Diversity can be understood in many different ways, but my first association is the Book Fair in Belgrade. It takes place every October and it lasts for 7 days. I used to skip school in order to spend my time there, but when the principle of my school caught me, he gave me a week off. Now, after so many years, I understand him: in the age of internet, crime, drugs and alcohol, I was a teenager in love with books, eager to meet people from all over the world, writers, publishers, journalists… From that year on, I always had a week off for the Book Fair.
I used to go to the Fair at 10 o’clock, as soon as the gates open, and talk to people from dozen different countries. I remember tall, thin Russian hostess, who gave me postcards with pictures of Moscow and Lenin, short girls from Poland who always wore white dresses, group from Sweden, they were all blond and always ready to talk to me and tell me stories about their country and their way of life.
I guess that is when I decided to become citizen of the world, to ignore borders and learn as much as I can about countries, people, their habits and cultures. I still have this thirst for this kind of knowledge, and I am proud to know a few things: one should never touch Malaysian’s head, they believe their soul is in their hair, never give a Japanese present wrapped up in white paper, in their culture, white color symbolizes death.
What would I bring to the diversity in a college community? I will bring my knowledge, share it with my colleagues, and absorb as much as they are willing to share.