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Volunteerism is Universal: An extract from the 2011 State of the World’s Volunteerism Report

21 May 2013

Today, 21 May, is the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. This year's theme, 'Do One Thing for Diversity and Inclusion' encourages people and organizations around the world to take concrete action to support diversity.

On this Day, the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme launches an extract from the 2011 State of the World's Volunteerism Report, 'Volunteerism is Universal', focusing on the universal values that motivate people the world over to volunteer for the common good. In doing so, it examines some fundamental misperceptions that remain widespread in the Western world and beyond regarding the nature and contributions of volunteer action.

Volunteerism is universal and immense, representing an enormous reservoir of skills, energy and local knowledge for peace and development. In most languages, there are words to express the concept of volunteerism. Often inspired by indigenous traditions, they describe the principal ways by which people collectively apply their energy, talents, knowledge and other resources for mutual benefit. The act of volunteering is well known throughout the world, even if the word as such is not.

To better understand the full scale of volunteerism, read Volunteerism is Universal: An extract from the 2011 State of the World's Volunteerism Report.

UNV is administered by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)