The University of Essex was delighted to recently welcome colleagues from across the YUFE alliance who are working together on the partnership’s equity, diversity and inclusivity mission.

During the three-day conference there were lively and thought-provoking discussions on many topics including tackling racism, diversity monitoring and pregnancy endings in the workplace.

Organiser Karen Bush, YUFE’s Essex-based Strategic Lead for Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity, said the event highlighted a key theme for their work in the year ahead – courage.

“As we navigate our way through trying to bring ten institutions from ten different European countries closer together in terms of the way we approach our equity, diversity, and inclusivity work, I was inspired by one theme that came through very clearly during these meetings – the need to be courageous,” she explained.

“We need to have the courage to have difficult conversations, to have the courage to intervene when we witness or experience inappropriate behaviour and to have the courage to say ‘I was wrong’.

“We identified being courageous as a key enabler in us creating more inclusive environments for all and is something we will continue to work on as we move into 2024.”

Sandra Nuždić, from the University of Rijeka, added: “Participating in the YUFE meeting in Essex was both a privilege and a pleasure. In addition to working on topics of equity, diversity, and inclusivity, and thinking about our readiness to welcome, support and provide a meaningful educational experience to our students, it is truly inspiring to work with such a supportive group of people.”

The event was also an opportunity to showcase Essex’s enthusiasm for being part of a European University Alliance, with one participant saying they “travelled home inspired as Essex breathes Europe in all that they do. It was truly wonderful to see”.