International Day of Tolerance

Member states of United Nations Educational, Scientific, Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) proclaimed the 16th November International Day of Tolerance in 1995.

OTs create and enable occupational opportunities so people can participate in daily occupations, life roles, and the community. These occupational opportunities and this participation are essential for health, inclusion and the experience of human rights.

Disease and disability are often associated with “occupational dysfunction”, however even more widespread is occupational injustice afflicting otherwise medically well people.

Lack of tolerance amidst diversity grows into exclusion from participation in every-day occupations. In the extreme, it results in persecution, conflict, and displacement, which often subjects people to further exclusion and intolerance.

Depriving people of occupational opportunities is damaging to the individual, and dangerous for our collective peace, health, safety.

Intentionally cultivating tolerance is an action, a series of sustained actions, that we as occupational therapists can be a part of with Occupational Opportunities for Refugees & Asylum Seekers (OOFRAS) Inc.

International Day of Tolerance 2012


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Some reflections on intolerance. The OOFRAS Facebook page started in 2011 and has hate posts every three or four months. Yes, people have freedom of speech to say stupid things. We happen to choose to use our freedom of speech to be intolerant of things that inflame discrimination, xenophobia, and racism.

The UN has five approaches to cultivate tolerance: law, education, access to information, individual awareness, local solutions. More info in this excellent background.  

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