Global Diversity and Emotional Intelligence Awareness Month
Last week, members of the fundraising community gathered in Philadelphia for AFP LEAD, AFP’s annual leadership conference. Looking at this year’s sessions, I’m inspired by the prevalence of words like “empathy”, “inclusion”, “authentic”, “ethical”, and “belonging” in the titles.
These are values that AFP advocates for year-round, but they’re especially top of mind for me this month, as we celebrate both Global Diversity Awareness Month and Emotional Intelligence Awareness Month.
In 1948, the United Nations published the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in response to the atrocities seen in World War II. This proclamation, and numerous human rights treaties since, recognize the inherent value of all people regardless of sex, gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, age, country of origin, language, genetic information, marital status, pregnancy, or other characteristic.
Today this acknowledgement of fundamental human value is the basis for our understanding of diversity, equity, inclusion, and access, or IDEA. The communities an organization serves must have representation within the organization itself to reflect true diversity. Clear and obvious organizational diversity is the primary gateway to ensuring that equity, inclusion, and access is tangible and achievable.
That is why AFP integrates IDEA into every aspect of our work — in the content of the programs and trainings we offer, through the selection of our speakers, board, award recipients and volunteers, right down to the hiring of our internal staff, which my position, head of IDEA, is evidence of.
Through this commitment to diversity, our members and staff are better positioned to understand and effectively work with the communities they serve.
But diversity alone does not guarantee successful communication and collaboration. It also requires emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence (EI) helps us to properly manage and understand our own emotions, and those of the people around us.
The five elements of EI include:
- social skills
Emotional Intelligence Awareness Month is a reminder for us to refocus on these elements and how we can use them to make our conversations more meaningful, respectful, and impactful. This can apply to all aspects of your life, including your interactions with colleagues, fellow AFP members, donors, and our local and global communities.
People with high levels of emotional intelligence are often better leaders, because they are able to understand the perspective of others, recognize the role their own emotions and biases play, and work to resolve and reduce conflict.
This heightened emotional awareness creates a space of understanding, helping us to break down barriers, and address inequality in the numerous places it exists today.
With increased global connectiveness and intersectionality, homogenization of cultures is common. As a result, the beliefs and traditions of minority groups can be at risk of being irradicated. When we embrace all aspects of life, and what makes each of us unique, we help sustain cultural authenticity and honor what creates a richer and more vibrant world. Therefore, this month is a time to celebrate and explore the depth and diversity of ourselves, our culture, and the cultures of those around us.
10 Ways to Celebrate Global Diversity Awareness Month:
Ginny Clarke - Ways to leverage emotional intelligence to get ahead in your career video:
Reading Reference - Farah Harris:
Expanded Resource Booklist: