Panel discussion

Six faculty board members and diversity experts from Leiden University talk about what diversity means to them and to their faculty.


“At our faculty we have a growing number of international students and a diversity officer. She has a working programme that we discuss regularly. Thinking about how the diversity of the students and staff can be improved is something we’re always working on.”


Ann Brysbaert, Faculty Board, Faculty of Archaeology


“There is still a lot of work to do in our faculty when it comes to gender. We have already doubled the number of female students in physics; for the first time in our two-hundred-year existence more than a quarter of the physics students are female. But that’s not enough. We want to be the best science faculty in the country in terms of equality of gender. The university should be a place where all of us feel at home.”


Geert de Snoo, Dean of the Science Faculty


“If you want to make diversity real, there are a number of steps you need to take. That’s what I appreciate in our faculty: we have a diversity team, a diversity coordinator and mentoring programmes. As a lecturer I get to take a look behind the scenes of the university, and it’s very rewarding to see so many people working hard on taking structural steps towards diversity.”


Aya Ezawa, Lecturer in Japanese Studies, Humanities Faculty


“I think diversity is a process, a long process in which we need patience. We are moving forward, but it’s not always easy. Sometimes policy helps us forward and at other times progress happens more by chance. For instance, as a result of launching our new international master’s programmes, we gained a lot more international students.”


Joanne van der Leun, Dean of the Law Faculty

“Diversity is not only about people of colour, or about females. Nor is it only about people with disabilities or about the LGBT community. Diversity and inclusiveness are about you. They are about appreciating all the qualities that come with being diverse. They are about embracing the attitude and the cultural identity that come with diversity. It’s not a matter of changing, but celebrating.”

Sarita Bajnath, Moderator

“Often, students from multicultural backgrounds have come a long way before they enter the university. There has been a change of perspective because we no longer see that as a problem; we see it as an exciting challenge. It is important for the university to think about those things we all have in common. We have to ask ourselves: what do we stand for and what are our values?”


Janita Ravesloot, Policy Adviser Education & Diversity, Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences


“Diversity is a fact. It’s about being aware of each other’s differences and the different stories we all have. However, while we are talking about obstacles, I’d like to mention one. If we are defining diversity and inclusion by attaching new labels and pointing out minorities, it’s all too easy to exclude others. That’s the difficulty with making an inclusive policy. How do you address people not as particular groups, but as individuals?”


Johannes Magliano-Tromp, Faculty Board, Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs

Discover the world at Leiden University