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International Day for Tolerance 2017: Ideas for Activities

To survive in a world with one another, people must exhibit a certain level of tolerance. Being constantly at odds and bringing each other down over religion, race, sexual orientation, or gender is a recipe for short-term disasters and longer-term riffs.


In 1995, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) took a step in promoting global tolerance with the first ever International Day for Tolerance. Recognized every Nov. 16th since, the day is intended to bridge the gap between what divides us and diminish the power of discrimination.

While being personally tolerant is an easy task and requires nothing more than self-awareness and open-mindedness, the following activities are different ways people and communities can outwardly promote International Day for Tolerance and an acceptance of one another.

Compliment Tag

The concept is simple – gather a group of people together for a unique game of tag. Rather than run around and physically tag one another, those involved compliment one another. One person is “it” and passes it along by genuinely complimenting another person. Then that person compliments another and it continues down in randomized order.

Finding ways to compliment others will open up the ability to see the good in people without there being an outward attempt to show it.

Learn About Those Around You

The first step towards tolerance is understanding those that surround you. Chances are there is somebody you interact with on a near-daily basis that you know little about. Change that and get to know them. Ask them questions and really pay attention.

For a group activity, separate participators into pairs and have them play a few rounds of “Fact or Fiction.” One person comes up with three details about themselves, one false and two true, and their partner must determine which was fake.

Finding Common Ground

Though someone may seem like they’re completely different from you, you never really know until you ask. In this activity, divide participants into pairs and have them determine five things they have in common. After about 30 seconds, combine two pairs and have that group of four figure out what they all have in common.

They may be surprised to find how much they’re alike.

Make a New Friend

Get out there and meet someone new. It doesn’t have to be an overly complicated task, but try to befriend someone you normally wouldn’t. In a group setting, randomize people, pair them up, and use provide them with prompts to try and create a new friendship.

The prompts can be simple, starting with “What’s your name?” and also including questions about where they grew up or their family dynamic. After they go through the prompts, the pairs then introduce the person they paired with to the rest the participants.

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