Jan
10

HOW UNIVERSITIES SUPPORT CULTURAL DIVERSITY

In the run up to the UN’s World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue celebrate diversity.

On 21 May, events will be held around the world to mark the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue Development, which was established by the United Nations (UN) in 2001.

The event is based on the UN’s Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity, which states that “cultural rights are an integral part of human rights”. As a result, the Declaration says, everyone should have the right to communicate in the language of their choice, participate in their own cultural practices, be treated with respect for their cultural identity.

These are clearly principles that could apply to all situations that certainly includes higher education.

Indeed, universities are well placed to lead the way in supporting dialogue the World Day for Cultural Diversity aims to promote.

So, how can universities fulfil the UN Declaration on Cultural Diversity?

Anti-discrimination polices at universities

Most universities have policies in place to guard against discriminatory treatment of any group of people – whether based on gender, race, disability, religion, sexual orientation or any other factor.

Further, many universities have an Office for Diversity treatment within the university.

Universities with large numbers of international students may also be aware of the need to make special arrangements for students with important cultural commitments.

For example, if an important deadline or exam clashes with a religious festival or period of fasting, universities can make allowances to ensure that students don’t have to choose between their education their cultural identity.

Opportunities for intercultural learning at university

Some universities, particularly in the US, have made it a requirement for all undergraduate students to complete a certain number of modules in subjects relating to cultural diversity. This could encompass a huge variety of options.

At Saint Louis University, for example, students can choose from courses including world music, contemporary black America, psychology of oppression, post-colonial literature, US Hispanic theology, intercultural communication – many more.

At other universities, opportunities for intercultural learning are optional.

For example, at the University of Pennsylvania (‘UPenn’) in the US, students can apply to participate in the Intercultural Leadership Program. This brings together a group of domestic make a lasting impact.”

The University of Pennsylvania also has an International Residence Program, which promotes intercultural exchange by encouraging students from diverse backgrounds to live together in a shared accommodation facility, cultural programs.

These include trips to major cities, musical opportunities for students to give presentations about aspects of their own culture.

This idea of promoting inter-cultural learning France.

These facilities range in size from 100 beds at the international student house in Washington DC, to a whopping 5,700 beds at the Cité Internationale in Paris. Each international house is run independently, but with a shared mission: “To provide students of different nationalities international friendship.”

Special events celebrations

Check most university events calendars, you’ll probably find a large selection of cultures represented.

This may include events to mark particular festivals, events focusing on certain cultures or aspects of culture – for instance, a night of Ethiopian music also week- or month-long programs of events.

At the University of Nevada, Reno, the university’s Annual Intercultural Month takes place every April to May, featuring events to celebrate the range of cultures represented at the university.

This extensive program is driven not so much by large numbers of international students, but by the ethnic cultural diversity that exists within the US.

Acknowledgement of diversity within a shared nationality also forms part of the Diversity Week program at Leiden University in the Netherl ‘skaters’.

This light-hearted event was accompanied by more serious explorations of cultural diversity, including workshops on intercultural communication in business a screening of documentary film Religion connects! Religion connects?

Meanwhile, Rhodes University in South Africa schedules its International Week for 19th-25th May – to coincide with the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue Development.

The week kicks off with students staff joining for a colorful parade celebrating a wide range of cultures, followed by a concert in which groups are invited to share part of their culture through a musical, spoken or theatrical performance.

Sounds like fantastic fun, student dorm.

Source: -support/how-universities-support-cultural-diversity”>Top Universities

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