Wednesday, June 11

Leo Lucassen is professor of social history at Leiden University. His research focuses on global migration history and social class mobility. He is the author of numerous books including ‘The Immigrant Threat’. In his books he tries to answer the question if recent immigrants will follow similar integration paths as migrants in the past. He co-authored ‘Migration History in World History, multidisciplinary approaches’. His recent  article in a leading national newspaper was titled ‘Integration should be aimed at all less educated’ (Integratie moet zich richten op álle laagopgeleiden) has led to much debate. Lucassen wrote his PhD on the history of Gypsies in The Netherlands 1850-1940.

Sofyan Mbarki teaches at a high school in Amsterdam West, and is politically involved with the Amsterdam labor party (PvdA). Due to his work in the educational sector, Mbarki considers good education that is open to everyone as an important tool to create a respectful and safe urban environment. In the local political sphere Mbarki is dedicated to using education and investing in a new generation as a means to conquer the challenges of a multiethnic city.

Hanka Mongard migrated from Poland to the Netherlands in 1981. Currently Mongard works at FairWork as a cultural mediator, where she researches human trafficking and modern slavery and provides assistance to migrant workers from Central and Eastern Europe who are being exploited in the Netherlands. FairWork’s central mission is to tackle modern slavery and create awareness about the existence of the phenomenon – not only in developing countries, but also within Western democracies like the Netherlands. Recently Mongard received a distinction from the Polish government for her commitment to the Polish community in the Netherlands. Additionally, Mongard hold the chair of the ToP (Polish Women Association) in the Netherlands.

Thijl Sunier (1954), anthropologist, holds the chair of ‘Islam in European Societies’ and is head of the Anthropological department at the VU University Amsterdam. He conducted research on inter-ethnic relations; Turkish youth and Turkish Islamic organizations in the Netherlands; comparative research among Turkish youth in France, Germany, Great Britain and the Netherlands; and international comparative research on nation building and multiculturalism in France and The Netherlands. Additionally, he conducts research in the field of transnational Islamic movements, religious leadership, and nation building and Islam in Europe. Currently Sunier is head of the NSIS  (Inter-Academic School for Islam Studies in the Netherlands), head of the ABV (Dutch Anthropological Association), and editor of the Journal of Muslims in Europe (JOME).

Saïd Bensellam is a youth worker active in Bos en Lommer, a district in Amsterdam West. After having worked a bouncer for seventeen years, he initiated a program to help the problem youth in his neighborhood. Due to his personal history, shared cultural background with most of the troublemakers, and unorthodox manner of solving problems, he made significant progress with the youngsters. In 2007 his efforts became known on a national level when Bensellam became Amsterdammer of the Year. Bensellam currently works at Connect, an umbrella organization that is dedicated to improving the overall living standard in the neighborhood. Bensellam is founder and coordinator of the youth, security and youth prevention team.

Lody van de Kamp is a Dutch rabbi, coming from a Jewish family who survived the Holocaust. In 2010 he sought to make anti-Semitism in Dutch society more visible by recording the reactions of neighbors on Jewish passer-by in multiple Amsterdam districts (mostly West). The results that were recorded on a secret camera lead to a court-case in which Van de Kamp sued a Dutch-Moroccan boy that gave the Rabbi the Hitler salute when he walked past. A public debate followed on the use of Œlokjoden¹ (lure-Jews) in order to identify discrimination and actively address the issue. Saïd Bensellam, who works as a community worker in Amsterdam West, arranged a meeting between Van de Kamp and the boy concerned which had a very positive result. The event led to structural cooperation between Bensellam and the Rabbi to help criminal youth get back on the right path. Van de Kamp is the author of several novels on the Holocaust history of Jewish live in Holland, on Judaism and Christianity etc. He is a founding member of the Sevenman-ship of the City of Amsterdam and a member of the Strategic Network against Polarisation and Radicalisation of the City of Amsterdam.

Gerbrig Klos is currently working as a senior policy officer for Amnesty International Netherlands, where she is coordinating Amnesty’s work against ethnic profiling by the Dutch police. Amnesty International Netherlands primary focus is on human rights issues far from home, but also runs a program of activities to improve the human rights situation in the Netherlands. Besides ethnic profiling, Amnesty Netherlands works towards a better protection of the rights of refugees, irregular migrants and ethnic minorities. Amnesty is addressing ethnic profiling through lobby, advocacy, monitoring, research, media work and awareness-raising.

Niels de Groot is a philosopher and an all-round visual artist. He is interested in the intersection of visual arts and politics, and during his time studying Philosophy at the University of Amsterdam he explored this by co-founding Schijnheilig, a transient gallery. Simultaneously he was involved in the organization of Amsterdam’s multidisciplinary cultural festival, Damoclash. Niels has spent the past years creating radio programs, participating as an artist at festivals such as Oerol and Robodock, and working with Femke Kaulingfreks to set up a school board exchange project in the Netherlands and Ethiopia. Working for De Doetank Foundation, he is involved in the ‘Straatrecht’ or ‘Street rights’ project, aiming to improve the constructive interaction between citizens and police organizations.

Michael Zwart is a Police Inspector at the Dutch National Police in Amsterdam. His task is to improve diversity policy inside and outside the police department. Michael is specialized in Policing of multi-ethnic communities. Michael is also a senior consultant for the Dutch armed forces in the rank of Captain. Michael holds a bachelor of policing and a Master degree in Conflict management. He also did multiple studies at the Academy of International Conflict Management at the USIP (United States Institute of Peace) in Washington DC.

Hans Schipper is a chief superintendent with the Dutch National Police and works at the Diversity Department in Amsterdam. His main working items are the internal multi-ethnic networks, policing of communities and he is building a program against ethnic profiling. He has over 40 years of police-experience.

Gikkels, or Gideon Everduim is a Dutch rapper from the Bijlmer district (Amsterdam Southeast). Everduim represents his district and is strongly against racism, which is emphasized in his records. In 2005 he became involved with local politics when he initiated the Bijlmer Style political party with two others. Everduim is concerned with the state of his district and especially with the lack future prospects it offers for the younger generation in terms of education, careers and health. His newest album includes the record 600 Dagen (600 Days), in which he calls for political attention for the war in Syria in Dutch society.

Dionne Abdoelhafiezkhan was head and founder of the DutchVersity/Hi5 foundation from 2008 to 2013. The cause of the foundation was to stimulate youth to become in charge of their own future, supported by the statement “you cannot decide where you’re coming from, but you can decide where you’re going”. The Hi5 award is delivered annually to a leader or prominent public figure who has acted along the lines of the Hi5 method, in line with the afore mentioned statement. Abdoelhafiezkan is involved in several social projects, such as ‘God is niet wit” (God isn’t white), that coops with the Dutch history of slavery as well as youth projects in the Bijlmer district (Amsterdam Southeast). 

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