About the Author: Lydia Barraza serves as Assistant Cultural Affairs Officer at U.S. Embassy New Delhi.
Packing the lawn of the American Center New Delhi, our young contacts came to hear Nashville Freight, an alternative country band composed of both Americans and Indians, and the Indian rock-pop-reggae hit band, Tough on Tobacco. While dancing to the music, attendees were treated to American pizza, sandwiches, drinks, and ice cream and took turns posing for pictures with the cutout of President Obama.
Engaging a new, young audience meant reaching out on Facebook, Twitter, social events newspapers, and partnering with the only fully English-language radio station in New Delhi. We also tried something new: providing American FSOs as Master of Ceremonies (MCs) in both English and Hindi. Just two weeks into my assignment as Assistant Cultural Affairs Officer, I was recruited to be the Hindi-speaking MC, and entertained the crowd with plenty of "Namastes" and formally welcomed those who joined us to celebrate the world's oldest democracy in the capital of the world's largest democracy.
And rock they did, as college students, members of the youth leadership organization Youth Parliament, environmental activists, and general lovers of music convened to rock to the tunes and enjoy an all-American Saturday night with some added Indian spice. The young people explored the services available at the American Center library, learned about our cultural programming, and subscribed to the new e-version of our public affairs magazine, SPAN. And of course, what better way to celebrate our Independence Day and our growing and strong partnership with India than with over 500 of our friends singing Happy Birthday to the United States?
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