Do You Know the History of the International Day for Tolerance?

 “Tolerance is respect, acceptance and appreciation of the rich diversity of our world’s cultures, our forms of expression and ways of being human.”

– UNESCO’s 1995 Declaration of Principles on Tolerance

The International Day for Tolerance was first celebrated in 1996. This day is now celebrated worldwide each year on November 16th, the anniversary of the presentation of the Declaration of Principles on Tolerance by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).  These principles set the standard and help to uphold the mission of the United Nations which is, in part, to “contribute to the building of a culture of peace and intercultural dialogue.”

Tolerance is the recognition that every human has universal rights and fundamental freedoms that must be respected. It is also acknowledging the natural diversity of people and realizing that tolerance alone will guarantee the survival of humanity.

The idea for a yearly day of tolerance came after the United Nations announced a “Year for Tolerance” the year before, 1995. The Day of Tolerance is held each year with the goal of helping people understand that tolerance should be a standard in society.

In addition to the Day of Tolerance, UNESCO founded a yearly award, the Madanjeet Singh Prize, to honor recipients who have contributed to a more tolerant and non-violent society. Those recognized can be in the fields of science, culture, communication, or the arts.

If you would like to learn more about the UN’s International Day for Tolerance, you can do so on their website, They will soon be publishing activities for both educational audiences as well as the general public.
– Written by Jill Hart, LIMHP

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