from November 24, 2022 to November 25, 2022
Published on December 2, 2022 Updated on December 9, 2022

The EUTOPIA Week Diary in Ljubljana, DAY 4-5 – Tours of Ljubljana and Diversity Day

Ljubljana at night
Ljubljana at night - Picture by Thomas T'Joen

"Thursday was the least intense day of my week in Ljubljana.

Early in the morning, EUTOPIA’s Student Council convened in an off-schedule meeting, proving the student representatives’ dedication and drive to make headway in their organization and decision-making. The meeting was meant to complete the agenda set up the day before by setting the designation procedures for the Student Council members and electing the new Student Council’s president and vice-presidents. Stefanie Mulder (Vrije Universitet Brussel) will henceforth preside over the Council, helped by Lori Šramel Čebular (University of Ljubljana) and Stanislaw Bondarew (TU Dresden) as vice-presidents.

After this sequence, I shifted to the UL Faculty of Electrical Engineering, some twenty minutes from the rectorate building on foot. The squat and grey building revealed a cunning and stylish interior, a perfect match for the session I’d come to attend, titled “Cybersecurity: the invisible arms race” and presented by researchers from the Faculty’s own laboratory for Telecommunications, the L.T.F.E. Though I arrived late into the session, I still had the chance to learn how scientists and researchers study and track cyber-attackers using tactics like the “honeypot” where they purposefully use and create vulnerable online identities. The speakers were asked about password security management applications. The consensus was that they were currently the best way for anyone to protect their privacy, besides the old method of writing passwords on a piece of paper somewhere. Dr Urban Sedlar recommended that individuals who routinely roam the web pay more attention to their online security in their daily lives: “In the real world when people live in an area where they get burglarized, what happens? They build fences. So that’s what we should do on the internet as well, it is a simple, normal part of life”.


Ljubljana - Picture by Thomas T'Joen
The rest of my Thursday was spent relaxing and learning about the city thanks to The Ljubljana Wicked Tour, a visit focused on the historical dark spirit of Ljubljana (weak hearts beware!), before heading for the student networking event that brought together almost all of the EUTOPIAn students present during the week for a whole busy evening.


Friday was Diversity Day at EUTOPIA Week EUTOPIA!

Friday was entirely dedicated to Diversity in this EUTOPIA Week in Ljubljana. The first session early in the morning was an “Inclusion practices and visions” roundtable, which brought together a series of experts from different universities. Tamara Boh, Chair of Career Centres at UL; Jan Forjan, Student at the Faculty of Social Work; Ajda Cimperman, Student at the Faculty of Social Sciences; Roman Kuhar, PhD and Professor at the Faculty of Arts (Department of Sociology), Alenka Gajšt (DŠIS), project coordinator at the Slovenian Association of Disabled Students, Alenka Flander, PhD and CEO of the Centre of the Republic of Slovenia for Mobility and European Educational and Training Programmes (CMEPIUS). We were happy to see again Agnes Sarolta Fazekas, PhD and Assistant Professor at Eötvös Loránd University (Hungary), who has shared several times her acute knowledge of the field with EUTOPIA, and who was with Bárczi Gusztáv of the Faculty of Special Needs Education, Institute for Disability and Social Participation, both from CHARM-EU Inclusiveness Work Package.

The students Jan Forjan and Ajda Cimperman talked about their participation in the Letters Programme of EUTOPIA, where they had the chance to write and exchange with students from all over the alliance and to point out instances of inclusion or exclusion throughout their collective experiences. The discussion was long and fruitful during this roundtable. A few ideas came forth, like the writing of new official university documents using the female grammatical gender as neutral (for languages that have grammatical genders), which, as Roman Kuhar explained, becomes as natural as using the male grammatical gender after a while, proving that it is nothing more than a construct.


Diversity Fresco
Diversity Fresco
While I did miss the second session on inclusive practices in research environments, I was present for the last session of this EUTOPIA Week: the Diversity Fresco workshop presented and led by Nadia El Boukhiari from CY’s institutional partner, the ESSEC Business School. The “Fresco” style of workshop created by ESSEC (a sustainable development fresco, and now a diversity fresco) puts emphasis on letting the participants explore the given subject of the workshop by building logical links between concepts represented by flash cards.

It was up to us, a group of multinational and multicultural people hailing from all over Europe, to paint a picture of what Diversity is: what it looks like, what it brings to a group of people, a society, all the while learning about identifying our biases and where discrimination (be it intentional or unintentional) comes from, and how to mitigate its existence.



And with the Fresco over and done, so was EUTOPIA Week. No Closing Ceremony this time, as a lot of attendants had already flown or took the train home by Friday afternoon. I enjoyed my last evening in Ljubljana walking around the city, buying souvenirs, witnessing the lighting up of the Christmas lights, and taking in the atmosphere of this amazing city until late in the night. I did not wish to go home, but the sweetest goodbyes are never with smiles.

See you again, Ljubljana."

By Thomas T'Joen