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Symposium: The making of an inclusive Leiden University. Do's and Don'ts

What do we need to do for Leiden University to become a truly inclusive institution, where everyone feels at home and has equal opportunities? This is the key question at the annual symposium on diversity and inclusiveness on 1 December. If you would like to put your views, sign up now!

Sharing and celebrating progress

'The symposium is the point in the year when Leiden University shares and celebrates with staff and students the progress we have made with our diversity and inclusiveness policy, and when we look at how we want to move forward - how we can make sure that our university becomes truly inclusive, in the lecture halls and in the interaction between colleagues.' This is how Isabel Hoving, Diversity Officer and one of the organisers of the symposium, described the aims of the event on 1 December. 'We want to stimulate the talents of everyone - our staff and our students. That's the best way to improve the quality of our research and teaching. An inclusive culture within the university - one that excludes nobody - will make for a more pleasant working environment for all of us'. 

Next steps

Hoving: 'Part of the symposium will be a discussion of the next steps: How can we make inclusiveness concrete in everyday practice? How can we make sure that everyone feels welcome and supported so that all the talented people we have here can develop to their full potential? How do we recognise exclusion in our everyday activities,  and what can we do to make sure we interact with one another in a way that is completely inclusive?' 


A range of speakers from the Netherlands and abroad will be looking back at three years of diversity policy, the 2016 Joris van Bergen Prize will be awarded and there will be a number of workshops.

Sticky Floors

Keynote speaker is Stijn Baert, Professor of Emoployment Economics at the University of Ghent. He will be talking about Sticky Floors, the phenomenon that makes it difficult for women to have a career. What exactly does exclusion look like in practice? Is discrimination on the grounds of gender the same as discrimination on other grounds. In his research Baert explores how discrimination affects other under-represented groups, and he explains the link between discrimination in the job market and poor school performance. 

‘The Momma or Yo’ Momma: Doing Diversity and Inclusion from a Black Woman’s Perspective’

The discussion on diversity and inclusiveness is going on throughout the whole University, and there is a growing awareness of D and I policy. In her lecture, Aminata Cairo will give her vision of what we can do in practice to bring about lasting change. Cairo works in the Diversity Office at Leiden University. She is of Surinamese descent but was born in the Netherlands and grew up here. She went to school and university in the US. She has worked for more than thirty years at the interface between the university and societal organisations.  

Theater sketches

Theater company Leiden International Arts and Theater Foundation run by Thanos Souliotis will present situations from Leiden University practice in the form of sketches. What kinds of exclusion do our students experience here? What are the more encouraging experiences that they have had? What types of exclusion do people on the work floor have to deal with? The theater group, led by Kathryn Bentley, will discuss with the audience how we can make the University a more inclusive place. Bentley is Associate Professor in Theater Studies at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and is a trained specialist on diversity issues.   


The evening programme is being organised by and for students. There will be a choice of four workshops. Non-students are very welcome to join the workshops! 

Are you coming? You can sign up via the registration form!

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