Overview of Culture and Idenitity

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The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a document listing the fundamental rights of all people. Published in 1948, the declaration was written in response to the horrors of World War II and addressed the need for a definitive record of internationally accepted natural rights belonging to every human being. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is founded upon the idea of impartial equality. Many articles of the document stress the universal nature of human rights, and affirm individual liberties regardless of ethnicity, language, religion, or cultural background. Article 27, for instance, states, “everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community.” Since its inception, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has ushered in a new era of heightened social awareness, and has paved the way for the creation of institutions that make upholding human rights a reality.

U.N. General Assembly. “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” 1948. Web. 29 July 2011. <http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/>.



Right to Culture

This webpage provides a brief guide to understanding the universal right to culture. It begins by defining the right and its parameters as well as explaining the ambiguous term “culture” and identifying the implications of each section of the definition. This guide also lists a series of treaties and articles created by organizations that advocate human rights, which include the right to culture as a basic human right. Finally, there are a variety of links to educational resources and tools to use in the classroom setting, including study packets and information sheets, to further one’s understanding of the right to culture.

“Right to Culture.” Human Rights Education Associates. 2003. Web. 27 July 2011. <http://www.hrea.org/index.php?doc_id=423&bgcolor=ccffff&&bgcolor=ccccff#top>.



Module 17 Culture Rights

Module 17 of the Circle of Rights Training Resource is an effective tool for understanding culture rights. Similar to the previous article, Module 17 gives readers an in-depth understanding of the meaning of culture, and the impact culture has on an individual’s identity. The module also defines what it means to protect culture, and explains the challenges of preserving cultural identity in a world that is steadily becoming more globally oriented. Culture is a complex aspect of being that is hard to define and even harder to protect, though its intricacy is thoroughly investigated in this learning resource. Module 17 explores culture and cultural identity by examining issues related to culture rights, and a handful of anecdotes.

“Module 17 Culture Rights.” Circle of Rights. 2000. Web. 26 July 2011. <http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/edumat/IHRIP/circle/modules/module17.htm>.



UNESCO World Report: Investing in Cultural Diversity and Intercultural Dialogue

This World Report on cultural diversity issued by UNESCO summarizes conflicts that arise as a result of globalization, conflict between cultures, and additionally explains the role human rights awareness plays in maintaining cultural identity. The first chapter serves as an introduction to cultural diversity and globalization, highlighting the increasing tensions between traditional and modern cultural identification. The second chapter expands the lens to encompass relationships between different cultures. Specifically, it explains how cultural conflict can arise when stereotypes and discrimination prevent peaceful communication and co-operation between cultures.  Chapters three through seven go on to explain the importance of dialogue as a means of creating a more cohesive international community.  Throughout the report, education and global awareness are emphasized as key aspects to fostering respect between cultures.  The eighth and final chapter asserts that co-operation between cultures can result in the development of universally accepted and respected human rights. The report also emphasizes the importance of democracy and the potential to strengthen democracy by embracing cultural diversity and human rights. Overall, this piece is very informative and encompasses many aspects of the topic of culture and identity.

“Investing in Cultural Diversity and Intercultural Dialogue.” United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. 2009. p. 1-10, 27-29. Web. 27 July 2011. <http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0018/001847/184755e.pdf>.

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