Multiculturalism: Key to overcoming cultural barriers and spreading peace

By Ghadeer Ghloum

KUWAIT: Living as an expatriate can be challenging for many people. From feeling like you don’t belong to finding your way around a new place without having a support network, there are many barriers to overcome. For Lulwa Al-Masoud, a Kuwaiti citizen living abroad, embracing multiculturalism and diversity is necessary to conquering such challenges and fostering understanding between people from different cultures.

Lulwa Al-Masoud

“I have lived in America for a long time, approximately eight years. As America is a country with a diversity of cultures, I never felt like an outsider, because the society is diverse and we are treated similar to Americans, even as an Arab Muslim wearing a hijab. Multiculturalism had a huge impact on me intellectually and emotionally, and it remains with me in the sense of responsibility I want to spreading awareness about the difficult living conditions that expats may face in other countries, such as Kuwait.

Multiculturalism has been instrumental in shaping my personality and expanding my horizons. I hope that one day more people will accept and embrace diversity and make everyone feel a sense of belonging,” she said. Multiculturalism is a term used to describe the diversity of different cultures that coexist in a society. It emphasizes the recognition, respect and celebration of cultural differences, which in turn, has a major impact on accepting diversity and reducing hostility.

This mutual learning brings about a greater appreciation of diversity, leading to tolerance and acceptance towards people of different races, ethnicities and religions, rather than biased discrimination against those who come from different origins or follow a different belief. Hence, it encourages inclusion that leads to greater social cohesion, as individuals are more likely to identify with society as a whole rather than just their personal culture or ethnic group. To encourage learning and accepting differences and shed more light on the advantages of this concept to develop a peaceful society.

Dr Fatemah Al-Mosawi

Masoud stressed on valuing diversity to create a cohesive and harmonious society, which also provides opportunities for people to celebrate their own cultural traditions and share them with others, as this can further strengthen social bonds and promote mutual respect. Social entrepreneur and genetics and behavioral scientist Dr Fatemah Al-Mosawi shared her personal perspective with Kuwait Times. “Making friends with people from different backgrounds can change our stereotypic impressions of people.

However, with the growing polarization on many topics and views, I feel there are ways in which some would be in a ‘us vs them’ mindset. Yet, in the face of global challenges, we can only tackle matters if humanity is a united “we”. This means understanding individual needs not only in terms of culture, but also diverse ways of thinking and decision making. This will help us to respond better in situations with more wisdom than the survival mode reaction,” she said.

According to Mosawi, it is important to build relationships with people from different backgrounds as a means to reduce stereotyping. However, she acknowledges that in today’s polarized society, people may be more inclined to adopt a competitive mindset, but despite these challenges, working towards a united goal will require understanding individual differences. This, in turn, will allow for more insightful and informed responses to challenges, emphasizing the need for open-mindedness and empathy in a complex and ever-changing world.

The post Multiculturalism: Key to overcoming cultural barriers and spreading peace appeared first on Kuwait Times.

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