DO Group hosts Dutch political discussion
On Thursday, 2 March, the Diversity Outreach (DO) student group invited representatives from various Dutch political parties to AUC to discuss party stances on important issues in the national elections on 15 March. In all, nearly 150 students attended the event.
Dutch politics discussed in English
Titled “Dutch elections at AUC: ask, discuss, and get informed!”, the DO Group felt that engaging in politics and current affairs is an important aspect of good citizenship. In light of the upcoming Dutch national elections, the DO Group realised that very little information about the stances and views of the Dutch political parties is made available in English. Given that nearly half of AUC students come from abroad, the DO Group wanted to create an event that would not only shed light on the issues at play in the Netherlands, but also offer a platform where international students could learn more about the Dutch political landscape. Although fewer in number, the DO Group also wanted to reach out to international students who also have a Dutch passport and encourage them to make an informed decision when going to the polls on 15 March.
Discussion as an exercise in respect
Of importance to the event was that it remained a discussion and not a debate. The representatives of the political parties were invited not to debate each other’s viewpoints, but rather to explain them to the audience and field questions from students and attendees. The DO Group specifically framed their event as an exercise in respect towards diverse political standpoints, while promoting agency, civil responsibility, critical thinking and participatory leadership. The discussion that occurred was a reflection of the current political climate in the Netherlands, with major talking points including migration and refugees, sustainability and the future of renewable energy sources, and increasing social stratification. While discussed in a Dutch context, these same issues will also be major factors in the wider European context, especially considering the upcoming French and German elections.
Enthusiastic response from political parties
Beginning as a small scale event, the DO Group quickly found that many political parties were interested in attending. All political parties involved in the upcoming elections were invited to the discussion, and in total 10 sent representatives (names of parties and representatives listed below).
- CDA - Rogier Havelaar
- GroenLinks - Suzanne Kröger
- Lokaal in de Kamer – Denise Kunst
- Ondernemerspartij - Hero Brinkman
- Piratenpartij - Rico Brouwer
- PvdA - Marit Maij
- SP - Nicole Temmink
- Stem LP - Robert Valentine
- Vrijzinnige Partij - Norbert Klein
- VVD - Lars Benthin
Thank you to the Diversity Outreach Group
The Diversity Outreach Group facilitates critical and constructive discussions about diversity, outreach and decolonisation at AUC in order to improve the community and the communities surrounding AUC. They offer a place to share experiences and initiate/help fellow students in realising projects related to making their community a more inclusive place. The group meets regularly with AUC Outreach Coordinator Dr. Anne de Graaf to discuss issues related to identity, diversity of ideas and opinions, socio-economic inequality, race and gender, sexuality and (dis)abilities. AUC would especially like to thank AUC Student and Co-chair of the AUC Student Council Sofija Stefanovic for moderating the discussion and the DO Group for organising such an informative event.
For those interested in joining or learning more about their activities, the DO Group will be meeting again on Thursday, 23 March from 12.30-13.30 in the Upper Common Room of the AUC building.