World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development

World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development

Every May 21, since 2001, the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development is celebrated to highlight the cultural diversity that exists in today’s societies, especially to make visible those cultures that are biased.

This date was established in 2001 by UNESCO and incorporated and reaffirmed by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 2002. This day aims to raise awareness about the importance of intercultural dialogue and the development of policies that contribute to the inclusion of the various sectors of society and practices to reduce polarization concerning cultural stereotypes. According to the UN, these measures are part of many resources to improve understanding and cooperation between different cultures.

In the UNESCO declaration, the organization highlights the importance of cultural diversity and its manifestations, this being as fundamental for humans as the biodiversity of living organisms.

It is a community heritage that we must all consolidate, considering the current diversification that we find in all contemporary societies. Day by day, we live in tremendous cultural pluralism, thanks to globalization and other social factors.

Since we are all part of the same world and live with people from different cultures, we can take advantage of this for our cultural enrichment, nurturing ourselves, and learning daily.

Beauty, development, and culture in diversity

Cultural diversity is made visible in the most varied forms, whether religious beliefs, artistic expressions, and in general, in all human activity. People, through our actions, reflect our culture.

These differences or peculiarities enrich our life in society in many aspects, be it spiritual, moral, intellectual, etc. And the most important thing is that they contribute to achieving the necessary strength to perform a specific social and economic development rate.

Diversity allows us to grow in all aspects since it comes hand in hand with innovation, creativity, and intercommunication between different societies. Otherwise, our human social nature would be weakened and even threatened.

Culture as a source of resilience

During mass confinement, billions of people turned to culture as a source of comfort, well-being, and connection. There has been an increase in the creation and access to cultural content online, from virtual tours of museums and galleries, streaming movies, and even community choirs through social media, showcasing the critical role of culture in societies. Throughout history, great crises have given rise to a renaissance of culture and an explosion of new forms of creativity, which are vital for human progress.

Why does cultural diversity matter?

Three-quarters of the most significant conflicts have a cultural dimension.

Overcoming the divide between cultures is urgent and necessary for peace, stability, and development. And it is that culture, in its rich diversity, has an intrinsic value both for growth and for social cohesion and peace.

Cultural diversity is a driving force for development, not only in terms of economic growth but also in achieving a more enriching intellectual, affective, moral, and spiritual life. All of this is present in the seven culture conventions, which provide a solid foundation for promoting cultural diversity. This diversity is an essential component to reducing poverty and achieving the goal of sustainable development, thanks, among others, to the normative device, now complete, elaborated in the cultural sphere.

Simultaneously, recognizing cultural diversity – through innovative use of the media and ICTs in particular – leads to a dialogue between civilizations and cultures, respect, and mutual understanding.

Origin and spirit of the International Day

The UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity was approved in 2001. Then the United Nations General Assembly declared May 21 as the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development through its resolution 57/249 of December 2002.

In 2011, UNESCO and the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations launched the “Make a gesture for Diversity and Inclusion” campaign to encourage people and organizations around the world to take concrete action to support diversity.

Finally, in 2015, the Second Committee of the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted the resolution on Culture and Sustainable Development A/C.2/70/L.59, affirming the contribution of culture to the three dimensions of sustainable development: recognizing the world’s diversity far beyond the natural and cultural, reaffirming that cultures and civilizations can contribute to sustainable development and their role as crucial enabling factors.

It is an international day on which we must delve into the great values of cultural diversity:

Raise awareness of the importance of intercultural dialogue, diversity, and inclusion.

Get all of us to commit to and support diversity through genuine gestures daily.

Combat polarization and stereotypes to improve understanding and cooperation between people of different cultures.

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