International Day for Tolerance – November 16

International Day for Tolerance Banner

On the day of its fiftieth anniversary, 16 November 1995, UNESCO‘s Member States adopted a Declaration of Principles on Tolerance. Among other things, the Declaration affirms that tolerance is neither indulgence nor indifference. It is respect and appreciation of the rich variety of our world’s cultures, our forms of expression and ways of being human. Tolerance recognizes the universal human rights and fundamental freedoms of others. People are naturally diverse; only tolerance can ensure the survival of mixed communities in every region of the globe.

UN Resources

Tolerance Day

UNESCO Declaration proclaiming November 16th the annual International Day for Tolerance


PC(USA) Resources

Presbyterian Women’s Ten Days of Prayer and Thanksgiving for the Roma

Presbyterian Racial Justice Ministries


God, we have suffered conflict with those we perceived as different from us, we have seen our cultures touched by injustice and petty cruelties, we have built walls to separate ourselves from others we were afraid to face, we have pretended that problems are behind us and that we are already perfect. We are not.

But, by your grace, we are reconciled to press on together to the fullness which lies ahead. So we bring together our races, languages, traditions, politics, and cultures.

We are reconciled to the patience and persistence that make peace; to the transparency and fairness that make justice; to the forgiveness and restitution that build harmony; to the love and reconstruction which banish poverty and discrimination; to the experience of knowing one another that makes it possible to enjoy one another; to the spiritual strength of the one God who made us of one flesh and blood, and loves us; and to Jesus Christ, who binds many together in his body, and in whose name we pray.


  • Adapted from a prayer by Archbishop Desmond Tutu (at the South Africa National Service of Thanksgiving, May 8, 1994, printed in An African Prayer Book, (Doubleday, 2006), 40-42).

Thanks to Alexander Haines for work on this post.

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