International Day for Tolerance

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Apr 21, 2022, 8:52

The world is diverse by nature, and people of different ethnicities and cultures enrich our lives. However, intolerance is on the rise in many societies. The United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed November 16 as International Day for Tolerance to encourage the coexistence and survival of mixed communities across the world.

International Day for Tolerance History

On November 16, 1995, UNESCO adopted the Declaration of Principles on Tolerance for all governing and participating bodies of member states. The declaration promotes acceptance, appreciation, and respect toward the world's diverse cultures. It also declares that tolerance is neither indifference nor indulgence, and the survival of mixed global communities is only possible through tolerance.

To commemorate UNESCO's declaration in 1996, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 51/95 to observe International Day for Tolerance on November 16 to spread awareness about intolerance.

International Day for Tolerance Theme 2021

The theme for International Day for Tolerance 2021 was Tolerance is respect, acceptance, and appreciation of the rich diversity of our world's cultures, our forms of expression, and ways of being human.

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Significance of International Day for Tolerance

In today's globalized world, tolerance is needed in all spheres of life to live peacefully. Tolerance alone makes it possible to -

  • Respect and promote the universal human rights and fundamental freedom of diverse cultures and people.
  • Allow people of different religions and races to live and work together.
  • Initiate dialogue between people from diverse backgrounds.
  • Hear out other people's views, feelings, beliefs, preferences, etc., even if they are entirely different from ours.

International Day for Tolerance helps to counter feelings of intolerance in society by —

  • Educating people about tolerance, human rights, etc.
  • Eliminating the fear of other religions or nations.
  • Providing access to information about diverse groups to avoid exaggerated pride in one's religion and culture.
  • Enhancing individual awareness to avoid individual expressions of intolerance such as stereotyping, bigotry, insults, racial jokes, and stigmatizing.
  • Providing local solutions for punishing hatemongers, hate crimes, or acts of discrimination against individuals.

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UNESCO Prize for International Day for Tolerance

To celebrate the 125th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi's birth and honour the United Nations Year for Tolerance, UNESCO established a prize in the year 1995 to promote non-violence. The UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Intolerance and Non-Violence is awarded every two years on International Day for Tolerance to individuals or institutions involved in significant activities in the field of Science, Arts, Culture, or Communication that promote the spirit of tolerance and non-violence. The winner has rewarded a sum of US$ 100,000.

The world that we live in today will be more globalized in the future. To establish a rich exchange of ideas and dialogue between people from different communities, the virtue of tolerance is essential. However, tolerance is not the responsibility of governments and institutions alone. Each one of us can do our bit for International Day for Tolerance.

We can start by asking ourselves questions like—Am I a tolerant person who does not stereotype people? Do I reject people who belong to different religions or cultural backgrounds? Do I blame my problems on people of different races, religions, sex, nationalities, or colour?

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FAQs on International Day for Tolerance

Q.1. Why is the International Day for Tolerance important?

International Day for Tolerance helps spread awareness of intolerance through events, campaigns, etc., and educates people to be more tolerant.

Q.2. Which date has been declared the International Day for Tolerance by UNESCO?

UNESCO has proclaimed November 16 as the International Day for Tolerance since its inception in 1995 by the United Nations.

Q.3. Why do we celebrate International Day for Tolerance?

The International Day for Tolerance commemorates the Declaration of Principles on Tolerance and fights discrimination based on colour, race, religion, nationality, gender, etc.

Q.4. How to celebrate International Day for Tolerance?

You can read about different ethnicities and cultures, listen to people from different backgrounds with different viewpoints, educate yourself about organizations and individuals involved in the fight against discrimination, etc.

Q.5. What is the name of the International Day for Tolerance Prize?

The name of the International Day for Tolerance Prize is the UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-Violence.