Realise the beauty of unity in diversity

diversity 2019__

(Unsplash, 2019)

This article was exclusively written for the The European Sting by Mr. Kapil Narain, a fourth year medical student at the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine. He is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


In this hyper-paced 21st century, we reside in shrinking spaces. Due to the advent of technology such as Skype or commercial planes, this has ushered a wave of unparalleled communication opportunities – giving rise to the idea of a global village.

Whether it is communication or travel between Europe and Africa, America and the Far East or Australia and South America – anything is possible. Hence, I have entitled this article Pangea in light of the supercontinent – which serves as a powerful metaphor for our interconnectedness and global unity as a people.

Whilst such ease of connectivity and accessibility enables networking or collaboration on many initiatives – along with the fact that most people in their lifetime will visit another country for work or holiday – this is not without its challenges. Often a key concept is to understand other cultures which may be wildly different to that of yours, and the culture shock that ensue as part of this process.

The latter refers to the phenomenon whereby an individual may experience a sense of disorientation or anxiety when moving to another cultural environment that may be vastly different to his or her own. I am sure many readers can easily relate – be it in the form of intense language barriers, unusual cuisine (in some cases you would consider inedible), or dressing (that to your standards may be utterly ludicrous).

Often there are 4 well known phases of this culture shock phenomenon: honeymoon (where differences are romanticised but this eventually ends), negotiation (stark difference are noted between your own culture and this current one which creates anxiety), adjustment (where you acclimate to the new cultural environment), and adaption (where you finally feel comfortable).

It is becoming increasingly important to realise cultural differences and respect them. For me as a medical student and future doctor, who speaks and examines patients of various ethnic and cultural backgrounds daily, this translates to understanding who our patients are – beyond the biomedical perspectives. Patients are not simply coughs, chest pains or tumours.

It is delving and advocating for the bio-psycho-social model of health and understanding how a patient’s culture is a critical component of social determinants of health which may influence a particular patients feeling or attitude towards a disease or treatment.

It is paramount we minimise such cultural shock. Most importantly, we must do so by engaging with someone who possesses a different skin colour, wears different clothes, speaks differently and looks different to us. We must welcome and possess an interest in understanding one another.

As we left 2018 behind and we commemorate the centenary of legendary activist Nelson Mandela, let us champion the ideals of a “rainbow globe”.  Realise the beauty of unity in diversity.

Play our part in “Ubuntu” (an isiZulu word for humanity) and celebrate the dazzling array of cultures on our planet. Whilst we may all be different we are bound by the common thread of the human condition and the triumph of the human spirit! Lest us never forget.

About the author

Kapil Narain is a fourth year medical student at the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine. He is the current President of SAMSA (IFMSA –South Africa). He is passionate about understanding where patients come from and believes in the beauty of inter-religious groups. He has worked with Churches, Mosques and Temples through many of his community initiatives – one which included a march for gender equality.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Coronavirus response: over €1 billion from EU Cohesion policy to support Spain’s recovery

The hidden pandemic: mental illness

JADE Team at the European Business Summit 2017

Populist Eurosceptics helped by Trumpists seriously threaten the EU edifice

A Sting Exclusive: “Entrepreneurship in the Coronavirus (COVID-19) era” written by the Vice-President of Junior Enterprises Europe

‘Endemic’ sexual violence surging in South Sudan: UN human rights office

Eurozone governed by an obscure body and gray procedures

Climate changes and the imminent public health crises

Eurozone recession subsides

More funds needed to counter ‘persistent and multi-faceted humanitarian problems’ in Ethiopia

Cohesion Policy after 2020: preparing the future of EU investments in health

On their epic journeys, migratory birds connect nations and inspire people, UN says on World Day

Rapid action needed for people to meet challenges of changing world of work

Libya ‘in race against time’, but dissolving conflict ‘a realistic prospect’, Security Council hears

Why India can show us how to achieve growth with purpose

Opening – February plenary session, 27 new seats

Telemedicine and the Brazilian reality

This is what great leadership looks like in the digital age

UNESCO food and culture forum dishes up fresh serving of SDGs

‘True’ peace, requires standing up for human rights, says UN chief Guterres

Iran: UN rights chief ‘deeply disturbed’ by continuing executions of juvenile offenders

WhatsApp to face scrutiny from EU regulators task force over data sharing with Facebook

Tuesday’s Daily Brief: funding for Palestine refugees, families today, tech surveillance

UN and African Union in ‘common battle’ for development and climate change financing

China is adding a London-sized electric bus fleet every five weeks

UN investigates systematic sexual violence across South Sudan

They won this year’s Nobel for economics. Here’s why their work matters

Living to 100: why we should plan for more sushi, chocolate and work

COP22 addresses a strong global pledge to effectively implement the Paris Agreement

Restore hope that peace will come to the Middle East, UN negotiator urges Security Council

Seaweed straws and loose-leaf tea: 6 ways to reduce plastic waste

South Sudan ‘heading towards lasting peace and stability’, UN General Assembly told

3 ways activists are being targeted by cyberattacks

Facts and prejudices about work

How global tech companies can champion ethical AI

Universal Health Coverage in the EU: Are we really leaving no one behind?

Easier Schengen Visas for non-EU holiday makers: A crucial issue for south Eurozone countries

Yemen agreement to end southern power struggle ‘important step’ towards peace: UN Special Envoy

System value can power the energy transition in emerging markets

Future of Insurance Claims in Focus at Fourth Annual Connected Claims Europe Summit

The multidisciplinary team facing the multidrug resistant form of Tuberculosis in the state of Amazonas (Brazil)

Ukraine pays the price for lying between Russia and the EU

UN experts urge Turkey to repatriate Irish woman associated with terror group

We won’t win the online security war without people power

Across the world, women outlive men. This is why

A ‘system value’ approach can accelerate the energy transition. Here’s how

How tiny countries top social and economic league tables (and win at football, too)

Geopolitics and investment in emerging markets after COVID-19

The blackened white coat of the doctors

COP21 Breaking News: “There is an ecological debt that the world needs to pay back to Africa”, French President Francois Hollande promises 2 Billion euros by 2020 from Paris

Conference on Future of Europe should start “as soon as possible in autumn 2020”

Roma integration: fight social exclusion, poverty and anti-gypsyism, MEPs demand

Car rentals: EU action leads to clearer and more transparent pricing

Paradise islands of Pacific increasingly vulnerable to climate change, as UN boosts resilience

Key quotes from China’s Premier Li on COVID-19, the economy and US relations

Right2Water initiative: Is the Commission ready to listen to citizens?

Coronavirus: Commission Statement on consulting Member States on proposal to prolong and adjust State aid Temporary Framework

3 ways to stop COVID-19 from drying up start-up talent pools

UN launches ‘South-South Galaxy’ knowledge-sharing platform in Buenos Aires

Investors have a role in securing our shared digital future

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s