human family is very diverse, with many different beliefs and cultures and ways
of life. Many conflicts in our world are caused when people are intolerant of
the ways that others see the world. Learning tolerance is an important cornerstone
to creating a better world.
What is tolerance? UNESCO's Declaration of Principles on Tolerance defines
tolerance as "respect, acceptance and appreciation of the rich diversity of
our world's cultures, our forms of expression and ways of being human. It is fostered
by knowledge, openness, communication, and freedom of thought, conscience and
belief. Tolerance is harmony in difference."
Intolerance is often caused by ignorance and fear. When we don't know about other
cultures, religions or nations we sometimes fear them. Education is the most important
way to promote tolerance. Teaching people what our shared rights and freedoms
are is the first step in tolerance education. Learning about other cultures is
also important to help us see the similarities between all cultures, and to respect
and celebrate our differences.
tolerance and trust in diverse communities takes time and commitment. Tolerance
Day (November 16) is an opportunity to see what progress has been made throughout
the year, and rededicate our commitment to promoting tolerance, respect, cooperation
and dialogue between different cultures in our communities and between nations.
Taking the Tolerance
Pledge, found at Tolerance.org, is a way that each of us can help to make
every day Tolerance Day. "I pledge to have respect for people whose abilities,
beliefs, culture, race, sexual identity or other characteristics are different
from my own."