Identify & Get Informed
Culture describes the many ways in which human beings express themselves for the purposes of uniting with others, forming a group, defining an identity, and even for distinguishing themselves as unique.
Cultural expression is highly sensual in that human beings often create activities, practices, symbols, and so on that can be easily consumed by our senses. For example, culturally distinct forms of dance or physical movement attract our senses of touch and sight; whereas culturally specific foods seek to activate our sense of taste and smell.
Although “culture” is not necessary for the survival of the human species, notions of culture and cultural identities are present in almost every human society on earth. As the world moves closer together through increased globalization, migration, and technological advancement human beings are beginning to question the role (and reach) of culture within all aspects of human existence. The “question of culture” is one that reflects on how culture has historically been used to justify and legitimize certain behaviors, practices, traditions, and overall ways of living. For example, while drafting the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women
, several countries represented at this United Nations General Assembly meeting that year took reservation with some of the tenants of the declaration that were perceived as being in “conflict” with their cultural practices and beliefs. In this example, using culture to refrain from agreeing with a set of international standards for handling cases of violence directed at women, posed a difficult situation given that it placed culture at odds with upholding universal notions of human rights.
The global issue of culture encompasses many diverse matters of interest which include: Religious Freedom, Cultural Diversity, Disability Culture, Indigenous Peoples, Global Citizenship, and Languages.
To learn more about the Global Issues’ Guide-to-Action model used for this issue click here
INTERCULTURAL DIALOGUE PERSPECTIVE
Some people have a great concern for the preservation of culture, and they fear that their cultural values and traditions are at risk of getting lost among the mix of new and different ideas. However, as global cultures become increasingly in contact, the fear that one’s culture will be loss can be easily avoided with the practice of Intercultural Dialogue.
Intercultural dialogue supports the preservation as well as the fusion of various cultures. The focus of intercultural dialogue is on the willingness to learn about other cultures without the adoption of stereotypes and biases, which are often used to negatively represent a culture. Intercultural dialogue works like a bridge between cultures. Every new thing that is learned about another culture brings you one step closer to understanding that culture from a more diverse perspective. Bridging the cultural gap through intercultural dialogue will make it easier to cross from one culture to another.
With advancements in information and communication technologies, we are faced with the responsibility to learn from each other with dignity, show mutual-respect for our differences and similarities, and begin to experience ourselves from a diversity of perspectives and viewpoints, not just our own.
Lead & Get Others Involved
Culture is often used as a starting point when expressing our identity to others. Yet culture, like identity, is complex and it includes characteristics beyond ethnicity and religion. For instance, come people around the world share the common experience of living with a disability, but beyond the physical realities of disability, some people who identify as disabled have begun to recognize the uniqueness and empowerment of their collective expressions as members of the same culture, disability culture
. Unlike other cultural groups, disability culture has not been as visible within communities around the world, in part due to the continued marginalization of peoples with disabilities, and in other cases because of the lack of voices being heard from this diverse cultural group.
Kitty Lunn had been dancing at the professional level since she was 15 years old. While training for a theatre show, she had an accident that left her with a severe back injury and unable to walk. Her new disability forced her to take notice of how her experience of the world had changed; in addition to awaking her passion to share this new found experience with others. In 1995, Kitty Lunn founded the Infinity Dance Theatre, which supports physically disabled aspiring dancers. Lunn teaches a technique that incorporates strong ballet and modern dance traditions while inspiring a new definition of what makes a dancer by encouraging her students to experience dance through one’s own unique abilities.
Namel “Tapwaterz” Norris and Ricardo “Rickfire” Velasquez form the hip-hop singing group, 4 Wheel City.
The duo from the United States of America refuses to let their fans see their disability as a barrier. Their music is a testimony to their experiences as members of the disability culture with musical messages reassuring their listeners that any aspiration is achievable regardless of one’s ability. Several media channels have featured 4 Wheel City, including Fox News and Source Magazine.
If you have lead others to get involved in making an impact on the issue of culture or any other global issue, let the rest of the TakingITGlobal (TIG) community know by writing your own TIG member's story
and inspire others to create change just like you!
Now that you’re inspired to lead others on this global issue check out these web links to learn more about how you can get involved with this issue.
Are you interested in intercultural and interreligious dialogues for purposes of leading others on issues of global importance? Then check out the leadership opportunities offered by the InterFaith Youth Core.
"Tree of Life" extends beyond the mundane uses of social networking to encourage a positive circle of sharing, learning, and dialogue on Indigenous Issues, First Peoples History, Environmental Sustainability, Artistic Creation, Writing, Research, and Indigenous Activism.
Calling for “a show of hands,” to support the survival of indigenous and minority communities, their cultures and languages.
Plan and Get Moving
So how are you going to share this global issue with others?
Here’s what you can do on TIG:
- Create a petition or make a commitment to celebrate cultural diversity
- Start a TIG group or a project dedicated to informing and empowering young people in your community and around the world about cultural issues
- If you’re not sure how to start a conversation around this issue, connect with other TIG members on our discussion boards.
- Check out TIG’s Action Guides to learn how to make the action you want to take on this global issue a reality.
Here’s what else you can do:
- Think outside your ‘cultural box’ and begin to experience the diversity around you by attending cross-cultural events
- reflecting artistically on your own personal experiences with culture and submit it to a global art gallery
- Speak up against discrimination
- Visit a new community or country to learn from the locals of that area what there culture means to them.
This is just the beginning, there is a world of opportunities for you to plan and get moving on. So what are you waiting for and get started today!
Have a Lasting Impact
Remember, learning about a new global issue is only the first step to developing the skills you need to have a lasting impact. So let the rest of TIG know what kind of change you want to see with the issue of Culture by joining us in one of our online discussions described below.
What is Intercultural Dialogue?
The “question of culture,” should culture ever be questioned OR is culture essential to defining who we are as individuals or who we are collectively?
In America, it's polite to make eye contact, and would be considered rude not to. In your country, what are some cultural norms that take place while talking to somebody else?
4 Wheel City. Web Address: http://www.myspace.com/4wheelcity
National Registry of Dance Educators. Kitty Lunn R.D.E., Artistic Director. Web Address: http://www.nrde.org/lunnkitty.html
= describes the right and freedom to practice, believe (or not believe), express, associate, and organize within a religion or spiritual way of life.
= describes the celebration of multiple cultures co-existing in peaceful association. Culture diversity is not only for the preservation of culture (since cultures are constantly changing) but primarily for the purposes of experiencing the diversity of expressions and practices within the human species.
= describes the movement by which disability is expressed as more than just a condition, but also as a common experience that collectively lends itself to the unique and diverse expressions of those who identify as disabled.
= describes a group of people who have occupied the same geographic location and maintained a distinct set of cultural practices over centuries of time. Although Indigenous peoples tend to maintain a greater level of traditional practices overtime than most other cultures, global Indigenous cultures are just as dynamic and fluid as most others cultures since they are a result of constant interactions with the surrounding environment (both human and nature), which is also changing.
= describes a movement that seeks to globalize the conditions of state-based citizenship to span across borders, countries, and civilizations. Global Citizenship reflects a type of citizenship that entails universal rights for all and the universal responsibility to uphold the rights and dignity of all humankind.
= the ability to communicate thoughts, emotions, changes in time and beliefs through words and physical movement. Every human being has the capacity to develop at least one language (i.e. the mother tongue) in a lifetime.
Have something more to add to what we’ve discussed above, then check out this global issue’s wiki page to have your say!