The International Day for Tolerance was created by Resolution 51/95, where the UN General Assembly invited Member States to observe the Day on November 16th each year, with activities directed towards educational establishments and the broader public. The day was created to provide an opportunity for everyone within the global community to rededicate their commitment to and responsibility in encouraging tolerance, respect, and cooperation among different cultures and people.
In today’s Message on the International Day for Tolerance, Secretary Ban Ki Moon said,
“Tolerance is the foundation for mutual respect among people and communities, and is vital for building a single global society around shared values. It is a virtue and a quality, but above all, tolerance is an act – the act of reaching out to others and seeing differences not as barriers, but as invitations for dialogue and understanding.”
Tolerance is defined as, “a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward opinions and practices that differ from one’s own.” It is important for each of us to think about how we can use our differences as invitations rather than barriers. As today comes to a close, what have you done to open a channel of communication with someone from a culture or background other than your own? If you didn’t do anything today, what can you do tomorrow?
On this Day of Tolerance, I would even challenge us to take the conversation one step further, and consider the ways in which we can shift our tolerance of others into acceptance.
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