“In a diverse world, the destruction of cultures is a crime, and uniformity is a dead-end: our aim must be to enhance, in one movement, the diversity that enriches us and the human rights that bring us together.” Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO

In this post:

  • World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development
  • Do One Thing for Diversity and Inclusion
  • Cultural Diversity in Australian Education
  • One World Centre Resources for teaching about and through cultural diversity

 21 May is World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development

“In 2001, UNESCO adopted the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity and in December 2002, the UN General Assembly, in its resolution 57/249, declared May 21 to be the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. The day provides us with an opportunity to deepen our understanding of the values of cultural diversity and to learn to live together better.”

More information about World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development is available at the United Nations website: http://www.un.org/en/events/culturaldiversityday/index.shtml

Do One Thing for Diversity and Inclusion

“In 2011, a grassroots campaign ‘Do One Thing For Diversity and Inclusion’, celebrating the annual World Day for Cultural Diversity was launched by UNESCO and the UN Alliance of Civilizations. More information about the ‘Do One Thing’ campaign is available from

From the ‘Do One Thing’ campaign ….
“Ten simple things YOU can do to celebrate the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development
1. Visit an art exhibit or a museum dedicated to other cultures.
2. Invite a family or people in the neighbourhood from another culture or religion to share a meal with you and exchange views on life.
3. Rent a movie or read a book from another country or religion than your own.
4. Invite people from a different culture to share your customs.
5. Read about the great thinkers of other cultures than yours (e.g. Confucius, Socrates, Avicenna, Ibn Khaldun, Aristotle, Ganesh, Rumi).
6. Go next week-end to visit a place of worship different than yours and participate in the celebration.
7. Play the “stereotypes game.” Stick a post-it on your forehead with the name of a country. Ask people to tell you stereotypes associated with people from that country. You win if you find out where you are from.
8. Learn about traditional celebrations from other cultures; learn more about Hanukkah or Ramadan or about amazing celebrations of New Year’s Eve in Spain or Qingming festival in China.
9. Spread your own culture around the world through our Facebook page and learn about other cultures.
10. Explore music of a different culture.”

Cultural Diversity in Australian Education

‘Identity and cultural diversity’ is a learning emphasis and recurring theme in Global Education which seeks to develop students’ understanding of

* Australia’s cultural diversity, the role of migration, and the contribution to Australian society of people from all parts of the world;
* Australia’s relationships with other countries – including environmental, economic, social, cultural and political dimensions;
* Australia’s role, responsibilities and contributions at a global level (ACHCK091).

In the Australian and Western Australian Curriculums, teaching and learning about and through cultural diversity is an essential element of the Cross Curriculum Priorities (in particular, Asia Literacy and Australia’s Engagement with Asia and Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander Perspectives and Cultures) and the General Capabilities (in particular critical and creative thinking, personal and social capability, ethical understanding and, above all, intercultural understanding). 

Student Diversity and inclusivity (including ethnic, linguistic and cultural diversity) are guiding principles of the Western Australian School Curriculum and Standards Authority and a significant component of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers.

Education about and through cultural diversity

is TRANSFORMATIVE education.

One World Centre Resources

Below is a list of some of the OWC resources that can support teachers to develop learning environments and activities which promote cultural diversity for dialogue and development as well as
*positive identity, together with positive regards for the rights and identities of others;
* a sense of shared identity with others, as well as a sense of membership of a community at the local and national levels, as well as part of a global human society
* identify the value and the contributions of all peoples, in fields such as the arts, science, technology, religion and philosophy, humanitarian action, business and education;
*awareness of the similarities and differences of beliefs and practices in various cultures, and learn to detect and avoid cultural stereotypes
* effective and sensitive communication across cultures

For Primary Education
The OWC Discovery Boxes are cross cultural learning kits designed to increase children’s awareness of other people’s lives. They are made up of items from diverse countries and cultures. These include
COUNTRY BOXES for India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Tanzania, Thialand, Tibet, Vietnam, Bolivia, Japan and Laos; and the THEME BOXES Creative Hands, Global Children and World Beliefs.
Each Discovery Box contains:
* 10-12 items from other cultures which children can wear, play with and enjoy.
Teacher’s Guide including ideas for lessons and activities
* Photocopiable worksheets and support materials (videos, literature, photos, posters)
* Activity cards for each item, designed for small group work.

Explores the tremendous diversity in lifestyles of children around the world – from housing and food to families, beliefs and play.

Provides a great range of activities on this theme using an integrated curriculum approach. Suitable for use from early childhood through to upper primary.

In big book format with teacher notes provided, this kit provides a good introduction to studies of Asia by looking at topics such as family, school, food, and games in countries such as Japan, China, Korea, and Vietnam.

Designed to help children explore their own lives and the wider world by looking at the experiences of four of their contemporaries living in different countries. A celebration of diversity and empathy, and a challenge to some commonly held stereotypes.


Looks at the relationship between the traditional Aboriginal people of the South West region and their environment. Offers some great teaching activities on the themes of food, shelter and tools, communication, beliefs and change.

The inquiry based hands-on activities lead students to the understanding that mathematical and scientific concepts and practices arose out of the real needs and interest of people in all parts of the world and all eras of history.

Focuses on how difference is embodied in culturally determined ways of seeing ourselves and others. Challenges students to be involved in the process of learning and relearning about themselves and others.

Excellent for helping sutdents explore and understand their own culture, and the contributions that people from many countries have made to the Australian way of life. There are plenty of activities as well as a framework for students to use to develop, implements and assess a project linked to cultural diversity in their community.


Global Perspectives: A Statement on Global Education for Australian Schools. Curriculum Corporation (2002)