Aishwarya Rai
Aishwarya Rai during the inauguration of a jewellery store in Cochin, Kerala, 19 August.Kalyan Jewellers/Facebook

Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan commemorated International Peace Day on Friday at the headquarters of the United Nations in New York City.

The former Miss World recited the Sanskrit verse 'Om Shanti' to invoke awareness of the need for peace in the world as she addressed students in the Big Apple and asked them to keep aside their egos and individual needs in order to find peace within themselves, Press Trust of India (PTI) reported.

"We need to cut out our wants, desires, basic ambition to try and override each other and expand power. Only then we will be able to find our peace," she said.

Celebrated since 1982, International Peace Day is observed annually on Sept 21 and is dedicated to the promotion and strengthening of the ideals of peace.

During the event, Aishwarya met several eminent personalities such as UN Messengers of Peace actor Michael Douglas, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, British anthropologist Jane Goodall, Jewish-American writer and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel and American actress and singer Monique Coleman.

The Indian beauty, who represented her country in an elegant cream lehenga and a black sequenced top, also took part in a panel discussion on 'Sustainable Peace for a Sustainable Future' which was attended by students from across the country.  

The International Peace Day event also marked the beginning of Aishwarya's involvement in the UN which could see her working with the organization on pressing issues of health and AIDS.

"This experience, my journey beginning today with the United Nations is quite a learning curve for me," she said adding, "I am a great believer in the UN because uniting for a better world is what we all are very passionate about here. Unity takes courage, commitment and leadership."

"I want to express my deepest gratitude to those who need no introduction: Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Monique Coleman, Michael Douglas, Dr. Jane Goodall, Forest Whitaker, Professor Elie Wiesel. Thank you for lending your voice and your prominence to the cause of peace," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said.

Aishwarya considered it an honour to be participating in the event. "It is an absolute honour to be here. I am glad I have been able to participate because it truly is an honour and I am looking forward to the whole experience," she told PTI.