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World Day for Cultural Diversity

World Day for Cultural Diversity

New Zealanders are being urged to observe the World Day for Cultural Diversity (Note subs: marked globally tomorrow Thursday) by reaching out to someone of another culture.

The Chair of the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO the Hon Margaret Austin says recent events have shown us that there is more need than ever for tolerance and understanding between different peoples, cultures and religions.

“Being able to live together has become a major world issue. Let us make sure in our own little corner of the world that we can live together in tolerance and with respect for cultural diversity,” Mrs Austin said.

Mrs Austin says as the intrinsic importance of biodiversity has been acknowledged so too cultural diversity is now being seen as equally critical.

“This was a key message from the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg last year and the Prime Minister Helen Clarke, in her address to the conference, emphasised the need for the global community to look at adding culture to the environmental, economic and social aspects of sustainability. We are all becoming more aware of the challenges globalisation creates for the maintenance of cultural diversity,” Mrs Austin said.

The UNESCO NZ Chair says the United Nations proclaimed May 21 as the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development to raise public awareness of the value of cultural diversity and to promote the notion of the peoples of the world “living together” in peace.

The need for education programmes throughout the world to give attention to ‘learning to be’ and ‘learning to live together’ as well as the traditional focus on ‘learning to do’ and ‘learning to know’ was the central recommendation of the 1995 report on Learning for the 21st Century and it now seems more relevant than ever Mrs Austin said.

“Tolerance, in the words of the UNESCO Constitution ‘begins in the minds of men’. Let us, each one of us, use this World Day for Cultural Diversity enjoy the richness that cultural diversity brings to our society.”

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