March 10, 2011

For a society that seems so open and multi-cultural - at least it did to me when I arrived here some 10 years ago - there is certainly a lot of discussion about subcultures, racial minorities and injustice here in Holland. One of the strongest claims is that children of immigrants (and they mean from non-Western cultures) have a disadvantage in this society.  Um, what is Western? West of what exactly?

In my classes there is a large mix of students from a variety of backgrounds - and the same can be said for the teachers. Yet, especially in the first year classes, I often see groups of students from seemingly similar backgrounds sitting together. And I wonder how they (and we) will learn about intercultural sensitivity if we never choose to work in project groups with people who are less like ourselves?

I too, as an immigrant from Israel, (although USA born), feel often more affiliated with the 'immigrants' than with the Dutch natives. But how do they see me? Are we all judged by our skin color? Or country of origin?

So, it was with great joy that I discovered this invite to a workshop on diversity and youth - and I'd love to share it with you. Sadly, it's held on the day of our yearly Market Fair (for 1st year students). However, other students could go - or 1st year students could go to the afternoon session perhaps.

The workshop given by the John Adams institute in Amsterdam - March 23rd.
"Everybody Works!
A workshop on diversity, youth and jobs

Does society judge you by your skin color? How are minority youth supposed to get ahead? The Dutch Central Bureau for Statistics recently released a report showing that integration of Turkish, Moroccan, Surinamese and Antillean youth into Dutch society is actually succeeding. In fact, “foreign” girls in Dutch high schools now have higher startkwalificatie (diploma scores) than “native” boys. And yet some politicians in both Europe and the United States seem to think that immigrants and minorities present a major societal problem. Which picture is true?" to read more - go to this link: John Adams Institute .

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