My culture is my identity and personality. It gives me spiritual, intellectual and emotional distinctions from others and I am proud of it. It is in every word I speak and in every sentence I write. It tells the world who I am.
There are no right or wrong cultures. They are just different, which characterize an individual or a society from another one. Culture teaches us our fundamental rights, value systems, traditions and way of life; and we pass them on to our next generation. Cultures get richer when they interact and serve as a force to connect people, even with different world views.
All cultures can be good and effective. A strong culture makes a strong nation. To have a strong nation, we need interaction and acculturation. People shouldn’t be shamed of who they are and it will help them to gain self esteem and confidence.
Diversity of cultures creates optimistic engagement among people. It promotes mutual understanding, and increases knowledge of nations and helps them to have a peaceful world. Conflicts and clashes happen due to lack of understanding. We can build trust with admiring other people’s culture.
We always feel insecure when we don’t belong to the people. Violence and hostility is what we have inherited from our previous wars and conflicts. We need to forge social networks between different groups for better understanding. Every day 25,000 people die from poverty and hunger, and we have forgotten that they are also humans. What stops us from helping them is the feeling we have about them due to our cultural conflicts. Cultures can contribute to wealth creation and economic development. It also leads to cooperation among nations. Culture can stabilize social conflicts, civil wars and clashes.
The world is entering into a new series of its problems. The MDGs expire in 2015 with the relative achievement of their goals. Cultural interactions and acceptance should be one of the main goals of SDGs. The UN needs to put an end to regional and international conflicts that arise due to intolerance of cultural intolerance. Culture has been in exile in some post conflict countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan and they are now real threats to the security of the world community. Culture can help to tackle some of the key world challenges which are not possible through economic or political interventions.
Two thirds of 900 illiterate people are girls and they are out of education because of wrong perceptions about their cultures. Cultural interaction can bring to school 130 million children who do not have access to elementary education. It can influence youth and new generations to end global challenges such as conflicts, wars and endemic poverty.
People will not listen to what we say, and facts are not enough to convince them toward peace and harmony. We need to present them something they care about and that is their culture. We can promote human rights, justice, gender equality and democracy through their cultures. Current environmental challenges such as depletion of water resources, deforestation, extinction of endangered species, global warming, terrorism, they all can be handled through cultural exchanges and interactions.
Within the last decade, culture has turned to be an engine for generating jobs and income, where it had kept massive populations away from poverty, hunger and famine. It also builds social cohesion, and mobilizes communities. According to UNWTO; global culture industries account for more than 7% of world GDP. And it has created value of US$ 1.3 trillion in 2005 through cultural programs. According to UN figures cultural tourism is considered as one of the important revenue around the world for reduction of poverty. UNESCO World Heritage sites enable people to maintain their livelihoods by selling local crafts, and cultural product.
In my country where culture is bound with fanaticism, it does not tolerate education of women. Moreover, it had created disputation among ethnic groups. As a result of cultural interactions and exchange programs; specifically UNESCO and UNICEF programs, today 8.2 million children are in schools and universities. Moreover, it had changed the way of thinking about women, minorities, neighbors and foreigners.