May 21st is commemorated by Indonesian people as a historical day. Over the past 21 years of the May 21st, the New Order's power was overthrown. However, this date is also important for Indonesia and the world. May 21st is commemorated by the world as a Cultural Diversity Day, Dialogue and Development.
The United Nations –UN has designated May 21st as the World Day for Cultural Diversity, Dialogue and Development since 2002. This commemoration begins when the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization -UNESCO issued a Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity. Through UN Resolution No.57/249, May 21 is designated as a day to commemorate diversity throughout the world.
The United Nations recorded that 75 percent of the major conflicts occurred in the world today comes from the cultural dimension. The UN also launched a dialogue to bridge the culture in a bid to create peace. A simple action suggested by the UN to commemorate the cultural diversity is to visit cultural exhibitions, listen to music from different cultures, and invite neighbors of different religions or tribes to eat together, or watch films that tell a different culture.
Indonesia is listed as one of the most diverse countries in terms of culture in the world. The Central Statistics Agency reported that there are 1,128 tribes in Indonesia, spreading over more than 17 thousand islands.
Cultural diversity is actually a very valuable asset for Indonesia that is dynamic, and always developing. No matter how small the changes, all cultures in this country develop. Because of developing simultaneously, there are often conflicts between cultural groups. For example, a conflict happened between ethnic Dayaks and Madurese in Sampit, conflicts between Christian groups and Islam in Ambon, as well as the May 1998 riots which affected Chinese ethnic.
However, history also records the success of the Indonesian people in overcoming the conflicts with cultural diversity. The Indonesian nation has succeeded in addressing cultural diversity so that it becomes a source of wealth, not a source of splitting.