International Day for Tolerance

Peace activists gather for a mutual cause in New York City. Photo by Grove Harris, courtesy of The Pluralism Project.


The tragedy of last week’s assaults in Paris and Beirut weigh heavily in the hearts of the world community. In light of this, today’s UN-designated International Day for Tolerance holds a particular relevance. As Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon states, “On the International Day of Tolerance, let us recognize the mounting threat posed by those who strive to divide, and let us pledge to forge a path defined by dialogue, social cohesion, and mutual understanding.” Through the tenets of acceptance, tolerance, and freedom, may the world be equal in treatment and opportunity.

The annual observation on November 16th began with a Declaration of Principles on Tolerance during the 1995 UN general assembly, 50 years after the organization’s founding. The designation then served as a confirmation and renewal of the UN mission, specifically with regard to international human rights. The first article states, “Tolerance is respect, acceptance and appreciation of the rich diversity of our world’s cultures, our forms of expression and ways of being human.” Today, as ever, we are called to be patient and respectful to people of all backgrounds, races, and creeds.

Global Compassion Summit (Anaheim, CA). Courtesy of the Pluralism Project.
Global Compassion Summit (Anaheim, CA). Photo by Faezeh Fathizadeh, courtesy of The Pluralism Project.

In reflection of these principles, Meridian International Center has recently announced its partnership with the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi to create a juried multimedia exhibition. The project is designed to explore how Indian religions and faith traditions are practiced in the United States and how American communities have embraced these various traditions. This exhibition is meant to illustrate the variety of Indian traditions and celebrations observed within the United States and share a message of pluralism and religious tolerance. The exhibition will travel across India beginning in the fall of 2016 and will be viewed by the public, civic leaders, academics, business leaders, religious figures, and government officials.

Mahayana Dharma Center (Spring Green, WI). Courtesy of the Pluralism Project.
Mahayana Dharma Center (Spring Green, WI). Photo by Erin Ehmen, courtesy of The Pluralism Project.

The Meridian Center for Cultural Diplomacy is partnering with The Pluralism Project, and the exhibition will be co-curated by Dr. Diana Eck. We are seeking multimedia submissions expressing individual or community experiences practicing or engaging Indian faiths, traditions, or celebrations within the United States. Through these submissions, the exhibition may better evoke the values of tolerance and diversity in a pluralistic society.

ISKON Temple (Spanish Fork, UT). Courtesy of the Pluralism Project.
ISKON Temple (Spanish Fork, UT). Photo by Kate Holbrook, courtesy of The Pluralism Project.

To learn more about the exhibition and to submit your photos or videos, visit