Lifelong Learning Articles

Pundits, Pachyderms and Pluralism: The Never-ending Debate on Multiculturalism

This is an edited version of the text of the UBC-Laurier Institution Multiculturalism Lecture delivered on June 20, 2007 at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver Canada. It was broadcast on the Ideas program of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Radio One on June 26, 2007.It was then published in the Canadian Journal of Communication Vol. 34 (4), pp. 701-710 in 2009.

The word ‘multiculturalism’ was coined in the early 1970s, from which time various pundits worldwide have given it differing, often contradictory, interpretations; based on their own socio-cultural contexts. Similar to Rumi’s elephant in the dark house, the pachyderm of the title was...