International Day for Tolerance 2020
Promoting a Peaceful and Tolerant World with Love and Conscience
Dr. Hong, Tao-Tze
President of Federation of World Peace and Love
Vice-President of Association of World Citizens
Zhang-men-ren of Tai Ji Men
November 16, 2020
It is with great delight that I welcome you all to this online celebration of International Day for Tolerance at this difficult time. Your contributions to the world are much appreciated. Conscience, which empowers us, has brought us closer together.
The Member States of UNESCO adopted the Declaration of Principles on Tolerance in 1995. According to the Declaration, “Tolerance is respect, acceptance and appreciation of the rich diversity of our world's cultures, our forms of expression and ways of being human.” The UN’s efforts in promoting mutual understanding and tolerance among different cultures and peoples are the embodiments of the core values of the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Today, with rising extremism, intensified violence, and increasing conflicts, mutual understanding and tolerance among people, countries, and cultures are essential. To overcome our current challenge, we need to respect one another's cultural rights and freedom with love and tolerance and truly cooperate with one another regardless of race, gender, color, language, belief, religion, political opinion, or nationality.
The year 2020 has brought humanity a great crisis. The pandemic has taught us precious lessons, and the value of tolerance cannot be overemphasized. In the pursuit of total health for humanity, we face the challenges of cross-cultural communications. The so-called tolerance is more than passively accepting or ignoring problems; it is about rational communication based upon love. What is more important is to take immediate action to begin communicating with one another so as to bridge the differences through collective dialogues.
So how to achieve tolerance?
1. Willingness to seek reconciliation
Tolerance is a virtue that can be fostered by cultivating our hearts. We have to empower ourselves to reduce and let go of our egos, learn to accept and appreciate others with an open mind, and to see our commonalities despite our differences. Harmony means compatibility, peace, and serenity. Harmony brings joy, happiness, and prosperity. We need to find common ground among us. Mutual respect and understanding resulting from tolerance can promote interpersonal communication and social harmony.
2. Treating one another with love and conscience
The core of tolerance is love and conscience. Conscience guides us to tell right from wrong, true from false, and good from bad. Tolerance is the practice of love and conscience. Tolerance minimizes misunderstanding and promotes goodwill. It resolves conflicts and promotes peace.
3. Coordinating and communicating with others with wisdom
Tolerance involves a delicate balance between the yin and the yang in communication. Instead of heated arguments, we should put ourselves in others’ shoes to find common ground. Both sides need to meet each other halfway, show confidence, patience, and perseverance and think from different angles with empathy and selflessness while finding the balance between self-interest and the common good, so as to lead people to develop more harmonious interactions.
We all make mistakes. What is more important is the kindness to forgive and the courage to correct. Tolerance empowers us to overcome challenges through persistent determination. We need to practice tolerance in our daily lives and embody the virtue: “Be strict with yourself and treat others with tolerance.” When mutual understanding and tolerance prevail, we will not only defuse our current crisis but also prevent potential problems and create a more harmonious society.
Tolerance is not indiscriminate acceptance of what is wrong. Instead, it is about insisting on doing what is right and just as well as telling the difference between right and wrong. On the national level, tolerance calls for fair and just legislation and law enforcement. Those in power, in particular, should not impose unfair treatment on the people in a discretionary and discriminatory way, or even increase the physical and mental burden of the people by illegal means. The government should be held responsible to uphold social security and justice and to safeguard fundamental human rights by establishing fair and just public institutions. When reviewing the institutions and law enforcement, government officials must uphold their conscience, and must not cover up the government’s mistakes or continue to violate human rights. They need to learn from the past experiences and thoroughly review and reform, which is true tolerance.
We cannot stop our endeavors of promoting mutual understanding among different cultures and peoples. The key to achieving the ultimate goal of love and peace is conscience-driven tolerance. At the personal, local, and national levels, we should accept and respect the various cultures in the human family, appreciate the diversity, promote unity and cooperation between countries, maintain peace, and promote the balance and harmony between humans and the environment so that all living things in the world can coexist peacefully and thrive.
Once again, thank you very much for your participation in this event. As world citizens, we should all safeguard our conscience and practice tolerance in our daily lives. Let’s work together to create a joyful, peaceful, and harmonious world with love and tolerance.
*Presented at the ICDAY's virtual event in support of UN
International Day for Tolerance