Festive closure of the DIS project during the Symposium ‘Diversity belongs to Everyone Together’

Festive closure of the DIS project during the Symposium ‘Diversity belongs to Everyone Together’

After a series of successful collaborative years involving more than 30 programs, the University of Utrecht concluded the Diversity in Enrollment and Selection (DIS) project on October 5, 2023. This symposium not only marked the end of the DIS project but also opened a significant chapter in further developments of DIS. 

The event took place in the beautiful Sonnenborgh building in the city center of Utrecht. This building is a good metaphor for the DIS project said Gönül Dilaver, one of the project leaders: ‘’You find your way to the gate from different directions, and once there, it's a pleasant place to be.’’ In the packed auditorium, professionals, students, and stakeholders have gathered to collectively reflect on achievements and future steps in the field of diversity in education. 

Keynote speaker Chiara Robbino: ‘We do not see things as they are, we see things as we are’. 

The symposium commenced with an opening by project leaders Leoniek Wijngaards and Gönül Dilaver, emphasizing the importance of diverse perspectives in education. After that, an inspiring keynote by Chiara Robbiano followed, in which she addressed the relevance of diversity in education: 'Because science requires dialogues and dialogues require diversity.' In her keynote, she illustrated various concepts such as 'disorientation.' Becoming disoriented often happens when different perspectives are present. And that's a good thing, says Chiara: ‘'Discomfort is making us move. We enter a world with multiple meanings. This insight seamlessly transitioned into the next concept — the process of 'decentring.' Chiara advocated for the art of distancing oneself from one's own perspective and centering the perspectives of others. This, she emphasized, is the key to creating a shared perspective, a collective lens through which we can look at the world. 

Reflection on the DIS project 

In the interactive sessions, participants had the opportunity to delve deeper into the implementation of DIS in practice. Topics such as fair selection, inclusive communication, and the role of self-selection were extensively discussed during several workshops. Theater group BINT presented an interactive theater show followed by a discussion of participants' experiences, sparking a beautiful and vulnerable conversation.  

Launch of the DIS working group 

The symposium concluded with a message from Diversity Dean John de Wit and the launch of the DIS working group, which will continue to remove obstacles in Intake and Selection for UU staff and students. During the reception, various participants shared their enthusiasm for the day and emphasized the importance of ongoing commitment to diversity. 

The DIS symposium was moderated by Gisela van der Velden and Bright Richards and organized by the EDI Office of Utrecht University.

Want to know more?  

  • If you want to have a look at our Knowledge database (work in progress) click here.
  • If you want to get in touch about the new working group, please contact Lysanne Eijlander 
  • If you want to find out more about Incluusion, check out the website here

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