21st May, is the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, a day declared in December 2002, to provide us with an opportunity to deepen our understanding of the values of cultural diversity and to learn to live together better.
The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) in partnership with UNESCO and a wide coalition of partners from corporations to civil society is launching the world campaign “Do One Thing for Diversity and Inclusion”, aimed at engaging people around the world to Do One Thing to support Cultural Diversity and Inclusion.
The General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) adopted the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity in Paris, France on 2nd November 2001. It was the 249th resolution adopted at the 57th session of the United Nations General Conference. Although the declaration was the conclusion of years of work, it was adopted in the wake of the terrorist attacks on 11th September 2001. This reiterated the need for intercultural dialogue to prevent exclusion and fundamentalism.
The year 2002 was the United Nations Year for Cultural Heritage. At the end of that year, on 20th December 2002, the General Assembly of the United Nations declared 21st May to be the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. The General Assembly emphasised links between the protection of cultural diversity and the importance of dialogue between civilisations in the modern world. The World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development was first observed in 2003.
Culture is a driving force of development, not only in respect to economic growth, but also in promoting social cohesion and intercultural dialogue. Protecting, preserving and promoting culture, including cultural diversity, is one of the central pillars of UNESCO’s work. UNESCO is a key advocate for the role of culture in development and UNESCO’s international conventions are essential tools for raising awareness of the importance of culture.
In announcing the international celebration, UNESCO campaigns to:
- To raise awareness worldwide about the importance of intercultural dialogue, diversity and inclusion.
- To build a world community of individuals committed to support diversity with real and every day-life gestures.
- To combat polarisation and stereotypes to improve understanding and cooperation among people from different cultures.
What do people do?
Various events are organised to increase the understanding of issues around cultural diversity and development among governments, non-governmental organisations and the public. Many of these include presentations on the progress of implementing the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity.
- Seminars for professionals.
- Educational programs for children and young adolescents.
- Celebrations to create greater awareness of cultural values and the need to preserve them.
- Exhibitions to help people understand the history of various cultural groups and the influence on their own identities.
- The launch of collaborations between official agencies and ethnic groups.
The World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development tends to be marked in countries that embraced their varied cultural history and acknowledged the importance of embracing it.
Join the worldwide campaign, “Do One Thing for Diversity and Inclusion”, like the Facebook page and encourage your family, your friends, your co-workers and your neighbours to Do One Thing to support Diversity and Inclusion on the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development on 21st May.
Every one of us can do ONE thing for diversity and inclusion; even one very little thing can become a global action if we all take part in it.