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International Day for Tolerance

Due to the rising intolerance and violence of diversity in societies across the world, the practice of tolerance has become not only a moral duty, but a requirement in order to co-exist peacefully. International Day for Tolerance reminds us that it is time to understand, respect, and accept the diverse behaviors, opinions, cultures, and people throughout the world.

What is Tolerance?

Tolerance is about developing an understanding of people, cultures, ideas, beliefs, practices, and perspectives, especially those that may be different from one’s own. It is about accepting the challenge of different points of view, standing up to intolerance, and resisting retaliation. Tolerance is respect, acceptance, and appreciation for the rich diversity of the world’s cultures and all forms of human expression. To practice tolerance means to accept and respect people in all circumstances, respecting their right to express themselves, and encouraging all types of ideas and behaviors that benefit society as a whole.

History of International Day for Tolerance

International day of tolerance was started by the United Nations General Assembly during the wake of the racial and cultural conflicts in Africa, the Balkans, and the Caucasus, which led to the Rwandan and Bosnian genocides, to encourage educational institutions and the general public to see tolerance as a staple of society. On November 16th, 1995, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) created the Declaration of Principles on Tolerance as a way to define and provide awareness of tolerance for all governing and participating bodies. Now, as an anniversary of that Declaration, the International Day for Tolerance is celebrated every November 16 to help spread tolerance and raise awareness of any intolerance that may still be prevalent in the world today.

How to Celebrate International Day for Tolerance

One way to participate is by learning more about tolerance and intolerance and celebrating the differences between cultures.

  1. Read about different cultures- Reading about different cultures or nationalities is a great way to help break down your intolerances that you may not know you have and increase your awareness of other intolerances throughout the world.

  2. Have a conversation with/listen to people who have differing views than yourself- Listening to others is one way to open your perspective and take a better look at the world and how you perceive it.

  3. Participate in events of remembrance or advocacy- This can be participating in a candlelight vigil for victims of intolerance and hate, listening to a lecture about current issues related to intolerance and hate, participating in activism, etc.

Tolerance is respecting the rights of others to have perspectives, practices, and opinions. The United Nations International Day for Tolerance is an opportunity to celebrate diversity and tolerance and to ensure that we remember to make space for diverse opinions, practices, and people. It is important to try and understand the perspectives of others, develop dialogue, and build mutual understanding in order to co-exist peacefully with others.

By: Brianna Greenberg

Mental Health Counseling Intern


TOP Worldwide, LLC. (2017-2022). International Day for Tolerance- November 16, 2022.

National Today.

United Kingdom National Commission for UNESCO. (2022). Tolerance Day. United Nations

Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.

United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (2022). International Day for

Tolerance. UNESCO International Days.

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