The opening ceremony for the Italian leg of the World Harmony Tour (WHR) is in front of the Colosseum on Thursday 27 March.
WHR is a global relay that seeks to promote international friendship and understanding. As a symbol of harmony, runners carry a flaming torch, passing it from hand to hand as they travel through over 100 nations around the globe. WHR does not seek to raise money or highlight any political cause, but simply strives to create goodwill among all people.
People of all nationalities, faiths and traditions participate in this event created by Indian philosopher and guru, Sri Chinmoy, in 1987. WHR is organised by an international network of volunteers, and the relay teams in each participating country are made up of runners from all walks of life. From Rome the run will cross the Apennines and reach Milan on 2 April.
Friends of the run have included John Paul II, Mikahil Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa. This year the WHR spokesman is 9-time Olympic gold medallist Carl Lewis.