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Chief Diversity Officer Team

Anne de Graaf is UvA's Chief Diversity Officer. Together with Diversity Officers from each faculty, she is a key player in shaping diversity policy at the UvA while working to promote equality, inclusion and diversity within the university. The Chief Diversity Officer is appointed for a term of three years. In September 2020, her appointment was extended for another three years.

Anne de Graaf Chief Diversity Officer UvA

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 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.


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Dr A.M. (Anne) de Graaf

Executive Staff

Diversity Team

Chief Diversity Officer Anne de Graaf is supported by the CDO-team (Chief Diversity Officer-team). The team works together intensively to achieve the goals

  • Alfrida (Alfie) Martis - project leader
    Alfrida (Alfie) Martis CDO team UvA

    Alfrida (Alfie) has been working with the CDO team since April 2018. Her tasks as Researcher/Educator include teaching and promoting inclusive education practices, diversity literacy and workshops on implicit bias. She also organizes diversity-related events at the UvA. As an Afro-Bonairian woman, she is able to transform her personal experiences facing racism and colonialism into valuable knowledge for her work.

    Since April 2015, Alfrida has been part of various bottom-up groups advocating a more a decolonial and democratic educational system, such as University of Colour, New Urban Collective, and Diversity Forum. She is currently finishing her Master's degree in Media Studies at the UvA. She is specializing in the Digital Humanities and writing her MA thesis on algorithmic oppression and the silencing of Afro-Dutch activists on Facebook.

  • Janissa Jacobs - project leader and management assistent
    Janissa Jacobs CDO team UvA

    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 logistic 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. 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. Janissa goes by she and her pronouns.

  • Meltem Halaceli – project leader
    Meltem Halaceli CDO team UvA

    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.

    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 – project leader
    Raisa Sambo CDO team UvA

    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.

    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 – policy officer
    Sahar Afzal CDO team UvA

    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. 

    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 - senior policy advisor
    Thea van Schoot UvA

    Drs. Thea van Schoot is senior policy advisor of the Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) Team at the University of Amsterdam. Thea has a degree in Educational Sciences. She has been working at the UvA for more than 20 years. She has held various positions with particular emphasis on education policy and organization management. In recent years, she has focused particularly on intensive educational cooperation between the two universities in Amsterdam: the Vrije Universiteit (VU) and the University of Amsterdam (UvA). In 2018, she became part of the team of the Chief Diversity Officer. Within the team she is the contact person for the HRM department and she is (co) initiator for strengthening the LGBTQI+ community within the UvA. The aim is that everyone feels welcome, at home and safe at the UvA.