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On December 14, 2023, the five Flemish universities (University of Antwerp, VUB, Ghent University, Hasselt University, and KU Leuven) have jointly expressed their commitment to further focus on inclusion and ethno-cultural diversity at their institutions within education, student affairs, human resources and research. The commitment package consists of a joint statement and a detailed document with theoretical foundation and practical examples (both in Dutch).This undertaking was supported by the Young Academy of Belgium (JA), an independent inter-university and interdisciplinary forum for young top researchers and artists, the Diversity and Social Policy working group of the Flemish Interuniversity Council (VLIR) with participation of the Flemish Association of Students (VVS) to improve policy and practice to further support diversity and inclusion in the Flemish universities with scientific substantiation and inspiring evidence-based examples.
Experts and policymakers from the five Flemish universities affiliated with the VLIR, JA, and VVS have completed a two-year consultation process with representatives of various important stakeholders (e.g., student organisations, the Scientific Research Fund (FWO), VLIR working groups, Strategic Research Centers, etc.). Each of the Flemish universities has a policy and practice on diversity and inclusion, which is implemented throughout the academic community. A detailed document with theoretical foundation and practical examples covers four thematic areas (education, student affairs, human resources and research), outlining further steps necessary to advance the inclusion and diversity agenda in each of them, including mainstreaming of practices and monitoring of progress.