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May 21: World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development

Posted on May 16, 2016

Following UNESCO’s 2001 Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity, the UN General Assembly declared May 21 as the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development.

Starting in 2011, the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations has joined with UNESCO and other partners to launch the world campaign “Do One Thing for Diversity and Inclusion.” The campaign aims:

  • 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 everyday life gestures. 
  • To combat polarization and stereotypes to improve understanding and cooperation among people from different cultures.

As we read through the UN’s list of ten things you might do to celebrate the day, we saw that it’s possible to do many of those things from WWB Campus. Here’s the list, with suggestions on how to incorporate WWB Campus in italics:

  1. Visit an art exhibit or a museum dedicated to other cultures (The Guggenheim’s Tarascan Empire materials, for example, complement the poem “Purepecha Mother.”
  2. Invite a family or people in the neighborhood from another culture or religion to share a meal with you and exchange views on life. 
  3. Rent a movie or read a book from another country or religion than your own. (This applies to any piece of literature on WWB Campus! For different religions: “The Veiler of All Deeds” tells a story that centers around religious and social rules in Islam; the contextual materials for “Spirit Summoning” include information on contemporary religions in Japan, including Shintoism.
  4. Invite people from a different culture to share your customs. 
  5. Read about the great thinkers of other cultures than yours (e.g. Confucius, Socrates, Avicenna, Ibn Khaldun, Aristotle, Ganesh, Rumi). 
  6. Go next week-end to visit a place of worship different than yours and participate in the celebration. 
  7. 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.  
  8. 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. (Mrs. Saniya’s Holiday” takes place during Eid al-Fitr, the holiday celebrated at the end of Ramadan; in “Appointment in K City,” Xiaoli’s mother celebrates the traditional Chinese holidays Festival of Ghosts and the Double Ninth Festival; in “A Failed Journey,” which takes place in Mexico, Odette receives a bicycle from the Three Kings.
  9. Spread your own culture around the world through our Facebook page and learn about other cultures. 
  10. Explore music of a different culture. (Listen to Egyptian musician Umm Kulthum while reading “Proud Beggars;” narco-corridos alongside “Sleepless Homeland” and “Notes on a Zombie Cataclysm;” or a collection of multi-cultural music inspired by cicadas with Can Xue’s “The Old Cicada.”)

For those who live in New York City, AFS-USA is celebrating with a World Day for Cultural Diversity event this Thursday, May 19th. Register for the event by following this link.

Share with us how you used WWB Campus to celebrate World Day for Cultural Diversity!