BIP DAY I – Promoting Inclusion and Diversity: Reflections from the BIP Inclusion and Diversity International Training Staff Week in Namur, Belgium

On 3 July 2023, the BIP Inclusion and Diversity conference in Namur, Belgium, continued to provide an enriching space for dialogue and reflection on promoting inclusion and diversity. Experts, academics and committed practitioners gathered to share experiences, research and perspectives on how to build more inclusive and equitable societies. The day’s programme included a series of keynote speakers, expert presentations and moments of exchange that addressed various dimensions of inclusion and diversity.

The conference began with a general opening by Jeroen Darquennes, PhD, Vice-Rector for International Relations at UNamur, and Susana Di Trolio, PhD, Executive Secretary of the Kircher Network. Both highlighted the importance of promoting inclusion and diversity in academia and beyond and welcomed participants to this day of learning and exchange.


The morning was marked by two keynote lectures from renowned experts in the field of inclusion and diversity.

Ulf Jonsson, SJ, PhD, Professor at the Newman Institute, presented a lecture entitled “Who should be included where with what kinds of diversities?” in which he explored the complexities and challenges of defining and promoting inclusion in diverse societies.

Ulf Jonsson, SJ, PhD

Inclusion is a better perspective that fosters a belief in others, in equality, and in the need to be inclusive.

Laura Rizzerio, PhD, Professor at the University of Namur, presented the lecture “Accepting vulnerability and inclusion, or performance and autonomy: how to build a ‘sustainable’ education (or society)”. Rizzerio reflected on educational models that promote inclusion and autonomy, and how they can coexist for the benefit of a more equitable society.

Laura Rizzerio, PhD

Acceptance of vulnerability remains problematic because it is often identified with the negative side of autonomy and thus an obstacle to self-fulfilment.

The afternoon began with a presentation by Virginie Martins de Nobrega, international consultant and founder of Creative Resolutions. In her presentation, entitled “How to continue to support world peace in international affairs by embracing diversity in its richness”, Martins de Nobrega highlighted the importance of our perception of the world and the daily choices we make to build bridges to peace and mutual understanding.

Virginie Martins de Nobrega

Every single person belonging or not to minority groups must be included in a safe, tolerant and free environment in terms of inclusion and diversity

This was followed by a series of presentations from International Relations Officers, who shared their experiences and efforts in promoting inclusion and diversity. Mayte Lara De Haro from Universidad Loyola Andalucía in Spain, Nerea Arteagoitia and Marta Calvo from Universidad de Deusto in Spain, Carla Edde from Université Saint Joseph in Lebanon, Nora Lemouzy from Institut Catholique d’Arts et Métiers (ICAM) in France, Carla Pinto Cardoso from Faculdade de Filosofia e Ciências Sociais, Universidade Católica Portuguesa in Portugal, Lidia Fioravanti from the Newman Institute in Sweden, Krzysztof Biel from the Jesuit University Ignatianum – Kraków in Poland, Isabella Fontana from the Université de Namur in Belgium and Armando Borja from Jesuit Worldwide Learning (JWL) in Switzerland. Each presentation highlighted internationalisation efforts and cooperation in solidarity projects, as well as the implementation of innovative pedagogical methods and the use of technologies for inclusion and support to marginalised and vulnerable communities.

Marta and Nerea from University of Deusto

BIP Participants

To sum up, during the first sessions diversity was celebrated as an asset in the pursuit of world peace and sustainable development. The universities’ efforts and shared experiences showed how service, solidarity and learning can contribute to building a more just and compassionate world. The conference left a lasting impression and reminded all participants that everyone has an important role to play in promoting inclusion and diversity in their respective fields and communities.

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