”Peace begins in the minds of those who perceive diversity as an element of betterment and growth.” - Kofi Annan
26 June, 9:30 a.m., Plenary Chamber
Hosted by Deutsche Welle
Of the more than 6,000 living languages around the planet, around 90 percent will have died out by the end of this century. Unique forms of perceiving and understanding our world will be lost, in many cases without leaving behind even a grammar guide or dictionary. Similar tendencies can be seen in the cultural and social diversity of religion, literature and architecture.
Is globalization accelerating a tendency towards conformity or does it promote intercultural dialogue? Is it better for people to become more assimilated to one another? Does that help prevent misunderstandings from arising in the first place? Despite all the positive aspects of diversity, where does that leave cultural identity? Can the one only flourish at the expense of the other? And what conflicts might such a perceived contradiction evoke?
Cultural diversity is signified not only by language and other cultural features, but also by social interaction. In many European countries, migrants make up more than 20 percent of the population. Due to waning population growth rates, more and more migrants are needed to fill gaps in commercial enterprises. Many businesses and organizations are ramping up “diversity management” to effectively cope with the new challenges. So what does cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue mean for the countries of this world, now and in the near future?
Former President of Indonesia, Indonesia
Head, Division of Culture, Memory of the World of the German Commission for UNESCO, Germany