World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development – 21 May

World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development – 21 May

World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development is observed on 21 May annually. The day provides us with an opportunity to deepen our understanding of the values of cultural diversity, and to learn to live together more harmoniously. To fully unleash the power of cultural diversity for dialogue and development, we need to foster deeper mutual understanding and tolerance and counter the efforts of those bent on manipulating our differences for negative purposes.

This day was created to symbolize unity amongst cultures on a global scale and inspire ways for humanity to further sustainable and equitable development of all people. Emphasizing the importance of intercultural diversity, dialogue, and harmony, World Day for Cultural Diversity celebrates the richness and beauty of cultures around the world.


In 2001, UNESCO adopted the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity and in December 2002, the UN General Assembly, in its resolution 57/249, declared May 21st to be the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. A day for recognizing that bridging the gaps between cultures is “urgent and necessary for peace, stability, and development”.

It describes cultural diversity as “the common heritage of humanity”.

As a source of exchange, innovation, and creativity, cultural diversity is as necessary for humankind as biodiversity is for nature,” the declaration states. “In this sense, it is the common heritage of humanity and should be recognized and affirmed for the benefit of present and future generations.

Under the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expression, four goals underpin development practice as we move towards making the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) a reality.

The UNESCO goals aim to
1) support sustainable systems of governance for culture
2) achieve a balanced flow of cultural goods and services and increase the mobility of artists and cultural professionals
3) integrate culture into sustainable development frameworks
4) promote human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The day is an opportunity to reflect on how culture, in all of its forms, contributes to dialogue, mutual understanding, and the social, environmental, and economic vectors of sustainable development, including the tangible and intangible, creative industries, and diversity of cultural expressions.

“A nation’s culture resides in the hearts and the soul of its people” – Mahatma Gandhi

How to get involved

Various events are organized to increase the understanding of issues around cultural diversity and development among governments, non-governmental organizations, and the public. Many of these include presentations on the progress of implementing the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity. There are various seminars held, and education programs are held for children and young adolescents.

Celebrations are held to create greater awareness of cultural values and the need to preserve them. Exhibitions are held to help people understand the history of various cultural groups and their influence on their own identities.

This is a good opportunity to recognize the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Join the worldwide campaign, visit the UN World Day for Cultural Diversity web pages, like the Facebook page, and encourage your family, your friends, your co-workers, and your neighbors to Do One Thing to support Diversity and Inclusion on the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development on 21st May.

Every one of us can do ONE thing for diversity and inclusion; even one very little thing can become a global action if we all take part in it.

“Cultural differences should not separate us from each other, but rather cultural diversity brings a collective strength that can benefit all of humanity” – Robert Alan

Suggested Read: Indian Cultural Heritage – Unity Through Diversity

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Simmi Kamboj

Simmi Kamboj is the Founder and Administrator of Ritiriwaz, your one-stop guide to Indian Culture and Tradition. She had a passion for writing about India's lifestyle, culture, tradition, travel, and is trying to cover all Indian Cultural aspects of Daily Life.