16th of November: International Day for Tolerance

16 Nov 2013

In 1996, the UN General Assembly invited UN Member States to observe the International Day for Tolerance on the 16th of November, with activities directed towards both educational establishments and the wider public.This action followed on the United Nations Year for Tolerance, 1995, proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1993 at the initiative of UNESCO, once its member countries approved a Declaration of Principles, which claims, among other things, that tolerance is the respect and appreciation of the richness and variety of the world's cultures and of its different forms of expression.

On this day, the UN and UNESCO urge the international community to further their commitment to advance human welfare, freedom and progress everywhere, as well as to encourage tolerance, respect, dialogue and cooperation among different cultures, civilizations and peoples. The UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, stated, “tolerance is the strongest foundation for peace and reconciliation. It demands an active choice to reach out on the basis of mutual understanding and respect, especially where disagreement exists. We need to nurture tolerance by promoting cultural understanding and respect – from parliaments to the playground. We need to tackle growing inequality and reject social exclusion based on gender, disabilities, sexual orientation, and ethnic or religious background.”

Meanwhile, UNESCO’s Secretary-General, Irina Bokovo highlights that “we must begin with quality education, to combat ignorance, prejudice and hatred, which are at the root of discrimination and racism. We need education to disarm the fears that many feel of the unknown and of other people, their cultures, life choices and beliefs. Education is the best way to foster a culture of peace and build inclusive societies.”

On this day, Diagrama Foundation reaffirms its commitment to equality, tolerance, universal care and the integration of vulnerable people through the development of numerous social, employment and educational programmes. These activities seek to open a door for groups at risk of exclusion, so they can reach their full personal, social and employment development, guaranteeing the exercise of their fundamental rights. Furthermore, Diagrama carries out various activities to promote equal rights and opportunities for people who face discrimination.

For more information about this Day, please visit the UN and UNESCO websites.