Exclusive: Garth Brooks Travels to Vatican To Perform and Talk World Peace

Garth Brooks spent Mother’s Day weekend with Trisha Yearwood at the Vatican in Rome, searching for international common ground at the World Meeting on Human Fraternity conference. 

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Or, more simply, world peace.

In addition to Brooks, who closed the conference with an acoustic performance, the event also included a host of other International superstars, politicians, Nobel Peace Prize winners, and professional athletes, all dedicated to finding and promoting peace in areas including environment, education, business, agriculture, and health.

“You learn a lot of things,” Brooks told American Songwriter. “The whole message was, ‘It’s going to take all the religions and all beliefs,’ which I liked. Right now, it’s just in the talking phase, but you can’t have reality without dreams. Somebody’s got to think of it. And the hardest part, of course, is going to be making it become a reality.”

More than 350 guests participated in the conference, organized under the #BeHuman theme. While communication was a problem given the diversity of languages spoken, Brooks said one thing he quickly learned that crossed any cultural boundary—people’s love for their children. The singer said as soon as he started asking people if they had kids, conversations opened up, and he realized that parents worldwide largely had the same stories. 

Garth Brooks: “What You Find Is: We’re Really Not That Different”

“What you find is: we’re really not that different,” Brooks said. “You’re sitting at a table with [Nelson Mandela’s widow, Graca Machel] Mandela…the Cardinal [who led discussions]…Nobel Peace Prize winners and all we talked about were our children…the future…policy – stuff like that. What occurs to you is the borders that are between us are the walls we’ve built ourselves. And – it’s funny – the only ones who can take down those walls are the same people who built them.”

The Fratelli Tutti Foundation asked Garth to perform. Conference guests met with Pope Francis on Saturday, and Brooks said it was encouraging to see people from so many different cultures gather for the same peaceful purpose. 

Other American conference attendees included NASA Administrator and former astronaut and U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, New York City Mayor Eric Adams and NFL icon Tom Brady.

When differing cultures can discover a more universal way to communicate, he said, the path to peace will be an easier to journey.

“I tell you, it is so worth the work it’s going to take,” Brooks said. “The overall goal was that the majority of the population live in peace. That’s all they want.”

Garth closed the event with an acoustic performance of “The River,” “Amazing Grace” and “The Change.”

“Everyone there was exactly the same,” he said. “You know, you can try to change the world, but the more important message right now is just [to] let the world know that it will not change you.”

(Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

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