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Two different approaches at the Diversity symposium

One of the speakers at the Diversity symposium on 22 November is Estela Mara Bensimon, highly honoured professor of Higher Education in the US. A second speaker is Peter Slort, from the Dutch National Police, responsible for Diversity. He will talk about how diversity is progressing within the police organisation. And a Women's Network will be founded.

Estela Mara Bensimon
Prof. Estela Mara Bensimon

Estela Mara Bensimon

As well as Professor of Higher Education at the USC Rossier School of Education, Bensimon is Director of the Center for Urban Education that she herself founded in 1999. She writes books and articles in prominent academic journals and has received a number of honours for her scientific work. 

Asked about the differences and similarities between the US and the Netherlands/Europe, Bensimon says, 'One possible similarity is that both in the Netherlands and in the US there is some reticence, or even uneasiness, when talking about race. Another similarity could be the false conviction that we're colour blind and that we use that as an excuse for avoiding talking about racism or white supremacy.' Read the interview with her.

Peter Slort

Slort has a holy grail at the National Police: his mission is to promote diversity. He had held many management positions within the Police and alos worked in the US for a year. A year ago he became portfolio holder for Diversity and the Power of Difference, reporting directly to the most senior person in the National Police, Chief of Police Erik Akerboom. 

Slort favours a broad approach, and his belief is that it has to start with the central departments: it cannot be imposed top down, but progress should be closely monitored. Slot understands that progress will only be made step by step, something that he accepts provideding progress is made.  Read the full interview.

Peter Slort
Peter Slort

Sophia Women's Network

A new women's network will be launched: Sophia, named after the first female Leiden professor. The network is intended specially for female researchers at Leiden University. The impetus for the network is the still low percentage of women professors and the obstacles they encounter in building an academic career. Sophia aims to eliminate the inequality in the percentage of male to female staff at Leiden University, to cregte equal opportunities and to make full use of the talents of Leiden's female academics.  

The website of the Sophia Women's Network will be launched on 22 November at the same time as the Network is officially started. 

Further programme

Other items on the programme are an interview with Dr Isabel Hoving, Diversity Officer at Leiden University, on the status of diversity within the University, parallel workshops on the topic of What Can We Do? How To Promote Inclusion and the announcement of the winner of the Van Bergen Prize for initiatives to bring Dutch and international students together. In a video stream lecturers, students and non-academic staff will talk about diversity and inclusiveness at our University. There will also be an information fair where view books and films about diversity. Visitors can learn about initiatives being taken elsewhere.

See the complete programme for the How inclusion makes diversity work symposium on 22 November in Scheltema. NB. Places for the evening programme are still available.

(CH)