Sociologist Dr. Caleb Rosado defines cultural diversity as “…a system of beliefs and behaviors that recognizes and respects the presence of all diverse groups in an organization or society, values social and cultural differences, encourages and enables these groups to contribute continuously to an inclusive cultural context that empowers all within organization or community.
Cultural diversity is synonymous with cultural pluralism. Diverse cultures make societies stronger and more creative. Cultural pluralism enhances cooperation and mutual respect between different peoples, in addition to being essential to establishing peace and promoting development in societies.
Therefore, cultural diversity enriches a variety of skills, human values and world views. The legacy of the past may broaden the prospects for future work, and will be a major driver of sustainable development at the individual and collective levels.
The most important feature of cultural diversity is that it allows interaction with others and helps build bridges of trust, respect and understanding across cultures, and makes countries more attractive to live in, as people from diverse cultures contribute to enriching language skills, creating new ways of thinking and taking from different experiences.
What is remarkable is that the work teams, which come from diverse cultural backgrounds, provide their members with rich practical and life experiences by learning from each other. In addition, working within such a team develops cross-cultural competence, which reflects positively on the work of the institution, and opens up horizons for the innovation process.
Cultural diversity in the United Arab Emirates constitutes a societal, economic, scientific and human advantage, and its contributions have been manifested in promoting sustainable development, benefiting from the experiences of others, understanding different points of view, and helping to dispel negative stereotypes and personal biases toward different groups.
For this reason, the laws and regulations in the UAE have come to respect diversity, and criminalize hatred, racism and all forms of discrimination, as the UAE has ratified international charters and agreements condemning violence, extremism and discrimination, and launched several initiatives in this regard.
The Emiratis have succeeded in forming a country that has become a center for business and tourism, a country that crosses cultures, religions and languages, and is replete with diverse traditions. It is a country that includes the world, in a globalized, multi-ethnic environment with a liberal approach that guarantees freedoms. Government agencies have succeeded in managing this cultural diversity through the implementation of carefully planned strategies and policies that aim to find solutions to the challenges that accompany it.
The UAE today has become a model of tolerance and civilized coexistence, encouraging its citizens to assimilate the religious, ethnic and cultural differences of others, in order to reinforce the approach of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, may God rest his soul, and the values of the grandparents and the founding fathers in respecting diversity, maintaining stability and winning hearts and minds.