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Why does cultural diversity matter?

hayley mcdonnell life lessons lifestyle the retreat May 02, 2022

By Hayley McDonnell.

May is the month when cultural diversity is acknowledged on a global scale (21st May is World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development). Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural Development have diversity at its core, and with a worldwide element recognised, there is an implicit expectation that this is a day for us all. The obvious question that springs up is Why does cultural diversity matter?

Every month, I write four questions/prompts/musings following the SMSC format and create opportunities for all readers to engage with them, irrespective of their demographic. This is inclusivity and diversity working in harmony. I hope you read and consider your own position on the questions I pose.

According to UNESCO, three-quarters of the world's major conflicts have a cultural dimension. Bridging the gap between cultures is urgent and necessary for peace, stability, and development.

Cultural diversity is the predominant driving force of development, not only concerning economic growth but also so we can lead a fulfilling intellectual, emotional, moral and spiritual life. What is often perceived as a mere conversation with a colleague or friend from a different colour can provide so much to us personally. This solid base promotes cultural diversity and respect.

Where these conversations can go, what they can lead to are immeasurable regarding opportunities for poverty eradication and greater sustainable efficiency, which provides a solid basis for promoting cultural diversity. If we have first-hand relationships, albeit a short conversation, with someone from a different culture, we are more likely to care about the issues they care about from both a micro and macro perspective. This, in turn, prompts us to do something to help support, lead and develop to achieve a better outcome for the world.

This acceptance and recognition of cultural diversity are conducive to dialogue among civilisations and cultures, respect and mutual understanding.

The UNESCO adoption of the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity aims to promote the resolution on Culture and Sustainable Development whilst affirming culture's contribution to the three dimensions of sustainable development, acknowledging further the natural and cultural diversity of the world and recognising that cultures and civilisations can contribute to, and are crucial enablers of, sustainable development.

An ongoing project indeed, but for at least one day, there is the encouragement to provide us all with an opportunity to deepen our understanding of the values of cultural diversity.

Social – What can you do with others to support sustainable systems of governance for culture

Moral – Is it possible to achieve a balanced flow of cultural goods and services and increase the mobility of artists and cultural professionals

Spiritual – What human rights are important to you, and what fundamental freedoms do you offer to others you know and work with?

Cultural – With sustainable development at its heart, show others how you integrate culture into sustainable development frameworks


Hayley McDonnell is a Personal Development/SMSC consultant and author intent on bridging the gap between countries, cultures, customs and ultimately people with “Global Collaboration” Her aim is to make our world feel smaller by connecting with our similarities and embracing our differences. She loves to travel and meet new people from different backgrounds, countries and cultures. You can find out more about Hayley here.



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