In 2002, the United Nations introduced the annual World Day of Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, or Cultural Diversity Day, for short. In the wake of the terrorist attacks on 9/11, this date — 21 May — was a reminder “to reject outright the theory of the inevitable clash of cultures and civilizations” and “to raise awareness worldwide about the importance of intercultural dialogue”.
It’s easy to think that such lofty goals as helping to promote world peace, or finding the perfect balance between the particularities of various cultures and the universalism of human rights, have little or nothing to do with our everyday lives. But the UN actually lists ten simple thingsyou can do to celebrate this goal:
for Dialogue and Development
Ten simple things YOU can do to celebrate the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development
- Visit an art exhibit or a museum dedicated to other cultures.
- Invite a family or people in the neighborhood from another culture or religion to share a meal with you and exchange views on life.
- Rent a movie or read a book from another country or religion than your own.
- Invite people from a different culture to share your customs.
- Read about the great thinkers of other cultures than yours (e.g. Confucius, Socrates, Avicenna, IbnKhaldun, Aristotle, Ganesh, Rumi).
- Go next week-end to visit a place of worship different than yours and participate in the celebration.
- Play the “stereotypes game.” Stick a post-it on your forehead with the name of a country. Ask people to tell you stereotypes associated with people from that country. You win if you find out where you are from.
- Learn about traditional celebrations from other cultures; learn more about Hanukkah or Ramadan or about amazing celebrations of New Year’s Eve in Spain or Qingming festival in China.
- Spread your own culture around the world through our Facebook page and learn about other cultures.
- Explore music of a different culture.
If you would like more information please email me, Laurie O’Donnell at laurie-odonnell@