This page shows a selection of speakers at the Forum. For a full list of speakers please see the individual sessions in the programme.
Polli Hagenaars is a practicing healthcare psychologist in Amsterdam and a trainer in diversity and non-discrimination. She is convener of the Board Human Rights & Psychology of the European Federation of Psychologists’ Associations (EFPA). In her view Inclusion, next to Dignity and Freedom, is a core principle in human rights. Social exclusion affects the identity of people in marginalized groups: a negative self concept could be internalised, self-esteem might be damaged, with the effect of stress reactions, a restricted behaviour repertoire and even health problems. Identity acts as a ‘double edged sword’ in bringing about social inclusion. For professionals to be able to assist in empowering, terms of categories are needed, which often reinforce the everyday experiences of people and have the effect of confirming the minority status. This process of ‘othering’ doubles social exclusion. In order to improve rights fulfilment, right holders need to be given the full potential as change makers and to be able to use the resilience and capabilities they possess. At the same time, involving society in this process is needed. Empowerment only develops when people act together in changing existing power relationships and establishing a ‘new inclusive we’. Only then, people will get the freedom to choose their own social and personal identity.