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PDF-version (1.46 MB)
Foreword by the Director-General of UNESCO
Cultural diversity enriches our lives in countless ways every day. It is also an important source of identity and basic human rights. The cultural diversity around us today is the outcome of thousands of years of human interaction with nature and among people with different customs, beliefs and ways of life. Having inherited this priceless legacy, we need to ensure it is passed down to future generations.
This transmission cannot and should not be taken for granted. All cultures are creative and dynamic, but they are also unique, fragile and irreplaceable. A culture neglected for a single generation can be lost forever. It is therefore crucial to create a safe environment in which all cultures can develop freely.
In order to preserve cultural diversity in all its variety and vitality, the Member States of UNESCO unanimously adopted the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity in 2001. The document you have in front of you is a version of this text that has been developed by and for young people around the world.
Through this version, we are seeking not only to introduce cultural diversity and UNESCO to young people but also to cultivate links among them wherever they may live. Through international and intercultural friendship, young people should benefit from cultural diversity and, through their actions today, help to preserve it for generations to come. Thus, while youth are the key to the future, it is essential that they shape the present too. (Koïchiro Matsuura, UNESCO, 2004)

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