crcp2016-cairoAminata Cairo

Aminata Cairo is the first Policy Officer of Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands. Originally from Suriname, she was raised in the Netherlands. Aminata Cairo pursued her higher education in the United States and obtained a Bachelor's Degree in Physical Education with a minor in Psychology from Berea College, and a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology from Eastern Kentucky University. After working several years as a therapist in community mental health she returned to the University of Kentucky to pursue a second Master’s and Ph.D. Degree in Medical Anthropology with a special interest in Mental Health and Culture.

In addition to her academic pursuits, Cairo pursued her love for African Diaspora Dance forms and danced professionally with several dance companies, including her own. Her work with the arts is integrated into her vision and approach towards mental well being. Her Ph.D. dissertation studied a mental well being model of working class Afro-Surinamese people, a model she used in her subsequent work with African refugees and Latino Migrant Workers in Lexington, Kentucky. From 2009 to 2015 Aminata Cairo worked as an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, where she taught both cultural and medical anthropology. She specialized in introducing her students to the applied aspects of anthropology, and taught them to engage communities on numerous issues, while respecting and embracing the role of culture. Recently she has shifted from the classroom to the field, pursuing a career in developmental work mostly in Ghana and Suriname, while contributing to diversity policy issues at universities in the Netherlands.