“Cultural Diversity” is not just as an expression or a common concept, but also a lifestyle and a mindset to carry forward the process of building a better life in various dimensions. In short, this is how we will use this term throughout this piece. By emphasizing some of the prospects of having a richer cultural life, of being in touch with people from other cultures, civilizations, and races we celebrate World Day of Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, which is marked annually on May 21. This day serves as a chance to widen our understanding and appreciation of the value of cultural diversity and to better understand the importance of living together.
Challenging the Stereotypes: Why Cultural Diversity Matters
One of the key findings of the research study on racial bias in response to others’ pain is that, “The more time we spend with people of other heritages and cultures, the greater our empathy”.
Although we have much a stronger biologically-driven empathy towards people of our own race, still this study has shown that the level of empathy in the brain increases the more a person spends time with other peoples.
In this piece we will elaborate on the importance of diversity and cultural exchange for young people’s outlook and wellbeing.
With that thought in mind, we note that a study from the British council on Erasmus has found that students who have lived abroad are more understanding than those who have not. International experiences are a valuable way to develop employability and intercultural skills.
We will put this study into perspective with a Kosovar student who is living abroad in France, in Dijon. She will share with us her experience-based thoughts on the importance of diverse cultures in young adults’ prospects and well-being.
Interaction breaks down boundaries, unites different cultures, and paves the way towards a world with fewer disputes and increased mutual understanding. This statement becomes even more substantial when recalling that three-quarters of the world’s major conflicts have a cultural dimension, according to the United Nations (UN).
Cosmopolitanism – a Way Towards a Bigger World
Whenever we hear the word “cosmopolitan” we tend to relate it to recent history. Yet, to dig into its root and origin we will briefly bring into discussion the Greek philosopher Diogenes, born around 423 BCE, who actually coined the word “cosmopolitan”. And it is interesting to note what one of the first recorded cosmopolitans had to say about cosmopolitanism – as an incentive towards a more diverse and united world.
“A citizen of the world” was his answer when asked where he was from originally. He insisted that the whole world and its components are supposed to be cosmopolitan, hence one’s life should not identified by a particular city, a citizenship, or a particular culture.
Cosmopolitanism views propose that a person can belong only to a global society, and this identity this transcends all the other local or national belongings. Instead as dividing, differences are perceived as a gift for mutual dialogue.
Ideally in a world where cosmopolitanism prevails would have no room for racism and xenophobia.
Let’s End with the Famous Mantra, “the Further the Concern, the Smaller the Burden”
It seems as though, “the further the concern, the smaller the burden”, is the mantra we are accustomed to follow, sometimes even without realizing it. Yet, it does not necessarily bring joy or an added value to our lives.
Inspired but not confined by today’s observance of World Day of Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, we might start to add more sparkle to our life experiences by widening and enriching our circle through diverse cultures.
Even though it is hard to foresee a whole global community through cosmopolitan lenses and it is yet to be realized, just the fact that this idea has survived for so long indicates its potential and influence.
Especially when taking into account all the technological advancements we are witnessing seemingly a form of ‘global community’ is already among us and clearly evident.
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Photos: Shutterstock / Edited by: Martina Advaney
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