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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Hon. Membe advocates cross-cultural dialogue

Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister, Hon. Bernard K. Membe has called on Tanzanians to shun ethnocentrism wherever a 'mightier' culture is imposed to be the common culture, saying the process of connecting cultures will only be meaningful if it will embrace cross-cultural dialogue, mutual understanding and respect.

“By connecting cultures, we definitely ought to benefit from our unity in diversity; equally true is the fact that connecting cultures comes with threats to those societies with embedded vulnerabilities,” said Hon. Membe.

The minister made the remarks in Dar es Salaam in an address to representatives from Commonwealth countries when commemorating this year’s Commonwealth Day under the theme, 'Connecting cultures'.

Hon. Membe said it was imperative for the process of connecting cultures to be inclusive, democratic and sensitive to the needs of other societies, particularly underdeveloped and small states and islands.

He stressed that connecting cultures was at the core of Tanzania's social policy as well as its foreign policy. In elucidating his point he quoted Mwalimu Nyerere who said, “A nation which refuses to learn from foreign cultures is nothing but a nation of idiots and lunatics. But to learn from other cultures does not mean we should abandon our own."

He said ever since Tanzania had always remained open to learn from best practices from other cultures because was to be stressed was that connecting cultures should go beyond democratic values and human rights.

"To be meaningful, the process of connecting culture should also be about connecting knowledge, technology and wealth. As we share the global threats we ought to also share the prosperity," he said.

Hon. Membe said that was the secret behind the peace and stability that this country enjoyed, noting that "we therefore welcome the theme of this year's Commonwealth celebrations and continue to commit ourselves to contribute to this noble course."

Hon. Membe urged other Commonwealth countries to respect each others' culture so as to make the world a better place to live in and on promoting the principles and values of the organisation, the Commonwealth which unites all our cultures and makes us one.
For her part, British High Commissioner to Tanzania, Ms. Diane Corner, who read a message from the Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, noted that connecting culture encouraged countries to consider the special opportunity which each had by treasuring and respecting the wealth of diversity.

Source:  The Guardian

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