The more people are on the margins the weaker is the center…we all have a stake in building a future which respects and celebrates diversity.
Mary MacAleese (Ireland, 2000).
In a rapidly changing world where social, economic, cultural upheaval challenges traditional ways of life education has a major role to play in promoting social cohesion and peaceful coexistence. Intercultural Education in particular with its focus on the recognition and respect of the normality of diversity promotes Human Rights and equal participation and inclusion. According to UNESCO’s Guidelines on Intercultural Education the distinct aims of Intercultural Education can be summarised under the headings of the following “four pillars of education” as identified by the International Commission on Education for the Twenty-First Century.
- Learning to know, by combining sufficiently broad general knowledge with the opportunity to work in-depth on a small number of projects.
- Learning to do, in order to acquire not only an occupational skill but also, more broadly, the competence to deal with many situations and to work in teams.
- Learning to Live Together, by developing an understanding of other people and an appreciation of interdependence-carrying out joined projects and learning to manage conflicts- in a spirit of respect for the values of pluralism, mutual understanding, peace and cultural diversity.
- Learning to Be, so as to better develop one’s personality and be able to act with ever greater autonomy, judgment, and personal responsibility. In that respect education must not disregard any aspect of a person’s potential such as his/her cultural potential and it must be based on the right to difference.