In the past, the world's diversity was screened off by distance, the lack of massive mobility and slow means of communication. Now, all peoples are faced with creating a learning environment where we have to prepare all our students with globalized living and working conditions. Increasingly, our 'home' is in various places, because we have multiple cultural identities. Academic teaching and learning is faced with the question on how to blend concepts of self, strange, foreign and otherness into new approaches on how to live with the post-modern paradox of cultural sameness and difference at the same time. We would greatly loose when a global 'cultural sameness' would be prevailing, but to go about diversity does not simply happen. It needs empathy and education, learned both informally and in schools and universities. An education that compasses the notion that the human experience is universal, but that all people are entitled to the dignity to have their own ideas and customs. And to have the right and the freedom to express themselves according to these ideas, while at the same time respecting these very rights of others. Universities must produce knowledge in such a way that cultural diversity is enhanced and tolerance for differences is respected in harmony with our environment.
David C. Lam Institute for East-West Studies
Teekens, Hanneke. East West: at Home the Best?. Hong Kong: David C. Lam Institute for East-West Studies, 2005. LEWI Working Paper Series no 38.