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Six Estonian universities celebrate Diversity Week together for the first time

The University of Tartu, Tallinn University of Technology, Tallinn University, the Estonian University of Life Sciences, the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre, the Estonian Academy of Arts, and the Gender Equality and Equal Treatment Commissioner celebrate the Diversity Week from 6 to 12 May, under the title “Diverse Estonian universities”. 

Different generations, nationalities and cultures work together at universities. At Estonian universities, there are students and teaching staff from nearly one hundred countries from Finland to Namibia. The strength of universities lies in the way how they harness the experiences and put them to work together for the benefit of research and innovation. Diversity Week is celebrated from 6 to 12 May to highlight the importance of diversity and value the different needs and equal treatment. 

“The role of universities in promoting diversity cannot be overestimated because of their huge impact on society as a whole. The environment in which future teachers, doctors or engineers learn, the attitudes and the collaborative experiences they bring with them will shape our societies in the decades to come,” said Christian Veske, the Gender Equality and Equal Treatment Commissioner. “The universities’ initiative to celebrate Diversity Week together shows that it is important for our higher education institutions to provide everyone with the conditions that help fulfil their true potential,” he added. 

The week starts with a video address by rectors of the six public universities, in which each rector explains the need for diversity and what their university is doing to promote and appreciate it. 

On Wednesday, 8 May, all interested are welcome to follow the discussion “Why is diversity important in academia?” on the universities’ social media channels, with panellists Raili Marling, Professor of English at the University of Tartu, Kadri Aavik, Associate Professor of Gender Studies at Tallinn University, Merle Ojasoo, Associate Professor of Management at Tallinn University of Technology, Tanja Muravskaja, Head of the Digital Printing Workshop at the Estonian Academy of Arts and artist, and Marko Lõhmus, Senior Lecturer in Cultural Management at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre. The discussion is moderated by Johannes Tralla. 

The equality commissioner’s social media channels and ETV2 will broadcast one short lecture on the topic on each day of Diversity Week. The talks are given by Christian Veske, the Gender Equality and Equal Treatment Commissioner, Aune Valk, Vice Rector for Academic Affairs at the University of Tartu, Brigitta Davidjants, Research Fellow at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre, Marge Monko, Professor at the Estonian Academy of Arts, Merle Ojasoo, Associate Professor at Tallinn University of Technology, and Triin Roosalu, Associate Professor of Sociology at Tallinn University. All the videos are also available on the equality commissioner’s YouTube channel

Celebrating Diversity Month in Estonia and Europe 
At the initiative of the Estonian Human Rights Centre, Diversity Day is celebrated on 8 May. This year, the focus is on the opportunities and complexities of cultural diversity in the workplace. Diversity Month goes hand in hand with the Cultural Diversity Year, which aims to draw attention to the importance of recognising and valuing different cultures. 

Check out the list of books on this topic compiled by the Estonian Human Rights Centre (in Estonian). Everyone is invited to test their knowledge in the Diversity Day quiz and to join colleagues in solving the bingo on two topics, culturally diverse work environment and cultural diversity

European Diversity Month focuses on respecting diversity and creating an inclusive working environment that follows the trends in the changing world of work.

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