About us

The Chief Diversity Officer Team

The team of the Chief Diversity Officer of the University of Amsterdam (UvA) was established in April 2018. Each of us is very passionate about the topic of diversity and inclusion, and we are continuously working towards making the UvA a safer and more welcoming place. 

Anne de Graaf

Anne de Graaf

Chief Diversity Officer

Dr. Anne de Graaf has been the Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) since November 2017. Her roles include helping drive the process of cultural change at the UvA toward greater equity, diversity and inclusion. As CDO she is charged with identifying, stimulating, creating and facilitating initiatives both inside and outside the institution; including, for example, her advice on competency-based hiring processes for the UvA but also for the VSNU and read more

Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. Anne is currently also a Senior Lecturer at Amsterdam University College (AUC), where she teaches Human Rights Human Security and Peace Lab. She was formerly Head of Studies, Academic Core, as well as Diversity & Outreach Coordinator at AUC. Anne holds a PhD in International Relations; her research focuses on peace and conflict studies, particularly the role of youth, voice and agency.
Alfrida Martis

Alfrida Martis

Project Leader

Alfrida Martis (Alfie) is an Afro-Bonairian writer, public speaker and community organizer. She has been part of the Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) team at the University of Amsterdam since April 2018, as a researcher and educator, and a project leader for the Homework Hub. She also teaches and coordinates workshops with her colleague Janissa Jacobs, while advising on inclusive pedagogies and diversity literacy. She holds a BA degree in Media & Culture Studies, and an MA degree in New Media & Digital Culture, both from the University of Amsterdam.
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Outside of academia, she works as an independent advisor in the cultural and arts scene, specializing in anti-racism, intersectionality and decolonization work. With her partner Daudi Cijntje, she co-founded and co-organizes Caribbean Ancestry Club: a platform that unites and amplifies the voices of afro-indigenous ABCSSS islanders.
Janissa Jacobs

Janissa Jacobs (she/her)

Project Leader and Management Assistant

Janissa joined the CDO team in August 2019 as management assistant to Anne de Graaf. Her tasks include strategic advice, administrative activities, facilitating workshops, and providing the Diversity Team with logistics and planning support. In her role, she co-facilitates tailored diversity workshops with Alfrida Martis for UvA students and staff. Prior to this, she specialized in business development and strategy at a global leadership advisory firm.read more

Janissa has a MSc in International Public Management and Policy and she speaks Dutch, English, Spanish and Papiamentu; sometimes at the same time. As an avid lover of poetry, literature, and writing; Janissa is interested in exploring the role of creative outlets as a tool for healing past pain and trauma.
Meltem Halaceli

Meltem Halaceli

Project Leader

Meltem Halaceli, MA, joined the CDO team in the summer of 2020 as project leader and educator. She coordinates the online mentoring program: Meet Your Mentor for students with an ethnic minority background and/or first generation students. In this unique mentoring program Meltem matches Master students and third year students with an ethnic minority background and/or first generation background with professionals from the private and public sector. The main aim of MyM is to support students in their transition to the job market. Meet your Mentor trains professionals in diversity and inclusion in the context on the Dutch job market as well. read more

Meltem loves to empower students and holds a degree in Arabic Language and Culture of the UvA including a minor in journalism. Her thesis was based on the translation of the memoirs of her grandfather, who was an Ottoman-Arab conscript during the First World War and an eye witness of the birth of the Turkish Republic. She published a book about her family history based on the memoirs in 2015. She has experience as a teacher and student counselor in higher education and received her BKO in 2019. Meltem has a passion for translating life experiences into literary and poetic expressions.
Raisa Sambo

Raisa Sambo

Project Leader

Raisa has been part of the CDO team since December 2020, where she coordinates projects such as the Academic Diversity Program (ADP) mentoring program, the Grassroots Funds, Diversity & Inclusion Community lunches and the Get Ready Summer Program. Raisa believes in creating an inclusive society – a society for everyone – for people with different beliefs (or no beliefs), opposing ideologies, from different socio-economic positions, with diverse sexual orientations and gender expressions, talent or limitations. read more

Raisa has been working in the public sector for nine years and has extensive experience in coordinating projects, as a consultant and workshop leader. She is in the final phase of her studies in Public Administration at Avans University of Applied Sciences. Together with two business partners, she has set up a foundation aimed at empowerment and de-stigmatization of the LGBTIQ+ community.
Sahar Afzal

Sahar Afzal

Policy Officer

Sahar has been working with the CDO team since February 2021. Her task as Policy officer/researcher includes researching and developing policy on diversity, inclusion, and social safety. Coming from a multicultural background, Sahar is able to understand the need for an intersectional understanding within educational institutions and is, therefore, able to draft policy accordingly. read more

Besides her work for the CDO team, Sahar has an MSc. in conflict studies and uses her expertise in this field as a lecturer in Political Science and Conflict Studies at the UvA. She is also active as a board member of UN Women the Netherlands, where she works with UN policy on gender and diversity and sets up campaigns like ‘Orange the World – end violence against women’ in the Netherlands.
Thea van Schoot

Thea van Schoot

Sr. Policy Advisor

Thea will be helping in policy design, incorporating diversity policy within the UvA structures. At the moment, she is focusing on breaking the glass ceiling, both within faculties and from a centralized approach.

Sarina Nooitgedacht

Sarina Nooitgedacht

Student Assistant

Sarina joined the CDO team in April 2021 as a student assistant. Her main role is to support the CDO Team’s new initiative called the Homework Hub by increasing student involvement with community-based organisations. Together with the CDO Team, she seeks to expand the Homework Hub’s reach and presence on campus and its surrounding communities. In addition, she assists the team by performing administrative tasks. read more


Sarina has her Bachelor’s in Sociology and will obtain her Master’s in International Relations at the UvA. She plans to pursue a career in education. During the majority of her studies Sarina worked at a marketing software company and did an internship at the Dutch Consulate-General in Cape Town. In her free time Sarina volunteers at her local church as a youth leader.
Jennifer Aardema

Jennifer Aardema

Communication Officer

Jennifer has been part of the CDO team since June 2021 as a communication officer. Her job is to translate the work of the CDO team into powerful stories that inspire, create impact and incite action. She is an advocate for inclusive communication and valuating the importance of words and the impact they have. Inclusive communication is free from language that perpetuates stereotypes, negative expectations or limitations. By adapting the language, it becomes possible to involve an entire audience more fully and inspire them to contribute more confidently. read more

Jennifer holds a BA degree in Journalism and an MA degree in Literary Studies. She worked for several years as an editor and communication officer in education and in the cultural sector and has volunteered for different feminist organisations.

CDO Team Mission & Vision

For a detailed description of the CDO mission and vision statements,
as well as the related objectives and activities, please consult the