Vilnius University recently presented a five-year strategy on diversity and equal opportunities, defining main activities up to the year 2025 and laying out key aims and objectives. The strategy, which covers the entire community of the University, including both employees and students, is the first strategy of this kind among Lithuanian higher education institutions.
“Vilnius University seeks to be open not only to the diversity of scientific ideas and disciplines but also to the diversity of its community members in terms of their experiences related to gender, language, nationality, citizenship, social origin or status, faith, beliefs, convictions, sexual orientation, family status and disability. The University also seeks to respect and honour the potential that lies in that diversity,” points out Prorector for Community Affairs assoc. Prof Dr Birutė Švedaitė-Sakalauskė.
The strategy sets out six objectives to be implemented. A substantial amount of attention is planned to be paid to students and staff with disability and to the development of an environment, which meets individual needs. The strategy identifies the objective of striving for gender equality in various fields of research and studies at the University and of pursuing gender balance in the University’s governing bodies.
Particular emphasis will be put on promoting cultural diversity, implementing anti-discrimination measures, reducing social exclusion and creating an environment in which members of the University's community can balance study or work commitments with personal commitments.
“The University, which values the diversity that lies in it, possesses invaluable potential for synergies that can undoubtedly contribute to implementing all three substantial missions of the University: studies, science and service to the public,” claims Prorector B. Švedaitė-Sakalauskė.
The Office of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson has evaluated the strategy positively and welcomed University’s initiative on paying more attention to equal opportunities in the areas of study organisation and employment relations.