Dear reader,

Introduction IMAU newsletter March 2024

On January 10th, IMAU employees kicked off the new year with a potluck dinner in Utrecht University's hideout The Vagant. Many colleagues showed up and everybody brought food. Not only was the food delicious, the diversity of dishes was also wonderful: specialty entrees, main courses, and local drinks from all over the world, and a range of delicious deserts. This potluck dinner marked the start of EDI activities at IMAU.

Utrecht University promotes Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) at several levels (university, faculties, departments, and institutes). To follow up on that, the IMAU board asked a diverse set of people to initiate activities to promote a safe, diverse, and inclusive working environment at our institute. The goal is that everybody feels appreciated, has the freedom to express their opinion while also valuing the differences between people. At present, members of the IMAU EDI committee are Malavika Sivan, Kristiina Verro, Judith Schenzel, Mariken van der Mark, Laura Gomez Navarro, and Guus Velders, but everybody is welcome to join.

We plan to organize two or three activities per year, and the potluck dinner was the first activity in 2024. In the coffee room, a world map will be put up where you can pin the location of your origins to highlight the geographical and cultural diversity at IMAU. In the EDI post-box, also in the coffee room, you can drop ideas for upcoming EDI meetings, comments, complaints, or any EDI-related issue you feel needs attention.

We aim at improving how certain EDI-related topics are organised at IMAU and in the department. When you have personal issues related to EDI, although the committee of course can offer a listening ear, we are not trained to deal with such issues, so we probably (must) direct you to UU EDI professionals. On the IMAU EDI Teams channel, information and links will be continuously updated to point you to relevant persons and procedures. If you want to bring an issue to the attention of the IMAU board, this will be treated confidentially and names or personal information will not be disclosed, neither directly nor indirectly.

Personally, I really value the great diversity in people and knowledge at IMAU and find it an inspiring place to work. Let's together try to make it an even better place, where everybody feels at home and can fulfil their dreams.

Guus Velders

IMAU newsletter March 2024