World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development: Celebrating Unity in Difference

Quote: "The university stands as a beacon of diversity and inclusivity..." by Abdikerim, CHARM-EU student. On the side of the quote is a group of happy students.
Tue, 05/21/2024 - 11:39

Held every year on 21 May, UNESCO leads the celebration of World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development highlighting not only the richness of the world’s cultures, but also the essential role of intercultural dialogue for achieving peace and sustainable development.

Universities serve as microcosmos of global society. They bring together students, faculty, and researchers from diverse backgrounds and foster cross-cultural interactions, promote understanding, and challenge stereotypes. Universities are obligated to ensure equitable access to education - bridging gaps between privileged and marginalized groups is an essential educational task.

Sharing experiences on cultural diversity: students’ views of the topic

Abdikerim, UB student with refugee background, reflects on their personal experience and states that “The University stands as a beacon of diversity and inclusivity, providing an environment where students from various cultural backgrounds and religious beliefs feel welcome.” And also goes further talking about the key aspect of cultural diversity at social level “As a society, we encompass a diverse mix of people with varied backgrounds, cultures, and values, which brings substantial benefits to the community as a whole. This diversity enriches our collective experiences, fosters innovation, and promotes empathy and understanding among individuals from different walks of life.”

The existence and promotion of institutional measures to support students with a diverse social, economic or vital backgrounds and experiences is key to understand the vitality and impact in terms of cultural richness and how it can impact on people’s life. This is the case of Massouda, Afghan refugee, who shared that “Since I've been given the opportunity for the scholarship, it was not just an educational opportunities it gave me hope and courage to become strong enough to face the challenges of life.

However, the experience of living in another social and  cultural context can also contribute to a mix of feelings. This is the case of Bozhena, Ukranian, that explains that “I'm not going to lie, it's hard for me to assimilate. I'm a very open-minded person and adapt easily. But in my opinion, I still couldn't enter society. I had a long debate with myself about how I felt about it and came to the conclusion that I shouldn't be 100%. I should not forget where I come from, not lose my peculiarity, be proud of it (because I have something to be proud of)”. But in any case, the university experience continues to be exceptional and valuable for her “And in many cases, my perspective and particular experiences bring interesting work and situations. I have never experienced racism or pressure in my direction. From the students' point of view, in any case, I am always approached with kindness first and foremost. In any case, this training is always more important to me than anything else”.

CHARM-EU’s commitment to working towards inclusive education and societies.

CHARM-EU joins to raise awareness of this International Day. CHARM-EU as an Alliance of European universities stresses its wish and commitment to provide an intercultural and inclusive environment in its core values. It is our mission to foster intercultural dialogue not only within Europe but also with students and partners from all around the globe.