Since the 17th century, the world has significantly diversified with the acceleration of globalization. With this new era of evolution, mass movements have brought great cultural, racial and ethnic diversity within our communities. Indeed, while diversity reigns over our populations, social inclusion has, on its end, made slower progress.
For Senior Fellow Stijn Ettes, the aim of his Action Project has been to educate younger generations on acceptance and equality. Born in the city of Hoorn and current member of the department board of the Labor Party in Amsterdam West, Stijn has witnessed disconcerting trends of ignorance regarding the diverse cultures and habits present within the Netherlands. Observing that individuals who were unfamiliar with the topic were in return less inclined to immerse themselves within this diversity, he leaned towards creating an educational project.
In making a children’s book on the Netherlands’ diversity, Stijn, with the help of Sahar Afzal, hoped to encourage children’s open-mindedness. Allowing them to grow up more conscious of other’s differences.
Raising young children in environments promoting positive diversity is key to social integration and inclusive communities.
In order to develop his idea, Stijn’s first step into this project was to approach children with the question: ‘why are certain individuals not accepting of others’ differences?’ In bringing an approach of ignorance to his project’s development, Stijn sought to study children’s innocence on topics of equality and discrimination. According to him, raising young children in environments promoting positive diversity is key to social integration and inclusive communities.
Through his research, he then moved on to combine his study in a short historic child-friendly book. With this, Stijn sought to bring awareness on the Netherlands’ historic past, such as the Dutch colonization and the Indonesian War of Independence. His greatest challenge while tackling these topics was to create accurate content that would, while educating children, protect them from the reality of history.
You can find Stijn’s Action Project here in Dutch.