Each year, the World Day for Cultural Diversity brings a plethora of events and activities that seek to bring art, language and culture to the forefront. This has included celebrations in countries all over the world, international conferences on public art, speeches and commemorative services, charity partnerships and so much more.
World Day for Cultural Diversity
The United Nations Educational, Cultural, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) can be given credit for founding this day, officially known as the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. As far back as 2001, the organization’s Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity was made to call for measures to protect the cultural identities and diversity of the world as it may be at risk due to globalization.
It was in December of 2002 that the UN General Assembly voted to adopt the resolution declaring the World Day for Cultural Diversity to be celebrated the following year. The event has several purposes, including supporting sustainable systems of governance for culture, integrating culture into sustainable development goals, promoting human rights and freedoms, and increasing the flow and mobility of products from artists and other cultural professionals.
September of 2022 brought together representatives from 150 states throughout the world with the MONDIACULT gathering which took place in Mexico. This event was the largest conference devoted to culture to have taken place in the last four decades. Out of that conference, the Declaration for Culture was unanimously adopted affirming culture for its “global public good”.
How to Celebrate World Day for Cultural Diversity
Take a look at some unique and interesting ideas to get more involved with celebrating and embracing the fascinating diversity of people from cultures all over the globe through World Day for Cultural Diversity:
Learn About a Different Cultures
Gaining insight and information into different cultures from around the world is a fascinating and exciting practice! From reading books to watching documentaries, from hearing words in a different language to speaking to a native from another land, learning more about another culture can build bridges and bring the world closer.
A great way to learn is to head over to a local public library and check out some books on a culture of interest. Or, wander through the travel and culture section of a locally owned bookstore to see what kind of information can be gleaned through photos, maps, language tips and more.
Travel to Learn More About Culture
While general tourism is likely to only bring about a surface level of learning, those who are able to participate in cultural exchanges can learn so much from the experience. High school and college students often have access to cultural programs that allow them to do more than just visit, but to truly live among people from another culture for an extended period of time.
Those who are no longer students or who are not eligible for cultural exchange programs can travel in a way that better introduces them to local culture. It requires a bit of an adventurous spirit, but traveling off the beaten path, avoiding the typical tours and going exploring on your own (with safety precautions, of course), or hiring a local person to act as an insider guide are all great ways to get a more authentic experience.
Watch Cultural Documentaries
Those who are not necessarily able to travel, as it can be expensive and time-consuming, can still gain access to various insights by watching documentaries that feature cultural insights. Consider some of these interesting titles to get started with:
- God Grew Tired of Us (2006). This documentary features the stories of three of the estimated 20,000 Lost Boys of Sudan who fled the civil war there starting in 1983.
- Happiness (2013). Follow the life of a young boy from Bhutan as he experiences technology for the first time and learn more about the end of traditional lifestyle in the Himalayas.
- A Kalahari Family (2002). A unique cultural perspective that spans five generations of bushmen families in southern Africa, this documentary is one of the most respected films in the ethnographic field.
- Nanook of the North (1922). This silent masterpiece, now more than a century old, continues to captivate audiences with its depiction of a year in the life of a native Inuit hunting family on the Ungava Peninsula in Eastern Canada.
Those who live in smaller towns or places where diversity is less common can begin stretching themselves by visiting larger cities or places with diverse populations. University towns might have larger populations of internationals and large cities often have immigrant populations.
Visiting an ethnic restaurant and striking up a conversation with the proprietor could be an excellent opportunity. After all, most people are proud of their cultural heritage and are happy to share their experiences and knowledge! Who knows? It might even turn into a new friendship.
Visit a Cultural Diversity Museum
Get to know more of the background of different cultures from near or far by visiting a museum in celebration of the World Day for Cultural Diversity. Check out some of these to get started:
- National Museum of African American Culture and History in Washington, DC
- Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience in New Orleans, Louisiana
- National Museum of the American Indian at the Smithsonian, Washington, DC
- National Museum of the American Latino in Washington, DC
Listen to Music from Different Cultures
An excellent way for adults to participate, or for parents and teachers to encourage children to get involved with the World Day for Cultural Diversity is through music! Music can act as a builder of bridges between cultures and individuals. Purchase some albums with a range of culturally diverse music, or create a list on an online music platform to celebrate cultural diversity.
Check out some of these ideas for songs to get started with:
- Africa Unite by Bob Marley and the Wailers (1979)
- Hera Hera by Asmita Adhikari (2021) (Nepalese)
- Love 119 by Riize (2024) (Korean)
- Magalenha by Sergio Mendes (1993) (Brazilian)