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The National
Consultative Committee,
26 Harcourt Street,
Dublin 2.
Tel: (01) 4785777
Fax: (01) 4785778

National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism Printable version

Activity pack contents:

Ideas & Activities
Workshops & Role Plays
Resource Section
Schools Charter
Award Scheme
Lá Idirnáisiúnta i gCoinne Ciníochais

An activity pack for schools and youth workers


The Equality Commission
for Northern Ireland
Racial Equality Directorate
60 Great Victoria Street
Belfast BT2 7BB

The National Consultative
Committee on Racism
and Interculturalism
26 Harcourt Street
Dublin 2


This activity pack has been produced by the National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism (NCCRI) in the Republic of Ireland in partnership with the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland. It is intended to be a first stage awareness raising initiative developed in advance of the United Nations World Conference on Racism in Durban, South Africa, in September 2001. In particular, however, the pack has been developed for the International Day Against Racism on March 21st 2001 and the European Week Against March - March 19th - 25th although it can, of course be used as a resource at any time.

This activity pack aims to provide a range of ideas for those working with young people in schools or more informal education settings who are interested in exploring cultural diversity and raising awareness about racism. The pack is consistent with the preparations for forthcoming public awareness programmes to highlight racism in Ireland.

This pack is being produced in an accessible format so that those who use it will be able to add their own materials and resources. The pack will be up dated from time to time. The pack and updates will be available through the websites of the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland and the NCCRI.


The pack contains the following:

  1. Background - a brief overview of cultural diversity and racism in Ireland, North and South, the origin of the international day against racism and the forthcoming world conference on racism;
  2. Ideas and activities - an outline of ideas and activities that can be undertaken with a wide range of age groups;
  3. Workshops and role plays - the further development of ideas and activities;
  4. Resource section - a glossary of terms and references to useful websites;
  5. A Schools Charter - suggestions on how to draw up a school Charter against racism;
  6. The Award Scheme - how to qualify for the 'Schools Against Racism' award 2001.
  7. Lá Idirnáisiúnta i gCoinne Ciníochais

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There is an increasing awareness of cultural diversity in Ireland, North and South. The largest minority ethnic group overall is the Irish Traveller community with an estimated population of 22,000 in the South and 1,600 in the North. The largest minority ethnic group in Northern Ireland is the Chinese community with an estimated 8,000 people. There is a long established Indian community in the North and a Jewish community as well as growing Islamic, Afro-Caribbean, African and Asian communities in both jurisdictions.

In recent years cultural diversity has been particularly highlighted by an increase in the number of asylum seekers seeking refuge on the island of Ireland and the increased number of migrant workers from non-EU countries who are meeting the skills shortages caused by the rapid economic growth particularly in the South.

There is also an increasing awareness of racism in Ireland, North and South, and a recognition that racism takes different forms, including:

  • racism experienced by the Irish Traveller community based on their distinct nomadic and ethnic identity
  • racism experienced by refugees, asylum seekers and migrants
  • racism experienced by black people irrespective of their citizenship or legal status.

March 21st- United Nations Day Against Racism

March 21st was designated as the international day against racism by the United Nations as a day to focus on tacking racism across the world. The date marks the anniversary of the Sharpeville massacre in 1960 when 69 people were killed and 400 injured in an anti-apartheid demonstration in a suburb of Johannesburg, South Africa. Across Europe activities take place during the week of March 21st to highlight opposition to racism. Many countries have a particular focus on education and young people in tackling racism.

European Week Against Racism

The period of March 19th - March 25th, which takes in the United Nations Day Against Racism gives people across Europe the opportunity to undertake a variety of activities to highlight the problem of racism and share information and ideas with others on ways in which to work toward the eradication of racism and the promotion of a more inclusive intercultural society.

The World Conference on Racism

In response to concerns about racism, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, has been co-ordinating a world conference on racism that will take place in September 2001 in Durban, South Africa. The conference will aim to strengthen policies and practices to address racism at both an international and member state level. See

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The following are a range of ideas and activities that teachers and youth leaders can undertake with young people to raise issues of diversity, exclusion and racism. Many can be adapted for use with different age groups and can be used as a one-off activity or as a range of activities that might lead to a particular project such as a School Charter (see Section 5). The activities can be undertaken under a ran

  • design a poster and create your own slogans to support the March 21st theme
  • design a badge to show support for and solidarity with
    • refugees and asylum seekers
    • Irish Travellers
    or an anti-racism badge
  • show an extract of a film where racism is depicted as a means of promoting discussion
  • research the lives of those who have made a difference, for example Nelson Mandela; Rosa Parkes, Martin Luther King
  • arrange a debate about racism
  • make up a song or change the words of an existing song to celebrate diversity
  • have a multi-cultural desk in the classroom where young people bring in something that reflects cultural diversity, such as something bought on holidays
  • if young people have relatives who have emigrated, find out where they emigrated to and why or discuss the challenges of visiting another country
  • divide people into small groups to discuss and then list the main reasons why people have to migrate from one country to another. For example: persecution, poverty, unemployment, seeking a better life, conflict, famine, choice. Ask the groups to categorise them as 'push' or 'pull factors
  • draw a mural or make a quilt representing cultural/ethnic diversity
    • begin by everyone designing his or her own picture on an A4 page
    • provide some suggestions on how diversity can be represented . colours, symbols, images
    • using ideas from all A4 pictures design and transfer to a larger mural or design for a quilt.
  • find out about the forthcoming world conference on racism . its aims, the significance of where it is being held and what it hopes to achieve. See the newsletters and reports on
  • find out about the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) which both Ireland and the United Kingdom have ratified on

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