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Culture and its confusions...

Saadia Iqbal's picture

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.


Submitted by lilly mensah on
Knowing each and everyones culture is very important. This is because, it opens our mind to very broader perspectives in terms of activities of various young people worldwide. for developmental issues, we could all learn from each other in terms of what we do that works in a positive way. By so doing we will apply it in our various countries .

Submitted by bhawna on
its true that by knowing each other culture we can proceed very further but this can be done only by eliminating the communication gap with various people or society or countries.

Thanks Lilly, that's very true. Sometimes it's not so easy to apply new ideas and ways of doing things in existing, deeply-rooted cultures and traditions. This is where young people can be great agents of change, being more flexible and open to new ideas and perspectives. What's the most interesting thing you've learned from another culture?

Submitted by bhawna on
i just want to say that our culture helps us in many ways because it tells us about what we are and from what background we come from. but our custom has some bitter truths like child marriage, racial discrimination, killing of girls and many more. so we should use our culture in a better way and dont follow those things which are against our society.

Submitted by lwazi Ngcukana on
Culture is nice and fascinating. In South Africa many people confuse culture and traditions. There are things that many people do which stand on theirways to success just because of 'traditions & culture' e.g If one gets sick, the elders will say he/she will have to go to a traditional school for initiation to become a witcdoctor regardless of the age and of that person, it doesn'nt even matter if he/she still have to go to school. There must be better education on culture, people must see that times have changed now. Thank you.