INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR TOLERANCE
Every year on November 16th, the International Day for Tolerance generates awareness of the dangers of intolerance. Since the inception of this day, it’s been the UN’s goal to strengthen tolerance by fostering mutual understanding among cultures and peoples.
Just because people don’t agree with one another doesn’t mean they can’t peacefully coexist. It’s called tolerance. Tolerance is the best way for diverse people and mixed communities to survive. In a world where violent extremism and disregard for human life is becoming the norm, tolerance is more important than ever. Tolerance recognizes the universal human rights and fundamental freedom of others.
UNESCO views tolerance as respect, acceptance, and appreciation of the rich diversity of our world’s cultures. It includes our forms of expression and ways of being human. Intolerance is just the opposite. Injustice, marginalization, and discrimination are all forms of intolerance. Much must be done to counter intolerance.
Some ways to counter intolerance include:
- Enforce human rights and punish all instances of hate crimes and discrimination
- Educate children about tolerance, human rights, and other cultures and ways of life
- Develop policies that allow access to information and freedom of the press
- Use nonviolent action to discredit hateful propaganda and end discrimination
Each individual has the power to end intolerance. They can do this by not allowing bigotry, insults, and racial jokes. To identify intolerance in one’s own life, individuals should ask themselves specific questions. “How tolerant am I of other people, cultures, and societies?” “Do I stereotype people or reject those who are different than me?”
HOW TO OBSERVE #InternationalDayForTolerance
Human rights activists, educators, and many international organizations use this day to discuss and educate others about the importance of tolerance. Some people write essays or tell stories of how their life has been affected by intolerance. The UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-Violence is awarded to institutions, organizations, and persons who have made great contributions toward tolerance and non-violence. The award is given every two years on the International Day for Tolerance.
- Identify scenarios you were intolerant. Ask yourself how you would respond differently today.
- Talk to your friends and family about why intolerance is so dangerous
- Think of ways you can improve tolerance in your community, state, and country
- Watch movies with different viewpoints on understanding. These include Taxi Driver, Far From Heaven, and American History X
- Read classic books about intolerance including To Kill a Mockingbird and 1984
Share this day on social media with #InternationalDayForTolerance
INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR TOLERANCE HISTORY
In 1995, the UN observed the United Nations Year for Tolerance. That same year, UNESCO’s Member States adopted a Declaration of Tolerance on November 16, 1995. The date marked the organization’s fiftieth anniversary. On November 16th, 1996, the UN General Assembly invited the UN Member States to observe the first-ever International Day of Tolerance.