NEW EVENT – FOCUS WEEK: Gender, Sexuality & Religion

Amsterdam United and AIM Diversty present an interdisciplinary debate and seminar on Gender, Sexuality and Religion in the Netherlands.
This event will be one of the three events in the UvA Focus Week 2017: Global Citizenship and Accountability.
Questions such as: how do Gender, Sexuality and Religion come into play in the culturalization of citizenship in the Netherlands? And how did homonationalism emerge in the Dutch politics? Will be answered during this event.

Our event will aim to scrutinize and deconstruct the ongoing and intensified political discourses about citizenship in the Netherlands in which the concepts of gender, sexuality and religion are entangled as well. How is the culturalization of citizenship normalized in the Netherlands and what notions are intensified during these processes? How do gender, sexuality and religion come into play?

Our speakers are:

Dr. Jan Willem Duyvendak – opening and keynote-lecturer
Dr. Jan Wllem Duyvendak is Distinguished Research Professor of Sociology at the University of Amsterdam. He wrote many things including ‘European Sexual Nationalisms: The Culturalization of Citizenship and the Sexual Politics of Belonging and Exclusion’.

Dr. Paul Mepschen – interactive lecturer
Dr. Paul Mepschen is lecturer in Social Anthropology at the Institute of Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology at Leiden University and postdoc at the University of Amsterdam. He teaches courses on religion, gender, politics and ethnographic methodology. He is currently working on a research project on the urban politics and historical anthropology of LGBTIQ pride, focusing on the sexual politics of ‘Europe’.


When? Thursday April 6th
Time? 6 pm – 9.30 pm
Where? CREA, Musicroom at Nieuwe Achtergracht 170, Amsterdam

The last part of the event will consist a discussion with our guestspeakers as our panel.
Join us for an inspiring event with discussion and we would love to hear your perspective about Gender, Sexuality and Religion in the Netherlands!


/focus week

Spotlight of the week: with Birkan

Name: Birkan Calik
Age: 26
Study: Alumni MA Middle East Studies

  1. How would you describe diversity?

Diversity is acknowledging each others unique point of view based on real life experiences as a valid input for a fertile conversation rather than expecting and accepting a norm based possibility only. Diversity is more listening to and less speaking on behalf of.

2. Where do you see diversity at the UvA, where do you think diversity should be?

We need more lecturers from other continents, more colour and curls. We need UvA to represent the eclectic character of the city itself. We need less monotoneous analyses and more subjective experiences because we are becoming more aware of inequalities and double standards in our personal lives. We don’t need someone to tell us how a dress looks, because we are more and more interested in how it feels when you put it on. The UvA, as many other Dutch educational institutions, needs to realize that not all dresses are one size fits all.


UvA and Amsterdam United have won a scholarship of 50.00!

The UvA and Amsterdam United have won a scholarship of 50.00 Euros to do research and develop a new course based on diversity!

Minister Bussemaker van OC&W reikte gister de Comenius Teaching Fellow-beurs van 50.000 euro uit voor het project van Inti Soenterik, Fadie Hanna, docenten van de Universitaire Pabo, in samenwerking met onze voorzitter van Amsterdam United, Tugba Öztemir.

Wij zijn ontzettend trots op Tugba, Inti en Fadie!
De beurs is binnengehaald voor het vierdejaars vak diversiteit op de Universitaire Pabo van Amsterdam.




The UvA walls contain an almost “all white gender male quotes”. What do students want? What does diversity on UvA walls mean? Last tuesday Amsterdam United, UvA Sociaal and a big amount of social science UvA staff launched their UvA quote-unquote day!Students bring in your ideas and quotes to make the UvA and the UvA walls more inclusive!

Send us an email if you have quotes you would like to see or for other ideas: or reply in the comments section!

Quote 1 Quote 2 Quote 3

Bedankt President Trump!

Written by: Yasmina El Ouardani

Je kunt je afvragen hoe in vredesnaam kan dat u, anno 2017, president bent geworden.
Ik moet er helaas toch elke weer om lachen, of huilen. Ja, dat laatste vraag ik mij ook af.
Zeker als ik in de ochtend het nieuws lees en er achter kom welk decreet u nou weer heeft getekend of wilt tekenen.
Verdrietig word ik er van, én moedeloos.
Zo werd ik wakker met het bericht dat u mensen afkomstig uit zeven moslimlanden de toegang tot de VS ontzegt.
Uiteraard zijn dit niet de landen waar u financiële belangen hebt. Dat kunt u dan weer niet riskeren.
Kennelijk gaat het financiële belang voor op menselijk belang.
Het laatste bent u in elk geval even uit het oog verloren. Ik zeg even omdat ik hoop dat dit een fase is die overgaat.

Dat u en feiten moeilijk samengaan dat had ik al door.
Toch wil ik u er op wijzen dat niet jihadisme maar wapenwetgeving de grootste oorzaak is van het aantal doden in uw land.
Dat probleem zou u eens moeten aanpakken.
En dan heb ik het niet eens gehad over uw andere plannen met betrekking tot abortuswetgeving.

Ondanks alles vind ik toch dat er reden is voor optimisme. Uw optreden tot nu toe heeft een enorm effect gehad, niet alleen in de VS maar ook hier in Nederland. Ik ben daar blij mee en ik zal u eens vertellen waarom.
Moslims, allochtonen, vluchtelingen en andere minderheidsgroepen zijn dagelijks onderwerp van gesprek.
Helaas vaker negatief dan positief.
Toch weet u iets voor elkaar te krijgen. Iets wat we hier in Nederland goed kunnen gebruiken.
U weet namelijk de hele wereld bijeen te krijgen, zo ook de Nederlandse samenleving.
Het saamhorigheidsgevoel ontwikkelt zich sterker dan ooit te voren.
En dat, president Trump, is het allermooiste dat ik ooit heb gezien!


Spotlight of the week: with Jessy

Name: Jessy
Age: 20
Study: Bsc. Human Geography

1. How would you describe diversity in general?
For me, diversity means accepting and respecting our differences. Every person is unique and we can’t neglect this. We must be able to engage in a safe and understanding conversation, get different perspectives and broaden our view.

2. Where do you see diversity at the UvA, where do you think diversity should be improved?
I think the UvA is diverse in the way that there are people from all over the world. If you walk around you will see a lot of exchange students from China and United States. Although there are a lot of international students, the majority of the students at the UvA are white. I also believe that most of the professors have a Dutch or European background. The literature I read for Human Geography is also mostly written by ‘Western’ authors.

In order to create less Eurocentric perspectives, I think more professors from non-European countries should be invited to give lectures at the UvA. Also, in my opinion there should be more students with different backgrounds, I understand that this is easier said than done. But being conscious about this issues is a good first step. Organizations like Amsterdam United create awareness around this subject.

Spotlight of the week: with Daniel

Name: Daniel
Age: 23
Study: Bachelor Law

1. How would you describe diversity in general?
Diversity, for me, means equal opportunity for everybody. It means that every person, no matter their background, can do what they want to do. It also stands for a positive factor in society. To learn from others about their culture, their way of life, their process of mind, is a great advantage for everybody in society. It creates more understanding, more empathy for one another.

2. Where do you see diversity at the UvA, where do you think diversity should be improved?
The UvA has always been considered a predominantly ‘white’ school, compared to the VU. Therefore it is great to have initiatives like Amsterdam United, to promote diversity. There needs to be a change of culture at the UvA and that is exactly what Amsterdam United is trying to promote. The UvA has a very diverse curriculum, but that is sadly about to change in the near future. My fear is that a lot will be lost if the UvA goes in the direction it is heading now. As the UvA is more concerned with profit than it has been in earlier times, a lot of curriculum that is deemed not profitable enough will be canceled. I think having a lot of different, smaller courses would greatly promote diverse thinking. I think a university’s main motivator should be education, and not profit.

Spotlight of the week: with Anna

Name: Anna Luiken
Age: 25
Study: English literature

1. How would you describe diversity in general?
Diversity is about a wide variety of people. Of course this includes people with different ethnic backgrounds, religious beliefs, gender, and sexual preference. But also difference in ‘class’ (although I don’t like that word) as well as physical and mental abilities.

2. Where do you see diversity at the UvA, where do you think diversity should be improved?
The UvA is now lucky to have a student initiative like Amsterdam United to point out where diversity still lacks. I would like to see more diversity in the classroom for instance regarding the curriculum. This way I can get exposed to different perspectives and different topics, as opposed to almost exclusively being educated on established western authors and philosophers. I also think it would be great if the UvA could attract more international students. I belief this could be a great impulse for classroom discussions since they will bring different perspectives from which everyone can learn and benefit.

Reflections of a young Nigerian man on ‘Black Identity’

Written by: Seun B. Adebayo 

I was born in Nigeria and having spent all my life in Nigeria, a whole new experience began for me in 2015, when for the first time, I got into an airplane travelling to Europe to study at a  Master’s programme that will entail me studying in at least 3 universities and countries for the next 2 years, including the University of Amsterdam. This was a remarkable journey for me, and the first reflection I had in the course of my study in Europe was on how I have become more conscious of the ‘black’ identity, institutionally and socially, than while I was in Nigeria. I remember sharing with a colleague of how coming to Europe has made me realized others’ strong identification of me with the ‘black’ identity.

I recount that back in Nigeria, we rarely discuss or identify with the ‘black’ identity, we see ourselves as Nigerians or by our tribal affiliations. However, I have come to understand that the way others (e.g. the Westerns) perceive us is stronger and influential than we do. This realization made me understand why I grew up with the consciousness of my race, ethnic origin and affiliation, and how my identity is perceived in other parts of the world. The fact that my ancestors were forcefully taken as slaves by some ‘foreigners’ is concerning. The knowledge that these ‘foreigners’ exploited and colonized my people and land, is ever more saddening. This prejudice has birthed the harsh realities of a world laden with inequalities, discrimination, and apartheid against people with similar history and background by these ‘foreigners’ who had no ‘right’ in the first place to act so. In addition, it is quite an unfortunate reality that the nation I call my country, Nigeria, was actually an amalgamation of ‘different’ people by such ‘foreign impositions’, which was motivated by what I perceived as selfish interests of the ‘foreigners’. Till this moment, these past foreign actions are still a threat and distortion to the unity of my ‘sovereign’ country.

In the Nigerian context, being from the Southwestern part of the country and hailing from the Yoruba ethnic group precisely, I have grown up with the awareness that I am from a tribe different from other ethnic groups in Nigeria. Nigeria, my country, was formed and colonized by the British (Colonial Masters) to serve their own purposes. After independence in 1960, the country the British left behind had to contend with the issues of ethnicity, minority, social contract, and till date, some groups still agitate to secede from the Nigerian state.

Consequently, I have become conscious of how the ‘foreigners’ who I believe have done more harm than good identify with people of similar background.

From the foregoing, I write this essay with the feeling that the world is going in a cycle with the issues associated with Race and Ethnicity. The truth is not being told as it is! Who has the right to conceptualize and define identities? For whose interests are these conceptualizations and definitions of identities made? These are questions we should strive to answer objectively and critically in our present world. At some point, I got really interested in different identities that exist in the world. I read some history books, materials and articles on the internet. And I discovered that the conceptualizations and definitions of many identities were done by people that had no legitimate right to do so in the first place. In fact, people whose identities were defined by others were not consulted when their identities were defined. Likewise, the conceptualization of identities are not value  or interest neutral. This I believe has contributed immensely to social constructions that we have in the world today.

From literature (academic articles, reports, textbooks etc.), I observed how distortions of present realities, truth and history are justified. Recently, I read about how a young student in the United States, observed in a geography textbook that had a chapter on slave trade and immigration, the textbook identified that “the Atlantic Slave Trade between 1500s and 1800s brought millions of workers from Africa to the southern United States to work on agricultural plantations”. This is a biased history education, it is obvious that they were forcefully brought as ‘slaves’ and not ‘workers’.

This writing has made me reflect on how I have been coerced to accept my ‘identity’ and conceptions of Race and Ethnicity. While I was in Amsterdam, I walked into a grocery store to get some food items. As I got into the store, I noticed that the storekeeper started trailing me even with the presence of CCTV cameras. I felt really sad, because the storekeeper might have thought that I was going to steal or lift items. I asked myself, why? I responded, because I am perceived as ‘black’, and the society I find myself sees me that way too. It was even more shocking to me when I unconsciously began losing trust and having fear of others labelled as ‘blacks’, and how I willingly  wanted to be associated with people labelled as ‘whites’.

From the above reflection, I discovered that I have been consciously trained through socialization, schooling and education to accept my identity. People of my color are referred to as ‘Blacks’; and primarily through training, I have realized that the color ‘black’ has characteristics associated with evil and negative connotations, such as death, disease, ugly, fear, poverty and darkness. While, the ‘foreigners’ are referred to as ‘Whites’, the color which is primarily associated with good and positive connotations. However, judging from history, I think the reverse should have been the case. Researching through the Nigerian cultures, I am yet to find a Nigerian culture where ‘black’ has positive connotations. I recently spoke to a friend from the Kpelle tribal group in Liberia about these issues  and I asked if there was any culture in Liberia where ‘black’ signifies anything good or positive, he replied that there was none that he knows of. I further asked what ‘white’ symbolizes in his culture. He responded that ‘white’ represents love, purity, warmth and reception in his culture.

Looking forward, I believe that the issues of Race and Ethnicity will continue except we critically question systems and institutions that promote stereotyping, conceptualization and definitional identities, and what prompts external interests. Furthermore, the truth should be told as it is, this will generate the processes to real freedom, equity, and then we can have a future with fewer challenges on Race and Ethnicity.





Dear all,

To give our members a bigger platform we created something new. If you would like to see your essay or column published on our website and on our Facebook you can submit it to:
We will give you the platform!

The topic is up to you.
Amsterdam United Writers Block.
Submit your essay or column and reach an audience!

Submit your essay