LeidenGlobal: taking a world view
Eight organisations from Leiden, including Leiden University, have joined forces to share their knowledge of the world with other interested people. The launch of LeidenGlobal took place on 27 November 2013.
On 27 November a large and varied company of people gathered at the Museum of Ethnology in Leiden. They came to attend the launch of LeidenGlobal, a partnership set up between eight different institutions in Leiden: two museums, five research centres and Leiden University. Together they represent a huge amount of knowledge and material culture relating to all the continents of the world. As the LeidenGlobal website puts it: ‘We know about Africa, Asia and Oceania, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, North America, the Middle East, Russia and the Caucasus and the Circumpolar regions.’
This new combined platform for knowledge and culture was endorsed by Cleveringa Professor Michael Ignatieff, the Mayor of Leiden Henri Lenferink and Rector Magnificus of Leiden University Carel Stolker. Stolker quoted a poem by Arends that embodies the principle of LeidenGlobal: Er is / nog nooit / een mens geweest / die een korrel aarde / heeft bezeten. (‘Never / has there been on earth / a human being / who owned / a grain of sand.’).
The launch was attended by hundreds of scientists, as well as many experts from outside the academic world.
‘Our world is here, there and everywhere,’ it says on the website of LeidenGlobal. The aim of the initiative is to bring academic and cultural institutions from Leiden into contact with local communities, media, authorities, business and industry, and NGOs. ‘We want to raise the impact of academic scholarship by distributing and sharing this knowledge, using cultural activities, public debate, input for governmental policies and education.’ The range of expertise covered by LeidenGlobal is very broad: from the pyramids to the Chinese Wall, from languages to warfare, from religion to finance, from politics to poetry, and from earthquakes to elections. ‘We have experts in all possible fields, and we have constructed a meeting place for all those who are interested in places around the world and the dynamics between those places.’ Truly global, in other words.
Topics discussed at the launch included: religion, the internet, art, new possibilities in Africa and Asia, the settlement of post-colonial issues, and images that reflect change. There were talks given by several speakers, round table discussions were held, as well as conversations at dinner, and films were shown. In a nutshell, LeidenGlobal offers a wide range of topics covering a wide range of places using a wide range of means of communication.
The participants of in LeidenGlobal are: