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Una Europa Staff Week: Learning more about Diversity and Inclusion in Bologna

Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) are core values that are a focus for us as a university. But what developments are there in D&I and how can we apply these to our university? To delve deeper into this subject, four Leiden University staff members travelled to Bologna for a week of discussions on D&I with colleagues from other universities. The event – the Una Europa Staff Week – was organised by Una Europa, an alliance of 11 European research universities including Leiden University.

From left to right: Susanne Deen, Alexandra Blank, Aurelie van ‘t Slot, Ellis van Spanje

Alexandra Blank

‘It was great to spend a week with a diverse group of colleagues and learn from each other. That learning really took centre stage. There were lots of lectures and there was an opportunity to exchange knowledge with other colleagues during the working groups.

‘Keynote speaker Sarah Diedro Jordão inspired me with the term transformative approach to Diversity and Inclusion. A transformative approach involves working consistently at all levels of your organisation on your Diversity and Inclusion goals and vision, and ensuring that everyone knows why you are working so hard to achieve them.

‘This week has inspired me and made me even more aware of how working with D&I colleagues helps ensure the rapid spread of transformative D&I within universities.’

Aurelie van 't Slot

‘I really enjoyed the week in Bologna and learned loads. It was great to connect and exchange thoughts with so many people who are also working on D&I at their universities.

‘The week was well organised with a solid programme for the participants. Sarah Diedro Jordão’s keynote on the last day was particularly powerful and motivating. I’ve come away with plenty of new inspiration to get to work on the topic.

‘My main takeaway from the conference is that more collaboration with other Una Europa institutions will make it easier to create a D&I movement.’

Susanne Deen

‘It was great to see inside the walls of the University of Bologna! I thought the staff week really enjoyable but the main thing was that I learned a lot. I was inspired on many levels during the week, especially from conversations with colleagues.

‘The programme was well designed. I already knew some of the information but keynote speaker Sarah Diedro Jordão had a very interesting take on how to properly implement impactful D&I policies. Her story really inspired me and gave me new insights on how we can address D&I even better at Leiden University.

‘A quote that has stuck with me and really sums up the week for me was: “The work never ends and systems do not change unless the people who uphold them change and everyone is responsible for upholding the system.”’

Ellis van Spanje

‘It was super great to spend a week in Bologna with colleagues from Leiden University so we could brainstorm about this topic that is so important to all of us. There was more than enough time to network and exchange knowledge with colleagues from other universities during lunch and dinner.

‘The programme was well designed and I discovered during the sessions and working groups that we at Leiden University are already doing a lot in the area of D&I and that we should stick to this course.’

Get involved with Una Europa!

The alliance between the 11 European research universities gives students, researchers and lecturers new international collaboration and development opportunities. The Una Europa Staff Week takes place annually but there are other opportunities during the year to exchange knowledge with colleagues from other European universities.

Find out more on Leiden University’s Una Europa website and sign up for the newsletter to stay informed!

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