Let’s imagine for a moment that D.I.V.E.R.S.I.T.Y stands for Dignity, Inclusiveness, Variety, Equality, Recognition, Self-awareness, Identification, Tolerance and Yourselves. What kind of mental images do we associate with these words in the context of diversity?
D – Dignity can be defined as an individual’s quality of being worthy of esteem or honour. It means showing respect for oneself as well as for all the others. It helps us to see and treat other human beings as unique and equal to us regardless of their background and personal history.
I – Inclusiveness is an ambience of letting people in, making them feel genuinely welcome and helping them create a sense of belonging within the given environment. Maybe there is a way to make our countries a more inclusive place for all the refugees that have been arriving in the European Union member states in the past months.
V – Variety means an absence of sameness and monotony. It is the state of having many different things together at the same time. The harmonious coexistence and wonderful blend of various groups of people are considered as an important condition for a society to thrive.
E – Equality is when things are the same in some particular way. It is the condition of being equal in quality and esteem. Equality means that individuals or groups of individuals are to be treated fairly and equally on the grounds of race, gender, disability, religion or worldview, sexual orientation and age.
R – Recognition can be understood as the act of acknowledging someone for his/her knowledge, skills or competences. For instance, in relation to arriving migrants, many countries have already procedures in place for the assessment, verification and recognition of their professional qualifications obtained abroad.
S – Self-awareness is an individual’s conscious knowledge of themselves and their worth as a human being. It means having a clear perception of one’s personality (e.g. strengths, weaknesses, values, beliefs, attitudes). Intercultural encounters are often useful mirrors for us to realize, who we actually are and what we stand for.
I – Identification is defined as the act of finding out, who someone or what something is. It is also a matter of identifying with someone and feeling that one eventually shares and understands the situation or experience of another person (e.g. a newly arrived migrant who does not yet speak the language of the host country).
T – Tolerance is being understanding of anything different and respecting the beliefs, values and worldviews of others. Yet, tolerance does not mean that one should automatically accept everything that is different; especially not, if it is something morally or ethically ambiguous, inappropriate or wrong.
Y – Yourselves refer to those ones identical with you. Knowing who you are makes it much easier to understand who the others are. That way meaningful, supportive and empowering relationships with other human beings from across the globe can be established and fully enjoyed.