‘Namaste’ On World Diversity Day

May 21, 2018, Diversity, Gilchrist



My soul honors your soul.
I honor the place in you where
the entire universe resides.
I honor the light, love, truth,
beauty, and peace within you,
because it is also within me.
In sharing these things
we are united, we are the same,
we are one.

─Author unknown

When I reflect on World Diversity Day and what diversity and inclusion means at Gilchrist, I think of the sentiment that is intended by an exchange of the greeting ‘namaste.’ Namaste is an ancient Sanskrit word that translates to ‘I bow to you.’ The spiritual meaning of namaste is deeper. The word ‘namaha’ brings down all your egos when you are among others. Namaste suggests that a person extends friendship in humility: the light in me sees and honors the light in you.

At Gilchrist, this is what we are all about—promoting the honoring of each other and all whom we serve. Unpacking this further, there are four essential tenets, I believe, to effectively engaging with each other across cultures. These tenets are that we would be:

  1. Culturally humble (in humility I honor your culture as equal to my own)
  2. Culturally respectful (teach me how I can best serve you, for you are the expert on you)
  3. Culturally curious (I want to know more about you and celebrate you and your culture)
  4. Culturally inclusive (let us leave no one and no culture out)

Gilchrist’s Diversity and Inclusion Council strives to live and teach these ideals through:

  1. Researching and offering education to Gilchrist staff on cultural best practices through in-service offerings and speakers
  2. Celebrating ‘World Diversity Day’ and our individual and team cross-cultural experiences
  3. Promoting a spirit of cultural humility whereby we all seek to learn from each other and those we serve

On this World Diversity Day—and every day—I invite all of us to continue the good work of reaching across cultures to best serve one another and our neighbors near and far.


Gilchrist Chaplain Donald Hohne

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