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United Nations Relations

UN Day for Tolerance Celebrated in Estonia

Johann Hinterleitner, Secretary General of UPF-Estonia, offered educational programs at two schools on Hiiumaa Island on the occasion of the UN International Day for Tolerance, Nov. 16. Estonia’s second largest island, Hiiumaa, is home to some 8,000 people with two high schools (gymnasiums) in the two largest settlements.

The first stop was the gymnasium in Kärdla, the provincial capital town of Hiiumaa Island, where the English-language teacher offered the first hour of the day’s schedule, starting from 8:00 AM, for the program. The second program was at second largest settlement, named Käina, about a 30-minute drive from Kärdla, for a presentation to 11th and 12th grade students.

The main points stressed in the PowerPoint presentation were the following:

In our globalized world there is an obvious need for all of us to examine ourselves as to how tolerant we are towards people from other cultures, religions, nations, races, etc. Based on the understanding that each individual is unique and therefore has unique value and dignity, we should not only tolerate others, but rather actively practice an affirmative acceptance of others.

While openness and tolerance in our minds (concepts) and hearts (attitude) towards others are essential in today’s world, we need certain guidelines as to what might not be tolerable, if we seek dignity, happiness and prosperity for all. Two guidelines were offered: (1) Practice the Golden Rule, and (2) Always ask ourselves whether certain behaviours will be beneficial to society, to our country and the world, if the majority of people practice a particular behaviour. For example, if many car drivers ignore traffic rules, chaos and accidents will be the result. On the level of a nation it is obvious that a country can only function if people pay taxes. Without tax payers, schools would have to close down and many other public services would come to a standstill.

The third program was at the Peace Embassy in Tallinn.

Reported by Johann Hinterleitner, UPF-Estonia

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