On 5 July 2023, the BIP International Training Staff Week continued to explore the issues of inclusion and diversity from various perspectives. During the day, interactive workshops were held where experts, academics and practitioners shared experiences, programmes and policies related to the promotion of inclusion and diversity. The workshops focused on topics such as supported employment, disabilities, religious minorities, gender issues in STEM disciplines and international collaborations.
The workshop related to structures and policies at the partner institutions dealing with diversity started with a presentation by Nerea Arteagoitia and Marta Calvo from the University of Deusto, who shared the “University Extension Diploma in Supported Employment Training” offered programme for people with disabilities in the basque country. This initiative highlighted the importance of providing inclusive employment opportunities and support for people with disabilities.
The most important thing is to provide them with a university education at a high level
Sandrine Vieillevoye and Claire Monhonval, from the Université de Namur, presented the structures and policies implemented at UNamur and in French-speaking Belgium in relation to students with disabilities. Their presentation highlighted the importance of creating an inclusive and accessible environment for all students.
At the University of Namur our university structures and policies must be adapted to special needs
Lidia Fioravanti and Vanja Romlin from the Newman Institute offered a unique perspective in addressing the issue of being a religious minority in promoting diversity and inclusion. Their presentation highlighted the challenges and opportunities faced by religious minorities in different social and educational contexts.
Being a religious minority is something that requires freedom of expression
Nora Lemouzy, from the Institut Catholique d’Arts et Métiers (ICAM), presented on gender issues in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) disciplines. Her presentation explored the challenges and strategies for promoting gender equality in these areas, encouraging women’s participation and success in traditionally male-dominated fields.
By the age of 16 girls already consider boys more likely to show brilliance than their our gender
François-Xavier Fievez, Vice-Rector for Social and Student Affairs at the Université de Namur, presented on the integration of international students and the complexity of this process. In addition, Dominique Martens, Director of Lumen Vitae, shared how diversity can be used as a pedagogical tool in higher education.
In order to integrate all students as a whole, we must listen to their proposals and what they need so that we can always improve what we offer them
Diversity begins (…) by the university, through the inclusion of international students in an academic environment that promotes cultural richness and diversity.
Possibilities fro International collaborations, European Union instruments related to inclusion and diversity, such as the Erasmus programme and the Erasmus Mundus programme, were presented by Sonsoles Muñoz from Universidad Loyola and Nerea Arteagoitia and Marta Calvo from the University of Deusto shared examples and gave an overview of these initiatives.
The ERASMUS+ programme contains a larger participation with 10 million students around Europe, as well as a larger financial contribution from the EU than when it was created
During this day’s session participants could exchange their knowledge, experiences and good practices related to the promotion of inclusion and diversity in higher education. The workshops highlighted the importance of creating inclusive, accessible and equitable environments for all students, regardless of disability, gender or religion. In addition, the value of international collaborations and exchange programmes in building more inclusive and global societies was highlighted. The day left a strong impression on participants, inspiring them to continue working towards creating more just and equitable educational and social environments.