Independence Day Friendship Celebration will be available in
every home in India and Pakistan – and the programming promises
to be stunningly compelling, soulfully moving, and thoroughly
The celebration will have two distinct, but interrelated, aspects
of creative content: “cultural” and “inspirational”.
Popular music will dominate the “cultural” presentation. We are
in the process of lining up a number of the most acclaimed bands
of India and Pakistan, who will perform separately and
collaboratively during both the pre-programmed and live events.
The “inspirational” presentations will establish both the tone
and the theme of this event, and will take several forms,
including pre-taped messages for friendship from the common
people and similar expressions from top celebrities. Celebrities
will also serve as live interviewers at the event, capturing the
feelings of people in the audience about the joint celebration
and about the larger issues of people-to-people interaction.
Children from both countries will read from their heartfelt
letters of friendship, written as part of the Friends Without
Borders project. We have already witnessed the power in these
public readings – they were an essential feature of our large
stadium events – which, at their tamest, melt hearts, and at
their most powerful, raise goose-bumps.
Poetry, graphic arts, sculptural installations, and multi-media
artwork will serve as the creative bridge between the “cultural”
and “inspirational” aspects of the celebration.
We have not settled on a definitive location for the live border
concert. The Wagah crossing is our first choice, since it is
both iconic and already contains the appropriate infrastructure.
But we are also entertaining the idea of a remote desert venue –
such as the border between Munabao, Rajastan and Khokrapar,
Sindh – and we are working with officers within the Border
Security Force to identify other suitable venues. We understand
the need to be flexible on this point. Our first priority is
that the concert stage is situated on the very border itself.
We have, however, developed a fallback alternative if we are
unable to obtain permissions to be on the actual border.
Instead, the celebrations will take place on two stages – one in
India, and the other in Pakistan – but coordinated as though they
were occurring on a single stage, with the events from each venue
beamed live to the other. In this way, the participants and the
audience will have the feeling of being part of a common
celebration, despite the physical dislocation. There can be
powerful symbolism in this: a new age of friendship where
technology allows people to come together despite physical
barriers – where the spirit of the people triumphs over the
political status quo which denies them access to the border
We can provide more detailed memoranda regarding both the
creative content and the logistical considerations for both the
pre-produced television broadcast and the live border concert
Please join us in making the dream of normalized
people-to-people, heart-to-heart interaction between these two
great countries a reality.
Friends Without Borders began in late 2005, and in just a short
time, we have gathered and exchanged tens of thousands of letters
between the children of India and Pakistan.
The idea is simple. When a child writes or receives a friendship
letter, it helps to humanize the kids on the other side of the
border. The letter-writing process itself creates deep and
lasting amicable impressions that in many cases will lead to
Our objective is to bring together an entire generation in the
spirit of friendship, counteracting many of the biases and
prejudices they may otherwise inherit. This new outlook opens
the possibility for a brighter, more productive, more joyful
future for India and Pakistan, even as they pursue their
separate, sovereign national agendas.
An all-volunteer project, the Friends Without Borders campaign
quickly turned into a large-scale movement. To learn more, you
can watch some of our multi-media presentations, including our
award-nominated public service television commercial, a short
film about the initial phase of our project, and slide shows
introducing the project and capturing the spirit of our World’s
Largest Love Letter events.
Visit our website:
Contact us directly:
John Silliphant; +91 93226 72588
Mark Jacobs +91 98942 77315
Yoo-Mi Lee +91 99446 10888