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Thoughts on tolerance

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Tolerance, according to, is “willingness to accept feelings, habits, or beliefs that are different from your own”.

In a world filled with peoples of different religious doctrines, political ideologies, economic affiliations, sexual orientations, and so on, the need for tolerance cannot be exaggerated.

To make the world a better place, peace is needed. To get peace in a world so diversified, tolerance is the key; we have to accept one another for who/what we are.

Understanding this fundamental importance of tolerance, The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1995 declared the International Day for Tolerance to be observed on 16 November every year.

 It is an observance declared “to generate public awareness of the dangers of intolerance.”

As we mark the 2016 Tolerance Day today, let me share with you some of the stirring quotations on tolerance. The essence of this is to enable us put into perspective the importance of tolerance; to ponder about it, and most importantly, to put it into practice.

“What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other’s folly – that is the first law of nature.”


“In a world of diversity, tolerance is a prerequisite for peace. It is also a lever for sustainable development, as it encourages the construction of more inclusive and thus more resilient societies that are able to draw on the ideas, creative energy and talents of each of their members.”

―Irina Bokova

“The challenge for each one of you is to take up these ideals of tolerance and respect for others and put them to practical use in your schools, your communities and throughout your lives.”

­―Nelson Mandela

 “Acceptance and tolerance and forgiveness, those are life-altering lessons.”

― Jessica Lange

“Tolerance is giving to every other human being every right that you claim for yourself.”

­― Robert Green Ingersoll

 “I think tolerance and acceptance and love is something that feeds every community.”

― Lady Gaga

 “The test of courage comes when we are in the minority. The test of tolerance comes when we are in the majority.”

― Ralph W. Sockman

“In a multi-racial society, trust, understanding and tolerance are the cornerstones of peace and order.”

― Kamisese Mara

“It is thus tolerance that is the source of peace, and intolerance that is the source of disorder and squabbling.”

­― Pierre Bayle

“Toleration is the greatest gift of the mind; it requires the same effort of the brain that it takes to balance oneself on a bicycle.”

― Helen Keller

“Laws alone cannot secure freedom of expression; in order that every man presents his views without penalty there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population.”

­―Albert Einstein

“Don’t be in a hurry to condemn because he doesn’t do what you do or think as you think or as fast. There was a time when you didn’t know what you know today.”

―Malcolm X

“In the practice of tolerance, one’s enemy is the best teacher.”

― Dalai Lama

“Tolerance isn’t about not having beliefs. It’s about how your beliefs lead you to treat people who disagree with you.”

­― Timothy Keller

“The capacity for getting along with our neighbor depends to a large extent on the capacity for getting along with ourselves. The self-respecting individual will try to be as tolerant of his neighbor’s shortcomings as he is of his own.”

― Eric Hoffer

“Tolerance is the positive and cordial effort to understand another’s beliefs, practices, and habits without necessarily sharing or accepting them.”     

­― Joshua Liebman

“Tolerance implies a respect for another person, not because he is wrong or even because he is right, but because he is human.”

― John Cogley Commonweal

“Tolerance is the first principle of community; it is the spirit which conserves the best that all men think.”

― Helen Keller

“How do we create a harmonious society out of so many kinds of people? The key is tolerance–the one value that is indispensable in creating community.”    

― Barbara Jordan

“Tolerance only for those who agree with you is no tolerance at all.”

― Ray Davis

Nurudeen Lawal

Nurudeen Lawal

I work as a Content Editor with a leading publishing company in Nigeria, Literamed Publications Nigeria Limited.View Author posts

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