Take a stroll through the centre of The Hague and you cannot help but marvel at the diversity of our community. Lining our beautiful streets are embassies representing nations from all over the world. Frequent festivals celebrate the cultural traditions of a wide variety of immigrant groups. And in cafés, shops, and on street corners you’re guaranteed to catch snippets of conversations in dozens of different languages.
At the same time, however, you will also observe challenges. A newspaper report about the precarious lives of refugees. Arguments over the importance of Dutch language acquisition. Unspoken distinctions drawn between “expats” and “immigrants.” And countless debates about responsible policing, community safety, and access to political, economic, and educational resources.
The Hague may be unique as an “International City of Peace and Justice,” but the varied promises and challenges of human diversity are familiar to communities all over the world. Today, globalization makes us all aware of how closely we are connected to, and often dependent upon, the actions of people who are far distant from us. Human migration and economic liberalization simultaneously reshape local environments, bringing the seemingly “distant” into close proximity.
Given these developments, how can individuals and communities devise ways to share resources and negotiate conflicts—without succumbing to fear, xenophobia, racism, or violence? How can we understand the roots and grapple with the consequences of a wide variety of human differences—be they defined by race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, age, income, ability, language, religion, nationality, or any number of other factors? These are the big questions Human Diversity majors care about—and work to resolve.