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Open doors and windows to invigorating wind of diversity: UNESCO Chief on World Day for Cultural Diversity
Established by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in 2001, the date of May 21 has been proclaimed to be the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development.

The observance is coordinated by UNSECO for its worldwide observance to provide an opportunity to deepen the understanding of the values of cultural diversity.

According to the UN, cultural diversity is a driving force of development, not only with respect to economic growth, but also as a means of leading a more fulfilling intellectual, emotional, moral and spiritual life.

The UN has urged world community to support sustainable systems of governance for culture; achieve a balanced flow of cultural goods and services and increase mobility of artists and cultural professionals; integrate culture in sustainable development frameworks; and promote human rights and fundamental freedoms.

UNESCO Chief, Audrey Azoulay, in her message on the occasion of the observance said, "Today, UNESCO is celebrating the 18th World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. Cultural diversity gives our life its richness, its colour and its dynamism. It is a cognitive and intellectual opening and a driving force for social development and economic growth."

She added, "UNESCO invites everyone on this day of celebrations to open their doors and windows to the invigorating wind of diversity!"

Here are the excerpts from the released message of the UNESCO Chief.

-There is the need to protect the different forms of cultural expression – languages, arts, crafts, lifestyles – especially those of minority peoples, so that they are not swept away by the movement of standardization that accompanies globalization. These are essential elements for defining individual and collective identities and, as such, their protection falls under the respect for human dignity.

-While the technological revolution has made many cultural and artistic forms more easily accessible, and trade throughout the world has increased exponentially, there are still many obstacles to equal access to goods and services. This particularly affects women, socially disadvantaged people and minority communities within their country.

-To be able freely to build one's identity, drawing on various cultural sources, and to be able to develop one's heritage in a creative way are the foundations of a peaceful and sustainable development of our societies.

-Mahatma Gandhi holds that culture is not a heritage set in stone, but one that is living and breathing, open to influences and dialogue, allowing us to adapt more peacefully to the changes in the world.

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