Review webinar Vincent Merk (06-01) From diversity & inclusion to wellbeing: the D.I.V.E.R.S.I.T.Y. approach

In Home by Friso

 “Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance, and belonging is feeling safe and (self) – confident to ask the DJ to play your favorite song, knowing it will also please the other dancers.”  V. Merk

The new year had started with a webinar that was held on January 6th and led by the interculturalist Vincent Merk. The renowned topic on Diversity and Inclusion was enriched with the concepts of Belonging and Well-being. The correlation between the terms fosters a safe environment for people who are adapting to a new setting. 

The presented approach was designed in a creative manner where nine areas of interest correspond to a letter of the acronym D.I.V.E.R.S.I.T.Y, based on and beginning with Diversity. The presentation is adjusted to the current situation concerning Covid-19.

Vincent discusses the meaning and nature of diversity and provides examples of its visible and hidden aspects. Diversity is seen as a starting point where we need to make choices and take action in order to put the pieces together and create inclusion.

The approach continues with the definition of Intercultural or Culture. It focuses on the value of intercultural competence based on the actions we take to create inclusion.

Moving on to Vision at a personal level the presenter provides clarity on how vision creates inclusion. Two types of inclusion are distinguished – cognitive and self- inclusion

The aspect Environment is regarded as the natural and social surroundings we inhabit. Thoroughgoing reflection on the attitude and the points discussed, answers many relevant questions.

Reflection happens at an individual and a group level. The moments we spend on reflection could prevent culture shock and enhance personal and collective wellbeing. It is a process of building self-reflection, confidence, and sharing.

Going further with Study, it refers to the adaptation of new styles in teaching and learning in a new environment.  Aspects such as online learning, social distance, and loneliness are taken into consideration.

Inclusion is all „about feeling self-confident, physically free, emotionally recognized and appreciated, mentally accepted, and psychologically safe!” The potential risks in the current Covid-19 times are addressed accordingly.

Testing starts with awareness and it is related to the daily progress and assessment on adaptation to the new environment.

The approach ends with You as an essential part of the process. The presenter goes deeper into the sense of belonging and asks the question – to belong or to belonging? Belonging is a supplementary aspect to diversity and inclusion and all of them lead to the ultimate goal – Well-being.

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