Celebrating Diversity at Work

Cultural diversity is increasingly important to the business landscapeMay 21st is World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. The United Nations established this day in the wake of the September 11th attacks as a way to draw awareness to the possibilities held in the world’s diverse cultures, as well as opportunities in the developing world.

Cultural diversity is increasingly important to the business landscape, where teams could be made up of managers in the US, customer service in India, and manufacturing in China.

Here are some ideas on ways you can recognize this important day and what it stands for.

Multicultural potluck – Everyone loves potlucks. Establish multicultural cuisine as the theme for your next team meal, inviting members to contribute dishes from their home culture.

Music in the team room – If you have teams organized in their own separate rooms, let each member choose the music for the room on a daily rotation. Again, invite them to reflect their home culture.

Celebrate diverse holidays – Although your office might officially recognize only American holidays, set aside some time to recognize holidays in the cultures of the team, including culturally-appropriate celebrations.

Charitable giving – Part of World Day for Cultural Diversity is helping the people in the developing world. Find a charity that helps a developing country and organize the team in an effort to help.

Movie night – Some cultures are known for their movies. Invite everyone out for a movie night featuring a film that is out of the American mainstream.

Book club – If your team has a book club, make sure the literature of other cultures is represented in the book rotation. If you don’t have a club yet, start one!

Support “Do One Thing” – The official campaign for World Day is “Do One Thing for Diversity and Inclusion”, started by UNESCO and the UN Alliance of Civilizations. The campaign works through a Facebook page where people share their multicultural efforts and ideas.

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