“What a wonderful, liberating thing it would be if more of us, more of the time, could see diversity not as a burden, but as a blessing; not as a threat, but as an opportunity.” His Highness the Aga Khan.
Diversity is asking someone to a party; inclusion is about inviting them to dance–the often-repeated statement reminds us of the essential nuances in bringing together individuals with different skills and experiences. What if there is a third step? Rather than working hard to incorporate the various groups into mainstream culture, what if all the groups had the opportunity to learn from each, in other words, each group learned everyone’s dancing? In essence, we are talking about pluralism. This approach may sound great in theory, but how realistic is this approach?
The Global Centre for Pluralism, based in Ottawa, Canada, has taken up the mantle to provide thought-leadership, and an evidence-based approach in helping organizations understand how to harness the best in diversity through pluralism. The Centre has a clean and transparent approach in explaining pluralism; it is respect for diversity. Building a compelling agenda for pluralism requires a focus on the hardware and software; the hardware focuses on rules and regulations, including legal frameworks that protect or can suppress the rights of minorities groups. The software focuses on the cultural norms and values pervading organizations.
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