The Importance of Cultural Diversity in a Globalized World: Why World Day for Cultural Diversity Matters Now More Than Ever

By: Cheryl

By: Klaidi Shehi

What is World Day for Cultural Diversity?

In today’s interconnected world, cultural diversity is more abundant and important than ever. As people immigrate, travel, and build mixed families, the world becomes ever more a melting pot of cultures. While this connectivity of cultures in large cities such as Toronto, it presents opportunities for economic growth, innovation, and creativity, however, it can also lead to misunderstandings, prejudice, and discrimination. That is why on May 21st, 2002, the United Nations through UNESCO started World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. This day, observed annually on May 21st, is a celebration of the richness of cultures that are present and make up our global community that also highlights the essential role of intercultural dialogue in achieving peace and sustainable development. In this blog, we will explore why cultural diversity is important and why this day matters in today’s world.

Cultural Diversity helps Enrich People’s Lives

Cultural diversity helps develop and enrich our lives in ways we may not always recognize. Through exposure to different cultures, traditions, and beliefs, we begin to appreciate different perspectives, ways of living and experiences that we would have not been exposed to prior. This allows us to learn from one another and broaden our horizons. For example, when we travel to another country, we can learn about its people’s history, culture, and ways of life. Through interacting with locals, we gain insight into different values, beliefs and daily practices which can help us learn and become more tolerant and open-minded in our home country. This cultural exchange either abroad or within our diverse cities can help to broaden our perspectives and make us more empathetic and compassionate to one another despite our differences. This epically holds true in cities like Toronto where we live next door to and interact with people from dozens of cultures and ethnic backgrounds daily.

Cultural Diversity Promotes Innovation and Economic Growth

Cultural Diversity also promotes economic growth by spurring innovation and creativity through unique perspectives and knowledge. When people from different backgrounds come together, they bring unique perspectives, knowledge and experiences that can lead to new ideas, products and innovative creations that shake up industries and provide value for consumers.

One perfect example of this is the internationally loved and recognized Sushi dish, the California roll. Despite its name, the California role originates from Vancouver Canada with the creator of the dish, Hidekazu Tojo, being a Japanese Immigrant to Canada. Tojo came to Vancouver in 1971 where he stated that at the time, there were no sushi restaurants present within the city and he noticed that many Canadians were hesitant to try Japanese food due to the abundance of seaweed and raw fish in dishes such as sushi rolls. Tojo had the brilliant idea to take this centuries-old dish and quite literally flip it, hiding the seaweed inside the roll and using the sticky rice on the outside. His new innovative method got a lot of pushback, especially amongst the Japanese community. However, this didn’t stop its ‘roll’ with news of its popularity even spreading back home in Japan where it was dubbed the “California Roll” as the Western coast of the US and Canada is often referred to as California. Today the dish is known worldwide as the go-to raw-fish-free sushi roll and has cemented its place as the most-ordered sushi roll ever in the global sushi market that was valued at $16.4 billion in 2019.

The California roll perfectly exemplifies the effects cultural diversity can have on boosting an industry that was non-existent in a part of the world beforehand. Using a staple Japanese dish, and then flipping it to adapt to the taste of the target market of North American consumers, the California Roll became the catalyst of a multi-billion-dollar industry and was the direct result of the mingling of different cultures to create a new and innovative product.

Cultural Diversity Reduces Prejudice and Discrimination

Celebrations like Cultural Diversity Day also reduce prejudice and discrimination by promoting intercultural dialogue and understanding within society. When people from different backgrounds come together and share perspectives, experiences and knowledge, they are working to challenge stereotypes and help us recognize the commonalities that exist among us. This day helps encourage people to see the world from different perspectives and to embrace diversity as a positive force that enriches our communities. They also help to break down barriers and eliminate negative perceptions about different cultures through the dialogue and perspectives that individuals share with each other, ultimately fostering greater respect and appreciation for other people’s cultures. By focusing on our similarities and shared humanity during days such as Cultural Diversity Day, we work towards overcoming our differences and creating a more inclusive and harmonious society that values and embraces differences rather than fearing or rejecting them.


Overall, cultural diversity is a critical aspect of our globalized and interconnected world, and World Day for Cultural Diversity is an essential day to promote cultural understanding and dialogue among communities. With the increase in globalization and people meeting, working, living and interacting with others from all walks of life, it’s important that we celebrate our differences, embrace our diversity, and learn about new cultural practices and customs that exist within our communities. In our efforts to grow our knowledge of diverse cultures that live within these communities, it allows us to better understand our neighbours and their backgrounds, fuse different cultural practices and nuances into new and innovative products, and create an overall more accepting and compassionate world. World Cultural Diversity Day provides the ability to appreciate the diverse customs, traditions, and beliefs of people from all walks of life. Therefore, let us use this day to reflect on the importance of cultural diversity and take action to promote intercultural dialogue, collaboration, and respect for our uniquely, diverse cultures.