United Nations, Nov 16: As the world celebrates International Day for Tolerance, United Nations cultural agency’s Chief Audrey Azoulay in a message invited everyone to share UNESCO’s message of tolerance and peace.
At a time when extremism and fanaticism are too often unleashed, when “the venom of hatred” continues to poison a part of humanity, “tolerance has never been more vital a virtue”, Azoulay said.
“Tolerance is more than standing idly by or remaining insensitive to differences between men and women, cultures and beliefs”, she said adding, but instead a “state of mind, awareness and a requirement.” In 1996, the UN General Assembly invited Member States to observe the Day each year on 16 November to, among other things, foster mutual understanding among cultures and peoples. The 2019 edition of the Day will be marked this Saturday.
Ms. Azoulay stressed that tolerance is “to realize that cultural diversity is a form of wealth, not a factor of division”. “It is to perceive that each culture, beyond immediate or apparent differences, is a constituent part of universality and speaks the common language of humanity.”
Quoting former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, she said that tolerance is “a virtue that makes peace possible”.
Since its foundation, UNESCO has aimed to “build peace by combating the intolerance that still too often tears our societies apart, and by relentlessly fighting all forms of racism and discrimination”, the agency chief maintained.
Ms. Azoulay cited the words of former Director-General Federico Mayor: “UNESCO bears and echoes the message of tolerance, true to its mission of being ‘the conscience of the United Nations’”. (UNI)