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Diversity & Inclusion Career Session

Thursday 15 June 2023

Diversity and inclusion are important themes on the job market. During the Diversity and Inclusion Career Session we would like to address these themes whilst talking about the current (developments on the) job market. Experts with different roles and backgrounds will share their experiences and tips on the application and matching process for internships and jobs and we will discuss some of the challenges that students and recent graduates with any kind of threshold to the job market can experience.

The event will be held in English and is open to all students and recent graduates of Leiden University. There will be ample room for questions.


  • Introduction by Career Services and moderator Leonor Albuquerque
  • Opening words by Sophie Jeckmans
  • Panel:
    - Melvin Tjoe Nij
    - Arthur Kibbelaar
    - Sophie Jeckmans
  • Closing words

Career Services aims for sustainable employability and happiness in work and does this amongst others by striving for inclusive guidance for all students and recent graduates on study choice and career questions. If you have any specific questions or needs for being able to join or attend this career event, please let us know (via the registration form or email careerservices@sea.leidenuniv.nl).
Diversity and inclusion are core values of Leiden University. Leiden University is committed to becoming an inclusive community which enables all students and staff to feel valued and respected and to develop their full potential.


Leonor (she/her) is a young disabled woman, an educator, and a disabled rights advocate. She is originally from Portugal and moved to The Netherlands at the age of 18 to study at Leiden University. She is a humanities student and focuses on Disability Studies in her academic and non-profit work. She is active in her student community, having created a space for her disabled and chronically ill peers. She has extensive experience with non-formal education, having developed a workshop for highschool students across Europe on the topic of disability. She is an active member of the NGO European Youth Parliament, where she is chair of the Safe Core Team, the body tasked with all matters connected to participant safety, welfare, and wellbeing, as well as misconduct in the network.


Sophie Jeckmans underwent a social transition in 2017 while working at ING to find her true gender identity. Even though she didn't want to make a big deal out of it, she noticed her story inspired people. In 2020 she got into contact with Workplace Pride and since joined this foundation as a board member and community lead for the trans+@Workplace Pride community. She's driven by her purpose to foster spaces where everyone can be fully themselves at ease. She once was asked "You're standing in the spotlight, but you don't want to be. Isn't that ironic?" It is, but if me standing in the spotlight means someone else can live their lives without having said spotlight, it's worth it. She mainly speaks out of own lived experience, but has stories from others as well. These stories are the foundation to talk about topics as intersectionality, psychological safetey and allyship." 

Born in Amsterdam, lived in Suriname, a networker pur sang. Whilst being the owner of a financial consultancy firm, Melvin became aware in networking of the fact that he was not part of a very diverse population and reacted by founding The Other Network (TON) in 2004. TON aimed for more visibility of the advantages of cultural diversity in Dutch businesses. Soon after this Melvin founded Young Global People.

Global People is the biggest online community for multicultural talent in the Netherlands. The platform aims for the connection between business, multicultural student associations and highly educated candidates for vacancies, events and sharing knowledge and skills. In both initiatives unifying multicultural Netherlands is the central aim. His favorite motto is “United we stand, divided we fall!” and all his work contributes to this.

My professional career in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs over 20 years has predominantly been in international affairs and diplomacy representing the Kingdom of the Netherlands in different capacities. 
Subsequently I have also been employed as the Director of Foreign Relations of the Government of Curacao and worked as the Political Advisor to the Force Commander in the United Nations Peacekeeping operation in Mali (MINUSMA). Currently I am the Strategic Advisor of Diversity and Inclusion at the MFA.

I have had a broad range of international diplomatic engagements. I worked over three continents: Europe, Africa, and The Americas. 
The additional areas of focus in my career next to the political and multilateral policy are culture and development. These experiences have shaped and expanded my scope and were at best intertwined. 
In addition of my diplomatic career it has been crucial for me to remain connected with the civil society conversations on the human condition in the world. I have actively contributed to debates and conversations on matters of the arts & culture, security & development, colonialism, LGBTQ,  racism, slavery and cultural diversity.

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