Aminata Cairo is an anthropologist, psychologist, educator, storyteller, “love-worker”. She is an independent consultant “who works with people”. She is the former lector of Inclusive Education at The Hague University of Applied Sciences. She was the first and only lector of African descent in the Netherlands. Born and raised in the Netherlands to Surinamese parents, she left for the US to pursue her college education. She obtained Master’s Degrees in Clinical Psychology and Medical Anthropology and a Ph.D. in Medical Anthropology. As an international woman of color she experienced firsthand the challenges of diversity and inclusion. In her applied anthropological work with students, education and community organizations she has continually strived to promote inclusion at both the academic and the community level. She received the International Education Faculty Achievement Award and the Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian award at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in 2013 for her efforts. In 2016 she received the Honorary Order of the Palm, a state decoration by the Government of Suriname for her contribution in culture.
Her first book will be published in June 2021; Holding Space: A Storytelling Approach to Trampling Diversity and Inclusion In Holding Space Aminata Cairo presents her own, unique vision in the promotion of inclusion that far surpasses the standard diversity & inclusion approach. She grounds her work in indigenous knowledge, the blues aesthetics, holy hip hop, and Caribbean and black feminist theories. She engages her audience utilizing storytelling, with the ultimate goal of creating a new story, collectively. Her book presentation utilizes readings, song, and dance to challenge the audience to take a closer look at themselves and each other, raising the question of what it really takes to collectively create an environment of equality and validation. It is about us, all of us, is her message, as she forces us to feel, hear, and own that.