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What is Pluralism?

Pluralism is an ethic of respect for diversity and sees diversity in society as a source of strength.

Pluralism is a positive response to diversity.

Diversity in society is a universal fact but how societies respond to diversity is a choice. Diversity in each country is dynamic and complex – identities come in many forms and often intersect in ways that shape people’s experience of the world.

When embracing pluralism, societies go beyond simply including diverse peoples and communities into existing institutions and cultures. Instead, pluralism encourages societies to make changes that lead to the recognition and belonging of diverse peoples. This allows people’s lives, communities and institutions to be enriched with new perspectives and ideas.

Pluralism means recognizing, valuing and respecting diversity. Pluralism is not just desirable – it is vital to security, peace and prosperity for future generations. Yet, living positively with diversity is challenging. Individuals, groups and organizations may face resistance and even violence for supporting pluralism. Over time, positive responses to diversity can shift how is perceived and legislated. When societies choose to value differences and take deliberate actions guided by that choice, everyone benefits.

Pluralism does not mean the elimination of difference, but the embrace of difference.

His Highness the Aga Khan