Celebrate the World Day for Cultural Diversity

Illustration of the profiles of many people, all of different races and genders.

On May 21 every year, the United Nations celebrates the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. This day is intended to “deepen our understanding of the values of cultural diversity,” and to advance the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions’ four goals:

  • Support sustainable systems of governance for culture
  • Achieve a balanced flow of cultural goods and services and increase mobility of artists and cultural professionals
  • Integrate culture in sustainable development frameworks
  • Promote human rights and fundamental freedoms

The World Day for Cultural Diversity is about celebrating culture in all its forms: diversity of thought and belief; and culture in the form of art, literature, music, and all of other the ways in which people express what is important to them.

This year, things are different. Culture is being viewed, created, and celebrated in ways different than in years past due to the coronavirus pandemic and the inability to move around as we once did. But even though we can’t travel and experience culture in the ways we might want to, there are still ways to celebrate and encourage cultural diversity—especially when it comes to creating dialogue and integrating culture into sustainable development.

Over the last few months, we’ve written about some of the ways you can explore other cultures from home: virtual museum tours, baking, reading, and watching videos. It may not be quite the same as traveling, but it is all sustainable, thought-provoking, and—most importantly in the present moment—safe. Beyond these things, though, you can try your hand at learning a language, taking a free online course on different cultural topics, or offering to be a digital volunteer for organizations like the Smithsonian.

Here are some of the things that the UN and UNESCO has put together to virtually promote the World Day for Cultural Diversity:

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