The term “diversity” refers to the diversity or dissimilarity of people and includes both visible and invisible characteristics like gender, nationality, cultural diversity, different age groups, ideology, religion as well as people with disabilities. As a management task in companies or universities the term refers to respecting and acknowledging variety with respect to employees and students.
Diversity is one of humanity’s greatest riches. Diversity means: Doing something together in terms of interactions of different people. It is about appreciating diverse potentials and about perceiving it as something positive, to perceive it more strongly and to think of it as a reciprocal enrichment. In the field of education diversity (management) targets overall social objectives, i.e. the fruition of educational justice and equal opportunities, but also the utilisation of the diverse potential of students in teaching.
Diversity is a concept that is not only present in the economy, but also in universities, various organisations, in administration and also in the non-profit sector. Nevertheless, the concept is met with a fair amount of scepticism in Germany. No doubt, this is, partially, because of the change in perspectives. Encountering ‘the other’ fascinates us. However, dissimilarity may also lead to non-understanding and frustration. With some people it may also cause insecurity – fear even.
It should be clear that togetherness of ‘the own’ and ‘the other’ is not free from conflict. However, those conflicts should not be chronically and the togetherness not solely be reduced to its differences.
The potential exists in the ability to recognise that a creative and appreciative handling of diversity can lead to something new from which society at large may profit. It is about a permanent process in which all participants can learn from one another, provided that is what they want.
Diversity is connected to numerous challenges, but also to wide-ranging possibilities. The biggest challenge in this context is to slowly move away from coexisting side by side and towards an action-oriented existence as one.