Celebrating Cultural Diversity

May 13, 2011

Mark your calendar for May 21 and celebrate the UN World Day for Cultural Diversity. World Day for Cultural Diversity encourages young active citizens to explore and embrace the differences between the many cultures of our world. This day is a time to think about the need to respect diversity and explore ways of building a better tolerance of all the world’s cultures.

Appreciate Cross-Cultural Differences
Adopted in 2001, the UNESCO Universal Declaration in Cultural Diversity states that “cultural diversity is as necessary for humankind as biodiversity is for nature. In this sense, it is the common heritage of humanity that should be recognized and affirmed for the benefit of present and future generations.”

Our world is interconnected and interdependent. However, a lack of awareness and understanding of the rights, values and aspirations of others requires the need for more education about cultural diversity. Appreciation of different values, customs, backgrounds and cultural practices allows citizens to cooperate on projects that address the challenges of our world.

Turn Understanding into Action
JCI members come from more than 5,000 different communities, speak a variety of languages and practice many different cultural traditions. It was with this in mind that JCI Japan introduced OMOIYARI, in 2007. This program teaches a mindset that encourages individuals to seek harmony with others. May 21 is a day to explore how we can incorporate this spirit of tolerance and selflessness into our lives.

Another way for JCI Organizations to explore other cultures is through JCI Twinning. This program joins National and Local Organizations to build cultural understanding. Collaborating on an event or project through JCI Twinning builds cross-cultural tolerance and forges new relationships. The program gives members the ability to learn about and cooperate with JCI members in another country, region or city who share the same goals and values of creating a better world. Download the JCI Twinning toolkit to forge your new relationship and collaborate for a better world.

This year, the JCI Twinning program is undergoing some exciting updates. More tools and resources are being developed to that will focus on helping create new connections, as well as aiding organizations that are already enrolled in the program by giving them tools and suggestions to sustain a lasting and impactful relationship.

The first edition of the new JCI Twinning Guide is available for download in the JCI Library. Follow @jciprograms on Twitter and watch for more tools to be released throughout the year.

Attend the JCI Twinning Ceremony or an OMOIYARI seminar taking place at all of the JCI Area Conferences. You still have time to register online for these programs at the JCI Asia-Pacific Conference and the JCI European Conference. Those deadlines are Thursday May 12 and Wednesday May 18, respectively.

Tell us what your Local or National Organization is doing for this international holiday on the JCI Facebook page.