In 2002 the United Nations General Assembly declared 21 May to be the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, following the adoption of the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) in 2001.The United Nations sees the promotion of cultural diversity, and intercultural dialogue and understanding to be crucial for building peace between nations and eradicating poverty. The World Day for Cultural Diversity offers an opportunity to promote such dialogue, and to educate ourselves on what role cultural diversity has to play in a peaceful and just world.
In her message for the 2017 World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, the UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, reflects on the importance of cultural diversity for sustainable development:
With the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the international community has
recognized the essential role of culture as a driver of change and development.
Achieving the 17 goals will be impossible without drawing upon the strength and
creative potential of humanity’s diversity of cultures, without engaging in continuous
dialogue to ensure that all members of society benefit from development.
Building on human rights, UNESCO believes that our differences and diversity make
us stronger and that respect for cultural diversity is essential for fostering intercultural
dialogue, sustainable development and peace. As we work together to make the
2030 Agenda a reality – and to counter the threats to our cultural diversity – let us be
guided by the spirit of this day, knowing that by embracing our cultural diversity, we
can weave a brighter “garment of destiny” for us all.
– Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General, Message for the 2017 World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development
The United Nations and UNESCO provide some great information and resources on their websites on the importance of cultural diversity, and the work that they are doing around the world to foster intercultural and interreligious dialogue. Have a look at: