The AUAS took part in Diversity Day

'It is precisely by recognising that we are all different that we can promote inclusion.'

5 Oct 2022 15:23 | Communication

During the 'Let's Talk' event, presented by Eva Eikhout, Professor of Practice of Diversity and Inclusion at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS) Abdelhamid Idrissi told students and staff about his first 100 days at the AUAS. How did he experience this time and what is his focus for the coming years?

After his talk, students and staff discussed diversity and inclusion with experts from the AUAS and talked about issues such as what to do when an ‘us vs them’ mindset invades the classroom and how to ensure that students feel safe enough to voice their opinions. Other topics included what does decolonisation mean, what opportunities does it offer for education and how to make sure everyone sees themselves reflected in text and image. During the Let's Talk event, students and staff gained a greater understanding of these issues.

Entrepreneurship lecturer and U!REKA (AUAS’s network of European universities of applies sciences, the Urban Research and Education Knowledge Alliance) coordinator Dymphna Snijders Blok led the 'opportunity inequality' discussion table. Using the IQ110 'A particularly unfair game' (Dutch information) that she developed with other lecturers, Dymphna discussed with students and staff what they can do to promote opportunity equality within their own sphere of influence. She says: "Diversity, inclusion and opportunity inequality are fortunately gaining more and more attention at the AUAS and beyond. I notice that, each time we pay attention to these topics, we gain new perspectives. That makes the whole subject fun to explore, but sometimes also difficult. We need patience to become comfortable with the complexity of diversity. Yet all the steps, conversations, thoughts, friction, despondency and energy contribute to change. Diversity Day helps us to take more and more steps forward together."

The afternoon was concluded by AUAS Executive Board Chair Jopie Nooren who says: "On Diversity Day, we show that, when people from different backgrounds and with different characteristics genuinely listen to each other and work together, this makes us stronger. At a time when polarisation is increasing and people are increasingly in opposition with each other, it is important to keep striving for connection. It is precisely by acknowledging that we are all different that we can promote inclusion. Together, on this special day, we are taking a step in the right direction: towards being a university of applied sciences where everyone feels at home and valued."