Health and Wellbeing

One World Week

This week we celebrate One World Week at Sussex, which is about celebrating diversity, raising awareness of global issues and encouraging cultural understanding; but why it is valuable to spend our time on these things?

Cultural diversity has given the world many positive things; a wide range of ideas and concepts, medicines and treatments for some of the major global health threats, and an amazing variety of food and entertainment, just for starters!

Celebrating cultural diversity, exploring our differences, and embracing multiple ways of thinking mean that we discover a variety of ways to look at and think about the world around us, and evidence suggests that having flexibility in how we see and think about the world can be positive for our mental wellbeing. By interacting with a wide range of people we can share knowledge and ideas, and work collaboratively to develop new perspectives, ways of thinking, learning, and solving problems.

Diversity doesn’t just apply to culture; we are all diverse in terms of race, religion, ability, sexual orientation, gender identity and many other ways - “Diversity is the one true thing we all have in common” - and all the things that make us diverse act as a lens through which we see the world that we live in.

A term that is often used alongside Diversity is ‘Inclusivity’, but what does that mean?

Inclusion can be described as environments where all individuals feel valued and respected, and have the opportunity to reach their full potential, and in terms of our wellbeing this is extremely important. However, in her TED Talk, Courtney Tritch suggests that diversity is a fact (we are all diverse), and inclusivity is an action. She suggests that inclusivity is about actively engaging with a variety of people, rather than just tolerating people who are not like us.  If this is the case then each of us can intentionally and actively practice inclusivity in our day to day lives!

By actively engaging with people who are different from us in some way, we can learn what other people’s lives are like, and what is important to them. We can’t understand what we’re not aware of, and we all have “blind spots”, but engaging with people who have differences to us helps us to become more aware.

Affinity groups (for example clubs and societies whose members share a common area of their identity) are extremely important in terms of giving people a sense of belonging, for those who want to be a part of them. However, we can still grow and learn from diversity.

During One World Week take the opportunity to try some new foods, learn about a global issue you’re not aware of, and gain insights into cultures and people that you don’t know a lot about. Together we can help to increase inclusivity and build social networks within our Sussex community.

As Dumbledore said, “Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open.” – Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire