Universiteit Leiden

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Knowledge of worldwide cultures

Leiden has an international reputation as a stronghold of knowledge about cultures worldwide. Under the umbrella name of LeidenGlobal, Leiden University, the National Museum of Antiquities, the Natioial Museum of Ethnology and five research institutes are working together to disseminate this knowledge to a broad public. A new lecture series is about to start: 'Discipline and Place in the Social Sciences and the Humanities'.

It was six years ago that the collaboration started between Leiden University, the National Museum of Antiquities and the National Museum of Ethnology and five research institutes: the Netherlands Institute for the Near East (NINO), the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS), the Africa Studies Centre Leiden (ASCL), the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV) and the Roosevelt Institute for American Studies (RIAS). Under the name of LeidenGlobal, these eight organisations have formulated the aim of pooling their research and researchers and disseminating their knowledge to a broad public. 

Disseminating cultural knowledge

In the context of LeidenGlobal, Leiden University has set up two interdisciplinary courses for master's students and PhD candidates. LeidenGlobal also wants to disseminate its cultural knowledge more broadly to reach a wider audience: from the man in the street and school pupils to the government, explains Aphroditi Zoulfoukaridis, manager and programme coordinator of LeidenGlobal. ‘Knowledge about other countries and cultures is important if we want to understand what is happening in society, politics or in the international arena. This is the kind of knowledge that can be obtained virtually free from LeidenGlobal.’ 

Heritage on the move photo exhibition

To make this knowledge available to the other partners and to a broader public, LeidenGlobal organises a range of projects, including lectures, exhibitions and courses. One such project is the Heritage on the Move photo exhibition, about how heritage is changed by migration. 'This is a common theme for all the institutes that are part of the partnership,' Zoulfoukaridis says. ‘We asked researchers from the different institutes for a photo depicting what Heritage on the Move means to them. The result is an exhibition of eighteen photos with a brief explanation in terms that everyone can understand.' It has become a very varied exhibition. One researcher looks at the theme from the viewpoint of archaeology, while another focuses on international law. The exhibition has now been running for two years and has been on display at the University, in the Town Hall and in the public library. The photos have also been exhibited in The Hague and Amersfoort. When the exhibition is on display, there are lectures by the researchers who submitted a photo.

School conference about children's rights

LeidenGlobal is also the initiator of the Leiden School Conference that secondary school pupls organise for their fellow pupils. In April 2019 the theme was international children's rights. The school pupils, guided by law students, drew up children's rights treaties for different coutries such as ìran, Rwanda and the United States. As part of their preparation, the pupils organising the day talked to experts who have extensive knowledge of these countries. They were put into contact with the experts via LeidenGlobal. For this conference we worked together with secondary school pupils, students, researchers and government institutes such as Leiden Kennisstad and BplusC,' Zoulfoukaridis explained.

Lectures at government ministries

LeidenGlobal is also working on a project to make the cultural expertise developed in Leiden available to the government. Monthly lectures will be organised at government ministries on the theme of current issues such as migration and North Korea. ‘We want to make sure the government departments realise that knowledge about these important present-day issues is available just around the corner, in Leiden.'

LeidenGlobal Lecture Series 'Discipline and Place in the Social Sciences and the Humanities'

In this lecture series, aimed at master's students and PhD candidates,  participants reflect on the broad basis of the humanities and social sciences. The idea is to help them position their own research within these disciplines. The lecture series is intended to stimulate transregional and interdisciplinary dialogue, refecting the international nature of research.

The series of 17 lectures starts on 17 September; the deadline for registering is 8 September at 12.00 hrs. More information and how to register via LeidenGlobal.

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