A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE® Institute
A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE® Institute
In 1985, ADL and WCVB-TV in Boston initiated A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE® campaign to combat prejudice, promote democratic ideals and strengthen pluralism. Today, the A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE Institute is an international institute with anti-bias and diversity education programs used by schools, universities, corporations and community and law enforcement agencies throughout the United States and abroad. A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE Institute programs operate in 29 U.S. cities and in 14 countries around the world. Specialized training programs target five primary audiences: A CAMPUS OF DIFFERENCE for college and university students, faculty and staff, A COMMUNITY OF DIFFERENCE for members of law enforcement agencies and other community organizations, A CLASSROOM OF DIFFERENCE for teachers, administrators, students, and family members in grades PreK-12, A WORKPLACE OF DIFFERENCE for employers and employees in a variety of workplaces, A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE Institute Youth and Family programs for youth in non-school settings, youth service agencies, and after-school programs.
Each program has its own goals and objectives targeting its specific audience, however, in general terms the goals of A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE Institute programs are to raise awareness about the issues of prejudice and discrimination and the harm they inflict on individuals and society and to provide effective strategies and resources to address these issues in homes, workplaces, schools and communities. Programs provide practical, experiential, hands-on training, and offer skills to challenge prejudice and discrimination foster intergroup understanding and equip participants to live and work successfully and civilly in a diverse society.
Part of the initial statement of need for A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE included the reality of changing demographics in the United States. While the general population of the United States grew by 11% between 1970 and 1980 the number of Asian Americans increased by 256% and the Hispanic population grew by 65%. Predictions made by demographers in the mid-80s that by the year 2000 populations of people traditionally referred to as "minorities" would be the majority in over 50 major American cities has proven to be true. Overall, the 2000 Census figures report that Americans of Hispanic origin increased by 58% over the past decade, to 12.5% of the total population. African Americans, including those who identified themselves as members of more than one race rose to 12.9% of the total, an increase of about 16 percent. The population of Asian Americans in the United States has almost doubled since 1990, to 4.2% of the total population. The challenge facing all citizens is to increase understanding and respect among all people and to ensure that "minority" populations enjoyed the same rights of citizenship as the majority.
In 1985 when ADL initiated A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE the program's initial school-based goal was to provide training and resources to Massachusetts educators in public, private and parochial schools on the subject of racial, religious and ethnic prejudice and discrimination. ADL staff and lay leaders, in conjunction with a broad coalition of Massachusetts's educators, developed the educational component of the project, which included workshops and classroom resources for teachers. WCVB-TV, the ABC television affiliate in Boston, provided media outreach which addressed another major goal of the project: creating dialogue about prejudice and discrimination in the broader community outside of schools. A community coalition of civil rights and law enforcement agencies convened to serve in an advisory capacity and to provide additional outreach for the project. Shawmut Banks contributed underwriting for the initial one-year "campaign," as it was then called, before A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE became an ongoing, integrated program of ADL.
From the outset, the project's strategy was to combine television's unique ability to reach wide audiences with the ability of statewide educators and local community groups to influence attitudes of youth. The campaign was a multi-pronged partnership which included media (television, radio and newspapers), education (teacher-training and curriculum resources for educators), and community events (a variety of additional projects designed to heighten public awareness and encourage collaborations among community groups.)
During its early history the A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE campaign was the recipient of many major national awards including a Peabody, Gabriel, Scripps-Howard and the National Association Award for Advancement in Learning. It has also received national citations from several United States presidents, and in 1998 was listed as a promising practice under the auspices of the White House Initiative on Race Relations.