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kosmopolis institute
world citizenship
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Kosmopolis Institute Publications Day 1: Prejudice

Day 1: Prejudice

The10th edition of the International Monsoon School on Pluralism and Development has started! Now taking place during Monsoon season in Bangalore, India. Participants from Indonesia, Uganda, India and the Netherlands arrived on the 14th of July to have a fresh start of the first sessions on the 15th of July.

On this first day we teamed up in pairs to discuss each other’s backgrounds and get to know one and another at a glance. Afterwards the topic of pluralism was introduced by an exercise to express thoughts normally not associated with pluralism namely prejudices. The group divided in country groups and discussed prejudices held by people in our own country about the other participant countries. We learned that people from all over the world refer to Ugandan’s as African’s thereby totally ignoring the diversity of the country where 65 languages are used. The HIV/AIDS issue, poverty, corruption were some of the negative views that we were held by foreigners about Uganda but the country is also known as the last place where gorillas live in the wild. Group members shared that Indians are applauded for their commercial instincts in their countries but also mentioned that this can also be taken up as stinginess. Indian communities abroad are known as united but are also criticized because they keep very much to themselves.

The Dutch expected comments about the image foreigners hold about them as a rich and arrogant people that allow for drugs and prostitutes to flourish. Finally we found out that the Indonesian people are not well known to people of other countries, although they are the 3rd biggest country in the world. The Dutch group referred to their past as colonial rulers of Indonesia but were quick to realize that today the Dutch often mostly remember Indonesians for their terrific cuisine.

Expressing these thoughts called for reflection to explain some of these narrow-minded opinions that people can have about each other. One question that popped up is why there were not many images about Indonesia and its people in the countries represented in the Monsoon School. The Indonesian participants came to think about the need to express themselves better on a global level. The Indian representatives were struck by the stereotypes that were shared about them as a miser and closed community. They explained that in India money is generally viewed as valuable resource and it is widely believed that one should not brag or spend money carelessly. Also the view that Indians are a close and united community was opposed by the group, one explained: ‘Outsiders may perceive us as one but come and have a closer look, only then you see the diversity and conflict between us.’


The Ugandan participants confirmed the corruption and clarified that: ‘We are gifted by nature but exploited by greed’. AIDS is indeed also an issue in the country but fortunately a lot is done to alleviate the issue. Furthermore tourists often come for the gorillas but come home with stories about hospitable Ungandan’s as well. Finally the Dutch confirmed there liberal attitude towards drugs and sexuality but explained that laws do regulate the extremes.

The session ended and we were welcomed to enjoy a wonderful dinner         


Mira Krozer is a communication advisor as well as a Master student at the University for Humanistic Studies, Utrecht, The Netherlands.