INTERVIEW: A chat with Lujain Kretzschmar, SCIoI’s diversity and equal opportunities officer
From gender to ethnicity and religion, diversity is a very broad topic. We’ve spoken to our diversity and equal opportunity officer, Lujain Kretzschmar, to find out more about her role at SCIoI.
You are responsible for diversity and equal opportunities at SCIoI. What does that mean to you?
Diversity is not only an important subject but also a very sensitive one, one for which many people have had to fight and even sacrifice themselves in the last decades. It’s also a process that needs to be continually pushed forward and supported with all possible means.
What is diversity, and what are you most excited about in this role?
Diversity encompasses many dimensions: gender, ethnic origin, nationality and migration history regarding racism and anti-Semitism, religious beliefs and world views, disabilities, health impairment, age, language, sexual identity and orientation, social and family status, and much more. Working in this very wide domain and raising awareness of its various aspects and representations in our everyday work life is what motivates me the most.
What are some steps we can all take to address the issue of diversity in the workplace?
Being aware of our own complex identities may be a good step toward appreciating the complexity of everyone around us, in every form of communication and interaction. We ultimately want to make sure that there is no discrimination, exclusion, and marginalization in the workplace, for example due to unintended misjudgment or implicit bias.
What activities are you planning in this regard?
I’m particularly excited to offer individual as well as institutional consulting on diversity and equal opportunities matters at SCIoI. Also, I’ll be in charge of coordinating events in relevant domains like identity, self-reflection, unconscious bias, and intercultural interaction. Conceiving long-term projects, strategies, and frameworks that aim to encourage and support more participation for un- or underrepresented groups at SCIoI is one of my priorities.
What is your background, and why did you come to SCIoI?
I have studied and worked in the field of Archeology of the Near East for more than 10 years. This allowed me to work on many international projects in Syria, Iran, Turkmenistan, Saudi Arabia, and Germany. Later and gradually I shifted my career toward the museums and exhibitions domain and I combined that with social work that enables wider participation in Berlin’s cultural landscape, especially for marginalized and less included social groups. Being the new Diversity and Equal Opportunities officer at SCIoI represents for me a new dimension of the work I’ve been doing until now. There is a great potential for working on and supporting diverse accessibility, and for raising awareness in this regard to foster a more diverse and inclusive work environment.
What are the biggest challenges you face on a daily basis?
Since I’m still new, my current challenge is to get to know everyone and build a full image of the diversity demand at SCIoI. Therefore, I’m encouraging everyone in the cluster to contact me in case of suggestions or consulting needs.
I’m very grateful for the very professional, collegial, and welcoming onboarding process I’ve been receiving in the last few weeks. I had a great start.
What is the best part about working at SCIoI?
So far, the diverse team members at SCIoI and their interdisciplinary experiences are what fascinates me most.
What do you like to do when not at work?
I like to paint and I have a special passion for collecting stones. Each stone is individual and unique.