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  • Writer's pictureAmy Webb

World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development

World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development (Amy Webb, 2023-24 Iowa UNA College Ambassador from Luther College)


May 21, 2024 marks the 22nd year anniversary of the World Day for Cultural Dialogue for Diversity and Development. This day is vital for recognizing the importance of fostering mutual understanding, respect, and unity among people of different cultures. It promotes peace by celebrating diversity and encouraging dialogue to build a more inclusive and harmonious world. This is significant because intercultural dialogue is one of the keystones for peace and sustainability.


In fact, 89% of the world's conflicts stem from culture stratification. Even though the cultural and creative sector holds more than 48 million jobs globally and covers 6.2% of all current employment and 3.1% of the world’s GDP, it still does not hold as much credence as it deserves in public policy agendas and international collaboration. Therefore, bridging the gap between cultures and reinforcing multiculturalism should be one of the top global priorities. 


The World Day for Dialogue and Diversity was first developed by the United Nations General Assembly in 2002, following UNESCOs adoption of the Universal Declaration of Cultural Diversity in 2001. This declaration highlights the importance of human rights, raises awareness of cultural diversity, and calls for dialogue, cooperation, and tolerance as a path towards respecting other cultures. The Universal Declaration of Cultural Diversity linked issues of cultural diversity to sustainable development and paved the way for the adoption of Culture and Sustainable Development in 2015 by the Second Committee of the UN General Assembly. The United Nations unanimously adopted resolution A/C.2/70/L.6 which reaffirms previous resolutions on protecting and upholding cultural diversity as a key component for sustainable development. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development passed by the UN serves as a roadmap to alleviate global issues like eradicating poverty, hunger, and to leave no person behind.


This Day is an opportunity to uphold and celebrate these guiding objectives highlighted by the UNESCO 2005 Convention on Diversity of Cultural Expressions summarized as follows:

a.              To protect and promote the diversity of cultural expressions

b.              Foster an environment for culture to flourish

c.              Encourage dialogue among different cultures

d.              Foster intercultural relations to build bridges between people

e.              Respect and raise awareness of other cultures

f.               Reaffirm the link between culture and development

g.              Recognize the values and meanings of all cultural activities

h.              States have the sovereign right to protect and share their culture on their territory

i.               Strengthen international relations 


In closing, culture is incredibly important because it shapes our identities, promotes diversity and understanding, preserves heritage, strengthens social bonds, fosters open-mindedness, and contributes to a more inclusive and peaceful world.


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