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International Day for Tolerance - 16 November


International Day for Tolerance
16 November 2001


New Zealanders are being urged to observe the International Day for Tolerance by finding one practical way of showing tolerance towards others.

The Chairperson of the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO, Margaret Austin, says the terrorist atrocity of September 11 has shown us that now more than ever, tolerance needs to be something that is active, something that is put into practice on a daily basis.

“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. I hope everybody can find one way to do that today,” Mrs Austin said.

The blind criminal violence perpetrated on September 11 does not mean that UNESCO’s efforts to promote an ideal of tolerance and non-violence are in vain she said.

“It is all the more reason to step up our action to eradicate the deep-seated causes of violence. These include poverty and exclusion, ignorance and discrimination.”

The recently concluded UNESCO General Conference in Paris, which brought together representatives of 190 countries, acknowledged this Mrs Austin commented. They reiterated the importance of education in addressing human values and 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’. This 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 day, to focus on our own attitudes and values.”

For more information please contact: Margaret Austin (03) 358 86 87
Mary Klaver, Acting Secretary NZ National Commission for UNESCO: Tel: (04) 473 5529

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