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Debate: Inclusive Leadership, how to maximize the diverse talent

Why do international companies around The Hague have only 6% ethnic minorities as employees, even when the business case proves that diversity adds value? On Tuesday 13 March in The Hague, Wijnhaven, the University’s Diversity Office and the Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs organised the first debate in a series on Diversity and Inclusion.

What does Inclusive Leadership mean? Which personal and institutional transformations are necessary to create inclusive organizations, including universities?

For an audience of 80 students, staff members, alumni and professionals Judi Mesman, Dean of Leiden University College The Hague, pointed out in her introduction that gender and race bias often starts before leadership, by children’s social reproduction of their parents implicit and explicit biases.

Kamran Ullah, moderator of the debate, quoted Aart Jan de Geus, former state secretary, who said in 2003 that the emancipation was completed. Dr. Mischa Thompson, Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the U.S Helsinki Commission, characterised efforts of the Commisson’s political leadership to advance policies toward more diversity within the CIA, the diplomatic world and the armed services to better reflect the communities they serve. She emphasized transatlantic exchanges that have sought to commit other Western democracies to similar practices. 

Alex Johnson, senior policy advisor for Europe and Eurasia at the Open Society Foundations in Washington D.C., appealed to students, the 21st century inclusive leaders, to create institutional transformation in their university by generating access for others, securing commitment from leadership for durable change, and seeking reinforcement from the community.

Diversity as research object

In the following debate, in which also Lora Berg, Senior Resident Fellow Transatlantic Leadership Initiatives, German Marshall Fund of the United States and Judi Mesman took part, questions were debated from researchers and alumni about diversity as research object. For example, discussions explored integrating governance research on Africa throughout other departments rather than only separated in the Africa Institute. The students were advised to claim their role as inclusive leaders, seek mentorship, and develop community coalitions as strategies to create a more empowered student body.

Isabel Hoving, University’s Diversity Officer, closed this inspiring debate with a commitment to support student goals and convene future events.

Alex Johnson, senior policy advisor for Europe and Eurasia at the Open Society Foundations in Washington D.C.
The audience; students, staff members, alumni and professionals
Judi Mesman, Dean of Leiden University College The Hague
Mischa Thompson, Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the U.S Helsinki Commission

Header: 

- Lora Berg, Senior Resident Fellow Transatlantic Leadership Initiatives, German Marshall Fund of the United States

- Alex Johnson, senior policy advisor for Europe and Eurasia at the Open Society Foundations in Washington D.C.

- Dr. Mischa Thompson, Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the U.S Helsinki Commission

- Judi Mesman, Dean of Leiden University College The Hague

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