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Diversity and Difference

Diversity and Difference

The Dean of Students Office Recognizes Important Events in November and December


International Day for Tolerance

November 16, 2013 marks the 50th anniversary for the annual observance of International Tolerance Day. by UNESCO in 1995 to generate public awareness of the dangers of intolerance. In 1996, UNESCO's Member States adopted a Declaration of Principles on Tolerance (see link below). Among other things, the Declaration affirms that tolerance is respect and appreciation of the rich variety of our world's cultures, our forms of expression and ways of being human.


The Declaration qualifies tolerance not only as a moral duty, but also as a political and legal requirement for individuals, groups and States. It situates tolerance in relation to the international human rights and emphasizes that States should draft new legislation when necessary to ensure equality of treatment and of opportunity for all groups and individuals in society.

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Check Out These Resources for more on International Tolerance Day

Native American Heritage Month

The month of November is nationally recognized as Native American Heritage Month, a time in which we celebrate and recognize the contributions that the first Americans have made to our society. Currently there are over 600 federal and state recognized tribes within the United States, 3 of which are located in Massachusetts.

The Struggle for Recognition

The origin of Native American Heritage month began in the early 1900's with Dr. Arthur C. Parker, a Seneca Indian, who persuading the Boy Scouts of America to commemorate one day a year to the "First Americans". In 1915, Rev. Sherman Coolidge, an Arapahoe Indian, issued a proclamation that the second Saturday of each May would be known as "American Indian Day" and contained the first formal appeal for recognition of Indians as citizens. That same year Red Fox Games, a Blackfoot Indian, rode horseback from state to state seeking approval for an official day in which the entire country could honor Native Americans. On December 14, 1915 he presented to the White House a list of 24 endorsements from state governments, however, there is no record of this national day being proclaimed. Finally, in 1990 George W. Bush approved a joint session designating November the "National American Indian Heritage Month" that we continue to observe today.

For more information about National American Heritage Month and related events, please visit the following website:


World AIDS Day – December 1, 2013

World AIDS Day was the first global health day and the first one was held in 1988. On December first of each year, it is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in solidarity to pay tribute to the millions of people living with HIV/AIDS, raise awareness of the global impact of HIV/AIDS, and celebrate victories that are allowing more people to live longer and healthier lives. The 2013 theme for World AIDS Day is "Shared Responsibility: Strengthening Results for an AIDS-Free Generation." The theme is about reducing new HIV infections, discrimination and AIDS related deaths to zero through increased advances and equal access to HIV prevention, testing, treatment and care.

Why is World AIDS Day important?
More than two-thirds of the estimated 34 million people living with HIV/AIDS worldwide are in developing countries, and nearly three-fourths of the 2.5 million new HIV infections in 2011 occurred in these countries. Today, many scientific advances have been made in HIV treatment, there are laws to protect people living with HIV and we understand so much more about the condition. But despite this, people do not know the facts about how to protect themselves and others from HIV, and stigma and discrimination remain a reality for many people living with HIV. World AIDS Day reminds the public and Government that HIV has not gone away – there is still a vital need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education.

What can I do on World AIDS Day?
Learn the facts about HIV and put your knowledge into action! If you understand how HIV is transmitted, how it can be prevented, and the reality of living with HIV today - you can use this knowledge to take care of your own health and the health of others, and ensure you treat everyone living with HIV fairly, and with respect and understanding.

You can also show your support for people living with HIV on World AIDS Day by wearing a red ribbon, the international symbol of HIV awareness and support. Thirty years after the first cases of HIV – the red ribbon is the universal symbol of awareness and support for those living with HIV. The red ribbon was the first ever ribbon symbol, inspiring later versions such as the pink ribbon for breast cancer awareness.

Although World AIDS Day is a great opportunity to get the public talking about HIV and fundraise, we need to remember the importance of raising awareness of HIV all year round.

The Facts

Check it Out!
Faces of HIV is a project that examines the effects of stigmas, the personal relationships and care issues associated with being HIV positive.

December 3, 2013 – International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Break Barriers, Open Doors: For an Inclusive Society for All.
International Day of People with Disability is a United Nations sanctioned day that aims to promote an understanding of people with disability and encourage support for their dignity, rights and well-being. Approximately 15% of the world population or 1 billion people live with some form of disability. People with disabilities face physical, social, and economic and attitudinal barriers that exclude them from participating fully and effectively as equal members of society.

The commemoration of this year's International Day of Persons with Disabilities provides an opportunity to further raise awareness of disability and accessibility as a cross cutting development issue and further the global efforts to promote accessibility, remove all types of barriers, and to realize the full and equal participation of persons with disabilities in society and shape the future of development for all!

In the United States, the Disability Law Society is encouraging faculty and students at the Syracuse University College of Law to leave all interior doors open for the entire day. As a way to "Break Barriers, Open Doors: For an Inclusive Society for All," the students at the College of Law are literally opening doors for access for all at the law school. On each door a sign will be posted explaining why the doors should be left open and explaining the importance of spreading awareness about disability rights.

Visit to read about other ways this day is being internationally commemorated.

December 8, 2013 – Bodhi Day

Rohatsu is also known as Bodhi Day. This day commemorates the day that the historical Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama (Shakyamuni), experienced enlightenment and nirvana. According to tradition, Siddhartha had forsaken years of extreme ascetic practices and resolved to sit under a peepal tree and simply meditate until he found the root of suffering, and how to liberate oneself from it.

Different Buddhist sects in different parts of the world celebrate the occasion of the Buddha's enlightenment at different times during the year. Tibetan Buddhists, for example, usually celebrate the event in June, while Theravada Buddhists usually celebrate it in May. Rohatsu celebrates the Buddha's own achievement, as well as the example that his achievement set for other spiritual seekers who aspire to follow in his footsteps, in order to thereby also awaken to enlightenment and blissful nirvana.

Visit to watch The Buddha, a film by David Grubin online for free! The film tells the story of the Buddha's life, a journey especially relevant to our own bewildering times of violent change and spiritual confusion. Hear insights into the ancient narrative by contemporary Buddhists, including Pulitzer Prize winning poet W.S. Merwin and His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Join the conversation and learn more about meditation, the history of Buddhism, and how to incorporate the Buddha's teachings on compassion and mindfulness into daily life.

Visit to watch a free lecture exploring the neuroscience and psychology behind meditation, enlightenment, and awakening.

Check out these scholarly articles on neuroscience and meditation!

December 10 – Human Rights Day

December 18- International Migrants Day

Contact Information

If you would like to be included in future profiles on this site, please contact Josh Cooper at

Updated 1/15/14

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Nov/Dec 2013

October 2013
National Coming Out Day, October 11

June 2013
Pride Month

March 2013
Recognizing Women's History Month

February 2013
Recognizing Cultural Ethnic Differences

November 2012
Recognizing our Military Community

October 2012
National Coming Out Day, October 11
Disabilities Awareness Month

September 2012
Hispanic Heritage Month

June 2012
Pride Month and Haitian Flag Day

February 2012
African American/Black History Month

November 2011
Recognizing our Military Community

September 2011
Hispanic Heritage Month

June 2011
Equality Month

March 2011
Women's History Month

February 2011
African American/Black History Month

January 2011
Happy New Year!

November 2010
Recognizing Student Veterans

October 2010
National Coming Out Day, October 11

September 2010
Hispanic Heritage Month

Recognizing Ramadan

June 2010
Equality Month

May 2010
Older American's Month

March 2010
Women's History Month

February 2010
African American/Black History Month

November 2009
The Office of Multicultural Affairs recognizes our student veterans and military during the month of November

October 2009
National Coming Out Day: October 11th and Disability Awareness Month: October

September 2009
Hispanic Heritage Month

The Changing Face of Immigration: Legal Debates, Controversies and the Implications for Clinical Practice (PDF)

May 2009
Weil Grant Training: Leading Culturally Sensitive Parent Education Support Group

April 2009
Latino Mental Health Professional Networking Evening

Diversity Training: Hurricane Katrina Disaster Victims

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