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Why Do Diverse Settings Rock for Youth?

Diving into a multicultural setting has some great advantages for young individuals. Here's why:

  • Broaden Your Horizon: get to truly understand and value the beauty of diversity.
  • Unleash Creativity: different backgrounds bring fresh ideas and spark innovation.
  • Language Boost: picking up new languages and accents becomes much easier.
  • Break the Bias: it helps in breaking down prejudices and unfair judgments.
  • Global Ready: prepare for a world that's more connected than ever.

That Little Voice: WATCH THE VIDEO

By learning now how to navigate and thrive in diverse communities, you're setting yourself up for success in the future.

This video gives a glimpse of the diverse voices you'll encounter when you enter the workforce. Let's dive into this video to see what awaits and how you can prepare.

Dive Deeper: Questions to Think about

Question 1

  Can you recall a time when you felt like an outsider or when your opinion was overlooked? How did you handle the situation, and what would you do differently now?

Question 2

Can you recall a situation where someone either stood up for another person or should have done so?

Appreciate diversity

Learning about different cultures, traditions, and beliefs, can increase understanding and appreciation of diversity. Exposure to diverse perspectives can help you to develop empathy, respect, and tolerance towards others, and to challenge their prejudices.

Creativity and innovation

When youth from different cultural backgrounds work together, they can bring a range of different skills, ideas, and perspectives to the table, which can lead to new and innovative solutions to problems.

Improve language skills

 When you are exposed to different languages on a daily basis, you are more likely to develop language skills and to become proficient in multiple languages. This can increase your employability and mobility in a globalised world.

Promote social cohesion

When young people from different cultural backgrounds come together in a supportive and inclusive environment, you are more likely to form positive relationships and to work towards common goals. This can lead to the development of a sense of community and belonging and reduce intercultural prejudice and discrimination. 

Prepare for a globalized world

In an increasingly interconnected and diverse world, the ability to communicate and work effectively with people from different cultural backgrounds is becoming increasingly important. By providing you with opportunities to interact with other people from different cultural backgrounds, multicultural environments can help to prepare you for future challenges and to become global citizens.

Real World Example

Stockholm School of Economics & Diversity

The Stockholm School of Economics (SSE) nails the importance of a multicultural vibe for youth. They've put diversity, equity, and inclusion at the heart of what they do.

In SSE's inclusive space, young minds come together, especially in business studies. Here, understanding global markets and varied cultures is key. Mixing with diverse peers helps youth become more understanding, flexible, and ready for the world.

SSE's commitment to these values not only sets an example but also motivates future business leaders to champion inclusivity in their paths.

🔗 Learn More

Dive into the Multicultural Mix: Your Action Plan

🌍 1. Connect Globally: start with a simple step. Join an international online forum or group related to your interests. Whether it's gaming, music, or art, there's a global community waiting.  See our examples in section 2.6 later.

🤝 2. Buddy Up: pair with someone from a different background at school or in your community. Swap stories, share a meal, or teach each other something new.

🎧 3. Tune In: listen to a podcast or watch a documentary about a culture you're unfamiliar with. Not only will you learn, but you'll also find common ground in unexpected places.

🎨 4. Create Collaboratively: start a project that requires diverse perspectives. Maybe it's a YouTube channel reviewing global music or a blog exploring worldwide fashion trends.

📚 5. Challenge Yourself: read a book or article that offers a viewpoint different from yours. Discuss it with friends, and you'll be surprised at the insights you gain.

Remember: Innovating your life isn't just about big ideas; it's about understanding the world piece by piece. By actively engaging with diverse cultures, you're not just talking the talk; you're walking the walk toward a more inclusive future.

Cultures Unite: Your Wellbeing Boost

Think of the world as a massive puzzle, with each culture being a unique piece. When we connect these pieces, we see a bigger, more vibrant picture.

The world's getting smaller, thanks to tech. Use it to learn about cultures beyond your backyard. It's prep for a world that's more connected than ever.

Start conversations in your circles about different cultures. Share a song, a dish, or a story. It's about understanding, not just knowing.

It's not just about getting along. It's about truly understanding and valuing what each culture brings to the table.

When we feel connected and understood, it's a win for our mental health. Celebrate differences, and you'll find it's a boost for everyone's wellbeing

Envision a world where diverse beliefs unite us, a vibrant mosaic of heritage, cultures, and religions, including those without a religious affiliation, all eager to belong, engage, and have impactful conversations.

Guess what? That world is here!

Interfaith – What is it?

Interfaith, in its most basic sense, is when people or groups from different religious/spiritual worldviews and traditions come together. “Inter-religious” is also used as a synonym, but interfaith cooperation can also include atheists and agnostics, and people of no faith. Interfaith cooperation is the conscious bringing together of people from diverse religious, spiritual, and ethical beliefs.

Interfaith cooperation can take many different forms:

  • Interfaith dialogue – like when a group of people talk about their beliefs.
  • Interfaith-based action – like when a group of people of different beliefs do something together, such as plant a garden for those in need of food.
  • And interfaith-based outreach – like when people of diverse faiths educate about religious beliefs (religious literacy), such as teaching others about religion.

SOURCE: Marymount University

Faith & Diversity: Finding Unity in Differences

How can sharing different beliefs pave the way for peaceful coexistence?

Check out "Coexister" - it's this cool French movement where young people, no matter their faith or beliefs, come together. Why? To strengthen bonds and promote understanding.

The whole ethos of Coexister is that our diverse beliefs aren't barriers; they are bridges. By sharing and learning from each other, we're not just getting along - we're building a society that's more in sync and peaceful. So, whether you're religious, spiritual, not spiritual or somewhere in between, there's power in coming together.

Empowering Youth Through Interfaith Unity: A Path to Wellbeing and Purpose

Benefits of interfaith exchanges for young people

  • Through interfaith exchanges and workshops, young people are encouraged to share their experiences, learn from each other and build a common understanding of the challenges facing their communities. They are also invited to engage in collective actions and community services aimed at promoting social justice, environmental sustainability, and human rights.
  • Coexister and interfaith actions are a powerful tool for promoting youth wellbeing. Many young people have reported regaining self-confidence, feeling recognised and appreciated, finding a sense of purpose and belonging, and developing new skills and competencies through their involvement in this movement.
  • By enabling young people to connect across cultural and religious boundaries, Coexister fosters a sense of understanding, empathy, openness, and respect for diversity that are essential for building a more inclusive and cohesive society.

Type of activities to promote interfaith and beliefs dialogue

DIALOGUE as a way of getting to know each other. Each local group can organise visits to places of worship, debates, conferences, shared meals on the evenings of religious festivals, exhibitions, café-debate or film

SOLIDARITY activities go beyond the simple framework of dialogue by acting together in the service of society e.g. clothing and toy collections, blood donations, work with the refugees, homeless, and orphans, etc.

RAISE AWARENESS involves spreading respectful messages about diverse cultures and beliefs, both online and in face-to-face interactions.

Empowering Youth Through Interfaith Unity:

A Path to Wellbeing and Purpose

Young people who don't have direct access to a project such as Coexister can still achieve similar results by engaging in activities that promote interfaith understanding, community involvement, and personal growth. Here are some actionable steps they can take:

  • Start Local Interfaith Groups: gather friends and acquaintances from different religious backgrounds and start a discussion group. Meet regularly to share experiences, beliefs, and traditions.
  • Attend Workshops & Seminars: look for local or online workshops that focus on interfaith dialogue, cultural understanding, or community building.
  • Community Service: organise or participate in community service projects that bring together diverse groups. This could be cleaning a park, helping at a food bank, or organising a cultural fair.
  • Educate Yourself: read books, watch documentaries, or take online courses about different religions and cultures. Understanding is the first step to appreciation.

Empowering Youth Through Interfaith Unity: A Path to Wellbeing and Purpose

  • Host Cultural Exchange Events: organise events where people can share their cultural and religious practices, like food tasting, music sessions, or storytelling nights.
  • Engage in Art and Expression: encourage the creation of art, music, or writing that celebrates diversity and shared human experiences.
  • Promote Open Dialogue: create safe spaces, whether online or offline, where young people can discuss their beliefs without judgment. This can be in the form of discussion forums, blogs, or social media groups.
  • Collaborate on Projects: work on projects that require diverse perspectives. This could be a community mural, a joint musical performance, or a shared garden.
  • Mentorship Programmes: pair up with someone from a different cultural or religious background. Share experiences, offer guidance, and learn from one another.
  • Celebrate Festivals: participate in or organise events that celebrate various religious festivals. It's a fun way to learn and appreciate different traditions.

Testimonies from young people engaged in Coexister interfaith exchanges

"Being part of Coexister allowed me to share my beliefs and convictions with others, and to learn more about their own perspectives. It was a very enriching experience that helped me to grow personally and spiritually."

"Before joining Coexister, I felt isolated and misunderstood because of my faith. But through the exchanges and activities organised by the movement, I found a community of like-minded people who support me and with whom I can share my struggles and joys."

"Coexister gave me the opportunity to discover new cultures and traditions, and to learn from them. I now have friends from different parts of the world, and I feel more connected to the global community."

Game Walk in My Shoes

Objective: To promote empathy, respect, and understanding among young people from different religious backgrounds. Encourage open, respectful discussions about beliefs. Rotate the activity so everyone participates.

Materials needed: a shoebox or container for each participant, pieces of paper, pens, or pencils.

Ask each participant to bring a shoe or a pair of shoes that represent their faith or religious convictions.

Explain to the participants that they will engage in a role-playing activity to help them understand and appreciate different religious beliefs and practices.

Ask each participant to place their shoes in the shoebox or container and take a pair of shoes from the box that is not their own.

Ask the participants to examine the shoes they have chosen and then write down what they think the religious beliefs or convictions of the owner of the shoes might be.

After everyone has written down their thoughts, have the participants share what they have written with the group.

Ask the owners of the shoes to reveal their religious beliefs or convictions and share with the group some of their practices and rituals.

What is active coexistence?

In this video, Coexister explains what is the “active coexistence”, why it is desirable,  and compares it to other types of societies: confrontation, assimilation, and passive coexistence.

Additional resources

World Interfaith Network, Connecting Interfaith Groups and People Around the World

Interfaith Relationships: The Path to Truth | Ghazala Hayat | TEDxSaintLouisUniversity

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