Thoughts on World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development from an ADIT Executive Council Member

Val Haskell, global senior director, SAP, and a member of the Executive Council of CompTIA’s Advancing Diversity in Technology Community, reflects on diversity in honor of World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development.

When I was a kid, it seemed like we only celebrated a few special days and national holidays. As I got older, I thought maybe the addition of holidays and things to honor was a plot to sell more greeting cards. Recently, I learned of World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development – being celebrated today, May 21. This is a day that deserves recognition and celebration. It could use a card too.

Last week, I was flying back to Texas from Brazil and the Brazilian next to me asked if immigrants were a problem in the U.S. That question launched a discussion about immigrants making the U.S. a great place and, in fact, most of us who live here were at one time, immigrants. Different cultures make things interesting. Whenever I travel I feel my world expand. But honestly, I don’t have to travel for that to happen. I can just engage in a meaningful conversation with someone at work, in my neighborhood or in my community at large.

The UN site says that three-fourths of the world’s major conflicts have a cultural dimension. That suggests a lack of understanding and respect for each other. Sometimes trying to understand each other can be challenging but in most cases it can be fun. It can be a way to connect to others; to appreciate the humanity we all share.

If you want to celebrate the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development here are a few ideas:

  • Go to lunch with your colleagues to a restaurant with a different culture.
  • Invite someone who is culturally different from you out and get to know each other.
  • At dinner, pick a country on a map with your family and have everyone research and share one tidbit they learned.
  • Go on a date to a cultural performance.

These ideas are starting points and ways to have fun while expanding our understanding and comfort with other cultures.

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