UNITY AND DIVERSITY IN
Geneva, March 2005
Unity and Diversity in Multicultural Societies
International Institute for Labour Studies
Copyright 8 International Labour Organization (International Institute for Labour Studies) 2005. Short excerpts from this publication may be reproduced without authorization, on condition that the source is indicated. For rights of reproduction or translation, application should be made to the Editor, International Institute for Labour Studies, P.O. Box 6, CH-1211 Geneva 22 (Switzerland); fax (41 22) 799 85 42; tel. (41 22) 799 61 28; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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First published 2005
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The International Institute for Labour Studies organizes the Public Lectures twice a year in connection with the Governing Body Meetings of the ILO. These lectures are meant to provide a global platform for opening up new perspectives on contemporary economic and social issues before an audience of international opinion-makers and policy-practitioners that include representatives of the ILO tripartite constituency of governments, business organizations and trade unions; the academic, diplomatic, and press communities of Geneva and senior international officials from the ILO and other United Nations agencies. The texts of the lectures are brought out as Institute publications and disseminated to a wider audience through the electronic and print media.
The challenge of diversity of multicultural societies has become a topic of contemporary importance in the work of the ILO. In an increasingly interconnected world of work, there are ever larger numbers of people from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds who migrate to the economically advanced regions and nation states of the world. Their absorption and integration into the new work environments poses a fresh challenge to the smooth functioning of labour markets. In this regard, it is important to build a sound knowledge-base on the diversity and dynamics of heterogeneous labour markets in multicultural societies. Such a knowledge base could help in the development of appropriate policies for tackling these problems. With a view to opening up an informed debate on the above-mentioned question, the International Institute for Labour Studies invited Lord Bhikhu Parekh, Professor of Political Science at Westminster University, London, to a Public Lecture which he delivered at the ILO in Geneva on 15 November 2004. Lord Parekh, a well-known public policy analyst, has written and lectured extensively on the subject of cultural diversity and race relations and has contributed to developing policy-oriented solutions to the problems arising in multicultural societies. He chaired the “Commission on the Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain”, appointed by the Labour Government, whose report was published in 2000.
The present paper: “Unity and diversity in multicultural societies” is an extended version of the lecture delivered by Professor Parekh, which has been specially prepared for the Institute by the author. The Institute is proud to present this extended version of the lecture to a wider audience of the ILO constituents. I would like to take this opportunity to summarize the main arguments advanced in this paper.
Almost all modern societies are multicultural, and their cultural diversity derives from a number of sources, such as the process of globalization, the collapse of the...
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