VUA goes international in diversity was already realized in 2007, with our ‘first contact’ with UCLA. By the way, did you know that Star Trek’s Captain Jean Luc Picard started his career during an audience at UCLA, and later became Chancellor at the University of Huddersfield UK?
Since 2008, one year later, a warm and productive collaboration was set up with staff and management of the Academic Advancement Program of UCLA (AAP). Many of them I would like to call friends at the moment: Charles, Santi, Abel, Alfred to name a few. And the new generation, for example Fatiha and the exchange students from our four years first generation student exchange program!
There are other international partners in diversity I should mention, for example the University of Minnesota. The TRIO program of this university offers interesting and inspiring possibilities of working together and take advantage of good practices developed in Minnesota and Amsterdam. This collaboration is work in progress …
And then there are our friends and colleagues in South-Africa! Andre, Dionne and Jonathan at UFS, Celeste and many others at Stellenbosch, and last but not least the hard work of diversity practitioners and researchers at NWU, one of the ‘Fusion’ universities of SA.
Near our own boarder there are some interesting possibilities and opportunities to share good practices with, for example with the University of Gent in its Community Service Program.
One of the initiatives of our international endeavors which became quite controversial was a diversity trip to universities in the Palestinian Territories and Israel. This illustrates that an university is part of the complex international reality, and the discussion about the role of universities in society and politics is more urgent then it was in the past.
A positive development at VUA is that there is a win-win collaboration between our diversity programs and our internationalization policy and program. In my next post more about the challenges of going international.