Worldview is the set of fundamental beliefs about reality that ground and influence all one's perceiving, thinking, knowing, and doing. The elements of a person’s worldview include beliefs about knowledge, the origins and nature of the universe, the existence and nature of God, the purpose of humankind, as well as what is good and bad, and what is right and wrong.1
Culture is the set of distinctive spiritual, material, intellectual and emotional features of society or a social group that encompasses not only art and literature, but lifestyles, ways of living together, value systems, traditions and beliefs.2 For an individual, this may be reflected in his or her clothing, food, language, and belief system, as well as in other ways.
Indigenous peoples, as well as immigrants and refugees, face many challenges related to worldview and culture. When a group’s culture is significantly different from the culture of the main group in society, it can result in a lack of economic and social opportunities for members of that group. This is called marginalization.
Culture Fest 2010
Indigenous peoples are particularly marginalized, as they over-represented amongst the impoverished: they constitute about 5% of the world’s population yet account for about 15% of the world’s poor.3
Language is an important part of culture, and there are more than 2,400 vulnerable, endangered, or extinct languages all around the world. Visit UNESCO to learn more about these languages.
Religion is another significant part of culture. Check out the CIA World Factbook entry on world religions to explore the religions in practice in different countries.
People all over the world are concerned about keeping cultural beliefs, practices and histories alive. Here are some examples of ways people have come together to protect cultural heritage.
The Malbork Teutonic Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in Poland.
Personal gardens are examples of sustainable agriculture
Culture and worldview play a large role in how individuals and groups look at the world, interact amongst each other, and make decisions. When different cultural groups come into conflict, stronger parties may purposefully or incidentally try to impose their worldview on others, marginalizing those of less powerful minority groups.5 In striving for social justice and human rights, diverse cultures and worldviews need to be acknowledged and understood before progress can be made in lasting world peace.
2010 was named the International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures, which aims to bring different cultures together to re-establish peaceful relations. As Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, said, "No culture can afford to live in isolation. It is through dialogue and creativity in all its forms, through exploring new opportunities for creating connections between people, that we can prove that diversity is our strength."6
For example, modern medicine has borrowed much from ancient knowledge of health practices. While Europeans began immunizing in 1796, the ancient Chinese had started this practice many centuries before.7 Indigenous cultures contain many sophisticated concepts that can help all of us to improve the condition of our world.
2 http://www.uis.unesco.org/template/pdf/cscl/framework/FCS_2009_EN.pdf, page 9
chapters 5 and 7 of our middle school textbook
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