It was started by the UN General Assembly, with the goal of getting educational institutions and the general public to see tolerance as a staple of society. And it came after the United Nations declared a Year for Tolerance in 1995.
In 1995, UNESCO created the Declaration of Principles on Tolerance as a way to define and provide awareness of tolerance for any and all governing and participating bodies. That day in 1995 was November 16. Now, as an anniversary of that Declaration, we celebrate the International Day for Tolerance every November 16 to help spread tolerance and raise awareness of any intolerance that may still be prevalent in the world today. Although we should be tolerant every day, it’s always good to have one occasion to remind us just how important tolerance is.
Additionally, UNESCO created an award to recognize those with great achievements in promoting the spirit of tolerance or non-violence in fields such as science, culture, and the arts. The UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize and the UNESCO International Day for Tolerance both recognize that tolerance is a universal human right.