Is ‘Intentional Inclusion’ the key to integration through sport? What we learned from The Diversity Doctor


Hilal Erkoca Mølgaard

The Integration of Refugees Through Sport (IRTS) Mentoring Programme hosted an online workshop on inclusion and diversity with the participation of Doctor Donna de Haan, known as The Diversity Doctor, in June. Donna describes herself as being passionate about diversity and inclusion, and she believes every space we enter should be a safe space for everyone. She strives to increase intersectionality, diversity and inclusion in institutions by taking on roles such as trainer and consultant and giving workshops on these topics. 

ISCA’s IRTS Networking Platform’s Mentoring Programme connects individuals and organisations from the integration of refugees through sport field through two rounds of 12-month mentorships. Inclusiveness and diversity are also two of the values we placed emphasis on within the scope of the mentoring programme. That’s why we kindly asked The Diversity Doctor to lead an interactive workshop with us. 

We started by discussing what inclusion and diversity mean to us and what makes us diverse. After a session of exchanging ideas from a general perspective, we dived into a discussion about what contributes to making a safe or unsafe space in sport. After the discussion, we shared the points that complemented each other and found two clear patterns. For some of us, a safe space in sports is defined mostly by physical conditions and facilities, while for others it is more about having a psychological and emotional sense of safety and security. 

Later in the workshop, Donna explained the concept of ‘Intentional Inclusion’ which refers to “Using our awareness of diversity and inclusion as a lens through which we see the world and make decisions”. Taking this approach to inclusion could be the key to grassroots sports professionals working on integration of refugees through the sport, she noted.

Thanks to The Diversity Doctor, we had the opportunity to rethink and discuss concepts such as “boundaries, barriers and empathy”, which we may be familiar with but do not reflect on on a daily basis.

If you are interested in the subject and want to access more insights from The Diversity Doctor, check out Donna’s blog posts. You can find more information related to the IRTS Mentoring Programme on this website, and discover our latest online course on ISCA’s online learning platform for free. 

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