May 21 is “World Day of Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development” (UN, Unesco). Not only is the richness of the world’s cultures celebrated, but also the essential role of intercultural dialogue in achieving peace and sustainable development. The United Nations General Assembly established this World Day in 2002, following the Unesco Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity, recognizing the need to “enhance the potential of culture as a means to achieve prosperity, sustainable development, and global peaceful coexistence.”
The “World Day of Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development” is an opportunity to promote culture and emphasize the significance of its diversity as an agent of inclusion and positive change. It represents an opportunity to celebrate the many forms of culture, from tangible and intangible industries to creative industries, to the diversity of cultural expressions and reflect on how they contribute to dialogue, mutual understanding, as well as the social, environmental, and economic vectors of sustainable development.
The day is even more important due to the fact that the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (Agenda 2030) can best be achieved by tapping into the creative potential of the world’s different cultures and engaging in ongoing dialogue to ensure that all members of society benefit from sustainable development.
Each culture has an original way of expressing itself. If we closed our eyes for a moment and thought of all the people in the world as an immense community, we would find ourselves faced with innumerable ways of cultural expression: language, art, relationships, and social organization. Every aspect of life conveys something about us and our way of being that is peculiar and unique.
Today, to celebrate cultural diversity, I will take you on a walk through IEU’s 15th Annual Global Village event! The goal of the event is to develop intercultural skills: respect, listening, curiosity, open-mindedness, reflection, sharing, mutual knowledge. For this reason, numerous themes were addressed. These were related to different artistic expressions (visual, musical), territorial contexts (environmental resources, cultural heritage), personal experiences and attitudes (family, school, travel, practical or artistic skills, free time), to current topics (pandemic, climate change, work, inequality, human rights).
The main event, Global Conversations at the Table, was held in Madrid and involved community building, playing games to test your geography knowledge, discussing impact initiatives. The best part of it took place at night when the participants had the opportunity to try nine different restaurants and trying out new food (Mexican, American, Mena, Ethiopian, Peruvian, Lebanese, Chinese, Japanese, Indian)!
In Segovia, the IE Music Club and Student Government organized a music festival held by talented students, as well as a traditional Spanish performance staged by the Dance community.
Moreover, this year’s event was also dedicated to learning about the importance of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by all the Member States of the United Nations. In partnership with the IE SDG Club, an awareness campaign was carried out a week before the event to share and spread information about the SDGs for all countries participating in the event.
Differences are an invaluable wealth for the intangible heritage of humanity and deserve to be welcomed and valued. May this event be a reminder for every day of the year because we can create peace in our community, extend it from the microcosm to the macrocosm.