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Cultural diversity

a common heritage of Humanity

Cultural diversity is a key fact which recognises and legitimises the differences between cultures: its meaning is closely related to the concepts of identity, interculturality and multiculturalism. They involve contacts between different languages, ethnic groups, religions, artistic expressions, values and world views.

different cultures

Today we perceive the concept of cultural diversity as a product of numerous processes of historical, socio-political, economic and technological nature that have contributed more and more to the encounter between different cultures.

In fact, throughout history, cultural diversity has promoted the recognition of what is foreign and the exchange of knowledge and fundamental values such as respect, tolerance and coexistence between different groups of people who share the same geographical space.

These exchanges of knowledge and expressions valorise the cultural assets of a Country or region. In this sense, cultural diversity is considered an immense intangible heritage. For this reason, in 2001, UNESCO adopted the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity and, in 2002, established World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. Article 1 of the Declaration, entitled “Cultural diversity: the common heritage of humanity”, states:

"Culture takes diverse forms across time and space. This diversity is embodied in the uniqueness and plurality of the identities of the groups and societies making up humankind. As a source of exchange, innovation and creativity, cultural diversity is as necessary for humankind as biodiversity is for nature. In this sense, it is the common heritage of humanity and should be recognised and affirmed for the benefit of present and future generations."

fight the prejudices

So, by committing to these actions, UNESCO means to valorise the dialogue between cultures, invite people to support diversity, and fight the prejudices that distort the knowledge and opinion about other peoples. To combat these stereotypes, you can start with small actions such as, for example, listening to music from another country, cooking a traditional dish from another culture, or learning a greeting in another language.

intercultural skills

In this direction, UNESCO has also developed the Story Circle training project, a tool for developing intercultural skills by comparing and sharing life experiences. These “narrative circles” are made up of small groups of students from different geographical or cultural backgrounds who are invited to participate in two moments of discussion. A first phase of narration/listening, and a second phase of sharing/reflection. Following the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development, this methodology has proven effective in various situations – from the social inclusion of migrants to dialogue between indigenous peoples – and allowed participants to acquire strong listening skills, empathy and critical thinking.

Inclusion and diversity are also crucial for us who are committed to sharing a series of best practices with our network:

"Living in the 21st-century society means recognising ourselves as portions of a vast and heterogeneous cultural archipelago: adhering to this awareness favours the exchange with different cultures. This is an opportunity for us to increase our mindset. We work on projects which require multi-disciplinary and infra-territorial skills. For this reason, the openness to different cultures and the ability to communicate with people of different backgrounds is an essential requirement to achieve our full potential, also extending this attitude to our customers and stakeholders."