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Intervention representing Protestantism

Mutua KobiaMr. President, Your excellencies, ladies and gentlemen.

First of all, I would like to thank the organizers for this event and inviting the youth. To begin with, when preparing for this Conference, I wrestled with the concept of multiculturalism to find out what more there is to it than "of, relating to, or constituting several cultural or ethnic groups within a society" and then exploring the benefits it would contribute towards peace in general. The methodology I figured, needs careful analysis for it's more than strategies of integration, it involves opening one's mind and a building of relationships.

Even though multiculturalism is defined as the inclusion or the relation of several cultures, it's intention or significance varies between people. For instance, it's meaning can be taken from the idea of inclusion to an eventual merging of cultures in so that the result is either several very different cultures or one common culture thus challenging one's lifestyles, beliefs, so for instance we mustn't fear from moving away from a patriarchy. A multicultural society can support different beliefs if, and perhaps, only if they come from an inclusive point of view. We must concentrate on positive outcomes and entertain ideas  such as harmony within diversity.

In this day and age of Globalization the migration of people is inevitable and in many instances it has lead to a number of conflicts such as xenophobia and these conflicts have proven to initiate hatred and violence.  For any hope of peace the inevitable goal may have to be multiculturalism and this should be carried out through peaceful establishments. Within the context of peace, multiculturalism calls for a recognition and understanding of other people's cultures and with public respect on several scales, in so that their beliefs and practices aren't harmful to others in any way, is not elevated over another as the "right one" and that doesn't come into conflict with humanity's quest for peace (and this goes both ways). If culture is important to someone then it would reflect in their identity thus stripping one of their culture would then take away a part of their identity. Note, however, that this may be a challenge as individualism is on the rise.

In any case, to avoid conflicts I believe that discussion is necessary for it provides guidance of how to enjoy one's respective practices but also what to do and what not to do, based on Human Rights, for example, ending all forms of violence against women.

It is easier said than done, case in point, Europe. As an example a friend of mine mentioned that in Norway there are extreme measures to support multiculturalism but is still very difficult to achieve. One of the major problems is that people don't know that it is inevitable, that people will come from afar, not accepting and attempting to reach out is lacking awareness of their vulnerability. If people knew about this inevitable fate of globalization it would be a lot easier to think ahead and think about measures. For when we reject someone's culture we alienate them from society and sometimes, as mentioned before, they lose their identity.

Working collectively warrants greater achievements for all and in my opinion is the chief strategy of inclusion. What is also most important is for the host country to think about how they would tackle this issue towards peace be it anywhere in the world. It's important to know what multiculturalism is and understand the benefits it carries. Such as allowing us to reflect on our own selves by way of learning about others; that is, if humans are indeed analyzing and self-ciritcal beings, then realization of a different perspective would tend to fall back on ourselves.

Parents, teachers, governments and civil society of the previous and host country bear great responsibilities and the concept of inclusion and multiculturalism is an important and beneficial learning tool for a young person growing up during this age of globalization. It is important that the concept of sharing, be it music or poetry, philosophies or food, is chief; a true multiculturalism may be impossible without this inclusive and understanding point of view.

Thank you!


Mutua Kobia (Switzerland)

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