How to achieve progress and benefits with D&I? Keep cool and manage complexity

It could be so simple and joyful: celebrating diversity, colourful balloons and smiling people. All good. However, anyone who tackles diversity in a simplistic way and presents it only as a business case is not only cheating on his or her own label – they will also quickly reach the limits of credibility and expectations of measurable success. This is shown both by longer-term maturity and by the effects of recent events. Two key issues have become apparent: a focus on individual issues and a quite superficial desire for change.

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30 Years Erasmus: success figures but no passion – Pulse of Europe: passion only

At its launch, the ERASMUS programme was revolutionary and provided literally unbelievable mobility. After 30 years, the stats and results are impressive. However, the look-and-feel of ERASMUS reports and events suggest a political and administrative focus rather than a celebration of a European spirit and integration. Other initiatives, like Pulse of Europe, show enormous spirit but lack the content or structure of established programmes. A combination of spirit and structure would be ideal – but is only found in few initiatives, like AEGEE.

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D&I could be a powerful alternative to Nationalism – if pitched effectively

It felt as if overnight many achievements of 20 years of D&I work were ruined when nationalistic and post-truth campaigns received support and were partially successful. A root cause analysis shows how badly managed globalisation and virtualisation led to fragile communities. D&I has the power to offer an alternative – but for that, it needs to be re-framed.

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