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17 May, 2019   |   

World Day for Cultural Diversity

Up with People diverse cast of boys and girls traveling abroadWorld Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development is a internationally recognized holiday created by the United Nations. In November of 2001, The United Nations General Assembly decided that this day would be recognized every year on May 21. The day is meant to promote education and awareness surrounding major global issues.

What is Day for Cultural Diversity?

Also known as Diversity Day, this day was created to help communities all around the world understand the current issues surrounding the cultural divide in our world. It is also a day to educate others on the value of cultural diversity and development so that we can all learn to live in a more peaceful and trusting world. Does this sound familiar? That’s because it’s the vision of Up with People.

“To create a more hopeful, trusting and peaceful world.” – Up with People Vision

How Does Up with People Support Cultural Diversity?

One of the core components of Up with People is developing young people into global citizens. Through music and action, we empower youth who travel in our program to become positive agents of change.

From day one, young adults in the program are immersed in a community of over 100 individuals from all over the world. In many cases, they will meet people from countries they have never travelled to or from cultures that they have never interacted with. The cast will not only live with one another throughout the semester, they will also live with local host families from the countries they visit instead of staying at a hotel. This allows each person to see the world from a new perspective and experience a life completely separate from their own.

Our youth also participate in several workshops, seminars and other educational opportunities throughout the semester. Our team of educators and other professionals use these programs as platforms to teach new ways to bridge the gap between cultures. These programs teach young people how to create an open dialogue between different cultures, religions and backgrounds.

Up with People young adults volunteering in Europe

How is Cultural Diversity Affecting Our World?

Cultural diversity is a driving force of development both economically and for overall quality of life. At all seven of UNESCO’s (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) Cultural Conventions, there is a strong promotion of cultural diversity, and exploration into the ways that cultural diversity can help us achieve more fulfilling intellectual, emotional, moral and spiritual lives.

According to The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), more than three-quarters of the world’s major conflicts have a cultural dimension. Even if you bring it down to a smaller scale and focus on diversity in schools or in the workplace, there is still room for more education and awareness-building.

Many businesses struggle in this area due to a lack of trust that stems from a poorly built foundation. However, different cultures have different ways of building business relationships, participating in negotiation, or communicating within the workplace. In China, for example, it is customary to start a strong network of trust by spending time together around a dinner table having food and drinks. This type of relationship is called ‘guanxi.’

How Can I Participate in Diversity Day?

Some of the common ways to participate in Diversity Day include attending seminars or workshops by keynote speakers that promote these ideals. However, there are also things that you can do in your local community, school, or workplace.

  1. Get a group together to talk about different cultural values.
  2. Support minority vendors and minority-owned businesses.
  3. Listen to music from another culture.
  4. Watch a movie that involves a different country than your own (don’t worry, subtitles will help you!)
  5. Have an international potluck with your friends and family.
  6. Visit a cultural arts exhibit.
  7. Expand your understanding of diversity by educating yourself with resources through the National Center for Education Statistics
  8. See what types of corporate diversity programs are available at your job, school or university.
  9. Organize a family reunion.
  10. Talk to your teacher or employer about taking a field trip that features a particular culture.

There are many ideas that are available when looking for ways to participate in Diversity Day. The best part is that you don’t have to stop at just one.

Click here for a full list of 88 ways to celebrate Appreciate Diversity Month.


“There is a common beat
That connects us all.
The sound of a constant wind
Blowin’ down the walls.
It sings like a mighty song
A symphony with many parts.
A human melody playin’ in you in me
A common beat of our hearts.”

A Common Beat II © Up with People


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