Get to know the members of the Central Diversity Office (CDO) team via their introductions below. Want to reach out? You send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jennifer Aardema (she/her)
I have been working as a communication adviser at the Central Diversity Office since 2021. Good communication triggers people to take action. Diversity, inclusion and equal rights are issues where I feel progress can never come too soon. It’s my duty to ensure that everyone knows what the Central Diversity Office does, how we do it and why it’s so important.
I try to ensure that our message not only reaches the minds of our university’s staff and students but also touches their hearts, by making complex stories tangible and relatable. A key aspect of this is inclusive communication: a communication approach that tries to reach and engage as many people as possible, by striving for accessibility, recognition and understanding and paying attention to the multiple identities of our university’s staff and students.
Sahar Afzal (she/her)
I have been working in the CDO team since February 2021. My duties as a policy adviser are conducting research into and developing policy around diversity, inclusion and social safety. Because of my multicultural background, I am convinced of the necessity of applying an intersectional policymaking approach within educational institutions such as the University of Amsterdam.
In addition to my work for the CDO team, I have an MSc in Conflict Resolution and Governance. I use this expertise in the CDO team and in my volunteer work as a member of the management team of UN Women Netherlands, where my duties include activities relating to UN policies on gender and diversity and setting up campaigns such as the ‘Orange the World’ campaign to stop violence against women.
Meltem Halaceli (she/her)
I have been working as a Project Manager at the CDO team since April 2020. At the moment I am managing the following: the summer programme Get Ready for new first-generation students; Home Work Hub, a Community Service program to improve equality in secondary education in the city of Amsterdam, and lastly; the mentoring programme Meet your Mentor, in which Master students with an ethnic minority background are supported in their transition to the job market. Besides my work for the CDO team, I collaborate with the HR Policy & Strategy dept. on DEI-policy, such as the Gender Equality Plan.
Due to prejudices, a lack of role models and proper guidance it took a while before I found myself at the university and find a job that equals an academic degree. With the programmes that I am managing I prevent others to go through the same struggle and that gives me tremendous satisfaction. I find it important to give space to those who are underrepresented in order to share their stories, therefore I also organize literature programs, interview people with an ethnic minority background and write about my family history.
Machiel Keestra (he/him)
I was appointed as Central Diversity Officer in February 2022. As Central Diversity Officer, I am committed to promoting equal rights, inclusion and diversity within the university. Together with my team, I work closely together with students, lecturers and staff to increase awareness of diversity and inclusion and to deploy their network and expertise to support valuable changes in policy and actions that help increase diversity and inclusion in our research, education and campus culture.
My personal engagement with diversity and inclusion started in my scientific work. In addition, together with my partner, I have set up the Keti Koti Dialogue Table, which aims to bring people together to personally reflect on the history of colonialism. My aim is for us to jointly create a university where everyone can excel, regardless of their background and identities.
Tijmen ter Keurs (he/him)
I have been working as a student assistant for communications in the CDO team since August 2021. As a student assistant, I support the team in the communication of projects, I keep our community updated through our newsletter in which we share news and information about diversity and inclusion at the university and I ensure the team is visible and recognisable.
I feel it’s important for the University of Amsterdam to be a place where everyone feels at home. Being in a safe environment is key to making your student experience a success. As a queer person, I have experienced that student life is not only about acquiring knowledge, since discovering yourself and the world around you is at least as big of a learning process. Translating these experiences into texts and images helps others to embark on this journey of discovery within our university as well.
Rozianna Maria (she/her)
I have been working as a management assistant at the Central Diversity Office since July 2022. Therefore, I am the contact person for practical and administrative matters within the CDO. As such, I am regularly in touch with people from different echelons within the university. I enjoy helping these people connect with each other.
I view diversity and inclusion as a challenge for which you need the sensitivity to grasp that one person’s wishes may cross another person’s boundaries. I try to find a middle ground, and in doing so, I feel it’s important for everyone to feel heard and accepted as they are. In addition to my duties at the CDO, I work at the Islamic Theological Faculty in Amsterdam (IUA), because I feel it’s important that Muslims can pursue professional careers and contribute to the pluralist society we live in from an Islamic perspective.
Sarina Nooitgedacht (she/her)
I have been working as a student assistant in the CDO team since April 2021. My role is primarily to support the Homework Hub, a new initiative of the CDO team, by increasing students’ involvement with social organisations. Together with the CDO team, I want to expand the reach and presence of the Homework Hub on campus and in the city of Amsterdam. I also assist the team in the area of administrative duties. In my spare time, I volunteer at my local church as a youth coach.
Tuyet Stooker (she/her/each)
In September 2022 I started as a Project Manager at the Central Diversity Office. I profoundly believe that the most valuable social change happens on the ground level through daily conversations in the classes or on campus. Therefore I am pleased with my task of managing the Grassroots fund. Grassroots Fund provides funding for bottom-up initiatives the UvA-community that enhances equity, diversity, or inclusion. The power of Grassroot Funds is to support the needs and activities of those who want to see improvement.
My second task is the collaboration between the CDO and all the Faculty Diversity Officers. As a queer person of colour and an activist, I gain a lot of inspiration, knowledge, healing, and stories by being present at demonstrations and queer spaces. This helps me to guide my work for the UvA, and motivates me to strive for a more inclusive university.