As you may have heard, May 21 was the World Day for Cultural Diversity. I love the idea of having a day to celebrate our world’s amazing cultural heritage; its diverse languages, traditions and arts. Personally, learning about the customs, festivities and beliefs in other countries has added a huge dimension to my understanding of the world and my ability to see things from different perspectives. In fact, a lot of projects these days are focusing on inter-cultural understanding and tolerance as a means of promoting peace. Check out the work of the Alliance of Civilizations and UNESCO to learn more.
Images courtesy We Are What We Do
There’s a tendency to look at culture through rose-colored glasses, though. Sometimes culture can stand in the way of progress. We often hear stories of child marriage (pdf), female genital mutilation, honor killings, discriminatory caste systems, and other culturally- or socially-imposed traditions that violate human rights and hinder development.
What are your thoughts on culture? How can it impact development? What do you like best about your culture, and what do you think is its worst aspect? We’d love to hear your views and post them on the site.