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The whole world, united in its diversity!

          

From UNESCO Universal Declaration

     on Cultural Diversity (2002)

 Religious diversity and cultural diversity

 

Religious diversity and cultural diversity Religious diversity is a key dimension of cultural diversity. While there is no equating religion with culture, any more than language with culture, cultural tolerance is often based on religious and/or linguistic tolerance. Peaceful civil life often hinges on outward signs: the free public display of differing religious symbols – from church bells to orange robes (Buddhist) to dreadlocks (Rastafarian) – is a highly positive indication that cultural diversity is accepted if not encouraged in the city in question, and that citizenship is stronger in the public place than cultural belonging. UNESCO strives to promote dialogue between religions through events such as annual open-church or temple day, multi-confessional celebrations, exchanges of views at meetings and conferences.

Cultural heritage as a universal language

 

Cultural heritage as a universal language The cultural heritage has become a complex reality, reflecting a cultural diversity whose role in the development of societies must be recognized. Recent current events have shown how the heritage, seen as representing the values of identity – religious, national, community-based – can be held hostage as a supreme symbol of wilfully rejected otherness (monuments destroyed, languages endangered, traditions in neglect). The heritage is a key stake in and medium for intercultural communication, and acts of aggression against it undermine all hope of dialogue. Heritage education would help strengthen the concept of a common heritage of humanity that is the fruit of manifold exchanges between cultures and civilizations. Then, through a “lexicon” of forms, sensations and meanings, the heritage will be able to offer the universal language needed to build a culturally viable future.

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