Faculty of Humanities
The Faculty of Humanities is committed to creating an inclusive and diverse community, where all students and staff are supported, respected, and empowered to do their best work, irrespective of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, ability, age, religion, or socio-economic background.
As core values of Leiden University, diversity and inclusion are key to the research and educational missions of our Faculty. Our worldwide expertise, international orientation and multiplicity of academic approaches create windows on a world that is becoming increasingly diverse and ever more interconnected. By embracing diversity of thought, approach, background, and identity, we aim to inspire new modes of analysis, angles of inquiry, and solutions that contribute to a more equitable, responsible, and democratic society.
Dean of the Faculty of Humanities
The Faculty of Humanities strives to be an open, stimulating and safe work and learning environment in which everyone can develop and be themselves. Exchanging ideas, opinions and appreciating differences in custom and expectations are important for developing ourselves and getting to know others. This means that we treat each other with respect, and that we give space to a variety of experiences and perspectives. It also means that we want to be a community that embraces and values the diversity of people and cultures as valuable. In short, we want to create a diverse and inclusive academic community.
However, this is not self-evident and not always easy. After all, as individuals we tend to experience the security of the familiar and the 'like-minded' as comfortable and safe. It also means that things we take for granted will be tested, which can make us feel uncomfortable at times. However, it is my belief that it makes us a better community. Mutual understanding and respect, especially listening to each other's experiences, arguments and opinions – even if we do not agree with each other – form the basis for a better society.
That assumes that everyone who wants to participate is welcome at our Faculty and that we as a community also propagate this together. Indecent treatment of others, exclusion, especially threats and discrimination, are unacceptable from members of our academic community. It is therefore sometimes necessary to draw clear boundaries; views, actions and statements that lead to exclusion are not a matter of opinion. Tensions related to diversity and discrimination have unfortunately increased rather than decreased, particularly on social media and elsewhere outside the direct sphere of the university. However, that does not make them any less unacceptable.
Of course there is still a lot to improve and learn. I expect everyone to contribute to this process and to take responsibility. We should cherish our collective academic community in its rich diversity. In the 'other' we discover ourselves – everyone is an equal member of our community and everyone has a contribution to make in achieving an inclusive community.
Leonor Albuquerque Amaral
Student BA International Studies and member of the Sounding Board D&I
As a chronically ill disabled student, I constantly find myself having barriers to fully thrive in my academic life. Education while dealing with pain, mental health issues, daily medication and all kinds of symptoms is a lot harder. Very often I ask myself how my educational experience can be made easier, and how many of the challenges I face can be changed. More importantly, I often reflect on the privilege that is having a disability that still allows me to study. This makes me dream and work towards a world where all disabled people, no matter their background or disability, can fully enjoy being a student at Leiden University. When thinking about the policy of the Humanities Faculty, I will always try to push for a more equal, accessible learning environment, that takes into consideration the intersectionality of identities of the students of Leiden University.
Member of the Staff Advisory Group D&I
Leiden University has one of the oldest chairs in Arabic studies in Europe. It was founded in 1613 AD. Since then the Faculty of Humanities has gone on to produce a great many studies on the diversity within global religions, cultures, and thought. The diversity of thought at Humanities, however, did not always translate to diversity and inclusion in staff hiring, promotions, and representation of women and ethnic minorities. Like many other predominately white universities, we have a long, long way to go before our commitment to diversity and inclusion finds practical and real-life expression. Nevertheless, the founding of the Staff Advisory Group for diversity and inclusion is a welcomed step — and much needed initiative that supports, challenges and inspires the Faculty of Humanities in the execution of its diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.