Today violence has taken on a new face globally. No longer is confrontation between superpowers the central issue of war and peace. Today, intra societal violence, violence within nations overshadows violence that pits nation against nation. However intra-societal violence is not always confined within national borders and it can spill across communities and boundaries. Development of world wide culture of peace is required to meet the challenges of increased societal violence. In the 21st century we cannot survive with the ethics of 20th century. Lucidity, solidarity, generosity and love must replace greed, hypocrisy and cynicism. With this as prelude, the aim of this essay is:-
That people of diverse cultures and backgrounds live together peacefully, and how do young people contribute to the creation of dynamic and harmonious multicultural societies?
The horrendous terrorist strike on Trade Center in New York is nothing but a profound cause of clash of cultures and is crime against humanity. This can be overcome by an openness to other humanistic cultures and values or in other words, by multi-culturalism. Parallel to the spread of global economy, international relations, markets, information and technology, young people one and all have to spread the wave of global culture of peace and harmony. This multi- culturalism and pluralism can promote the awareness of the oneness of humanity and the consciousness of common values and norms in various cultures, which will give way to global citizen, along with number of ethnic identities and cultures of various groups and nations which will nourish each other. It is therefore important to build an effective multi-cultural system at regional and global level. To accomplish this, the following measures are recommended:-
(a) Young people who are the torch bearers of next generations should be made aware of literature and arts of various civilizations and cultures. They should be given multi-cultural peace education and peace studies.
(b) Confidence building measures should be undertaken by states and nations among people based on peace values that would promote tolerance and appreciation and respect for the culture of other’s i.e. diversity.
The role of the media in promoting social integration at global level and patronizing peaceful living at global level.
The media and telecommunications play an important role of inter-connection between people and nations, and are a key factor in the process of the globalization of culture and the spread of multi-culturalism. A decade back people used to read news concerning their own society and watched their local media but with the growing tele-communication system the world has become a large global village where global tele-communication system has promoted inter-connection of different societies and their attempts to reach each other open and accessible. Hence, the modern electronic communications can play a key role in the creation and promotion of the required multi-culture of peace system. The electronic media and communications due to their fast movement of information can reach global multitudes simultaneously, have a great responsibility in shaping perceptions and opinions of the people and thus can play a crucial role in building a multi- cultural peace system. It can emphasize that multi-cultural globalization is not a threat to ethnic identity. Furthermore, a conscientious, balanced and responsible media can help in eradicating the monster of violence, terror and war which are infesting many parts of the world. Thus it is important to create and develop a multi-cultural peace and media network, which should be force to reckon with. The main goal of this network should be to spread and promote the multi-cultural values, tolerance and peace. In addition, the media should cover the aspects of society and culture that are positive and constructive such as literature, poetry and drama in building a new pluralistic society. Not only this, decision makers and people in each country who have impact on popular consciousness should be personally involved and motivated to contribute towards the development and promotion of harmonious and multi-cultural societies. Thus media and tele-communications can help in creating and promoting tolerance so that people of diverse cultures and backgrounds live together peacefully and there is global advancement of humankind towards global identification and unity, while keeping own traditions and intrinsic cultural diversity.
Role of education in cultural identity formation
Today we live in an increasingly interdependent world, where the actions of ordinary citizens are likely to have an impact on other’s lives across the globe. In turn our lives, our jobs the food we eat and the development of our communities are being influenced by global developments. It is important that young people are informed about the world in which they live. Education for living together, having tolerance in diverse multi-cultural society is an essential foundation for one global world. Education should aim in developing a global perspective so as to expand and enrich young minds perspective, so that their views of the world are not ethnocentric, stereotypical or limited by a narrow or distorted point of view. Young people should be encouraged to learn universal and cultural values and practices, global inter-connections, present world wide concerns and conditions, origins and patterns of world wide affairs. Young people should be made global citizens of 21st century and education policy should be based on the following characteristics:-
(a) To see the problems as a member of global society and find solutions to it.
(b) To co-operate with others as a responsible citizen leaving ethnocentric views.
(c) Able to understand, accept, appreciate and tolerate cultural differences.
(d) Think critically and systematically.
(e) Solving problems in a non-violent way.
(f) Have sound knowledge of human rights and safeguard them in any part of the globe leaving own prejudices at on side.
(g) Students and young people should be made aware of cross- cultural skills.
Better education can play a significant role in addressing social issues, cultural diversity and identity. In a multi-cultural education curriculum, education should explain the issues of cultural shock, racism, confused identity and conflicts based on inter-cultural tensions. Educators can teach about contemporary art and artists whose works address social issues, Educators can conduct discussions and students can analyze the expression of personal, social and political issues. Though educators should teach the idea of inter-connectedness between us and rest of the globe.
Thus multi-cultural education is a philosophical concept built on the ideals of freedom, justice, equality, equity and human dignity. This kind of education is not formal but informal – by means of discussions and practical’s, where in teachers and schools play an important role in developing the attitude and values necessary for democratic society. It values cultural differences and affirms the pluralism that students, their communities and teachers reflect. This kind of education challenges all forms of discrimination in schools and society through the promotion of democratic principles of social justice. Multi-cultural education is a process that brings all aspects of school functions to ensure the academic achievements for all young minds. It helps students by providing knowledge about histories, cultures and contributions of diverse groups. It encourages students to work actively toward structural equality in organizations and institutions by giving them knowledge and skills for redistribution of power and income among diverse groups. The school curriculum should address issues of racism, sexism, classism, religious intolerance and linguicism. Multi-cultural education advocates that teachers and students must critically analyze oppression in communities, societies and the world.
Though the task of multi-cultural society is nearly impossible, however if immigrant as well as native of the country –both accept each other and start associating with each other and have mutual respect for each other’s diverse culture’s than that is the key for any multi-cultural society. It is said “charity begins at home” and so does tolerance. It might not be possible to change the whole world in one’s life time, but sure enough one can set an example and mind you, it is infectious and spreads rapidly. “Youngsters are the torch bearers of next generations”, and if they are educated about love, tolerance, non-violence, inter-connectness, values and harmony from young age. We might see “Utopia”, called harmonious multi-cultural society. Not only the young minds, but media, telecommunication experts, policy makers, teachers, parents and educationalists take a pledge that lets go beyond our religious beliefs, racial, regional and cultural differences and make this world happy, free from terror, worth living for humans where there are no 9/11 strikes & 26/11 attacks, where there is harmony and oneness.
Student, Army Institute Of Law- Mohali
[Submitted as an entry for the MightyLaws.in Blog Post Writing Competition, 2011]