What is inclusion to a young scientist?
I was humbled when my friend Yoko from GYA asked me to organize a panel of young scientists in Tsukuba Conference. I thought of seeking ways that are needed for young scientists to feel included.
I started off with a large group of young scientists from east and west; north and south. But when the dates came closer — many were busy and probably exhausted from the number of online meetings. It was a much smaller group of scientists and not surprisingly all from developing regions. I thought that the answer on inclusion would converge considering the similarities young scientists may face, but I was really surprised.
My friend Mahbeighom from Afghanistan shared what inclusion meant to her. She wanted to be a scientists without being labelled as a women, an Afghani, a Muslim or anything else rather than being called a scientist while another friend Ishan (from India) thought in a complete different way. His journey being visually impaired should be shared to inspire others, as he thinks. The opportunities created at various level can be enablers for many others.
“What is inclusion when you cannot even invite me using my own timezone?” — asks Sonali from South Africa. In a conference invitation, she was asked to follow a Berlin time zone while she wanted to be noticed, being invited from her own timezone. The small initiatives, in her words, could make the space really inclusive.
As I continued chatting with Abhijit (India), we were sure that no one size fits all to ensure inclusion. Being able to hear and understand what inclusion means to us all is a step towards making an inclusive space for us all.
Would love to hear what you think about it.
Participants joining the panel discussion