Chair in Management of Diversity and Integration at VU University Amsterdam

Advocating a more differentiated view of migrants

Halleh Ghorashi, aged 44 
Graduated in 1994
Chair in Management of Diversity and Integration at the Department of Culture, Organization and Management, VU University Amsterdam

Photo: Soraya Ebrahimi

Immediately after coming to The Netherlands, Halleh Ghorashi wanted to go to university. In her home country, Iran, her university ambition was suppressed and because of her political background she wasn’t allowed to study. She decided to study Cultural Anthropology and soon realized this was exactly the sort of programme that she was looking for: it deals with cultures, cultural processes and power relations. “The programme was an enrichment, the atmosphere was very special and the people very open. You learn about other cultures, not to judge and to have respect for others.”

Halleh was especially interested in scientific research and got more and more involved in the university and the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology. Halleh was a secretary for the Department while she was studying, took part in the teaching committee and was a student representative in the Department’s meetings. She learned a lot about the world of anthropological research and soon everyone agreed that Halleh was an active student, eager to learn. After her graduation she took her PhD project in Nijmegen and even before that she was assigned as a university lecturer with the Department of Culture, Organization and Management at VU University.

The year of 2005 was good: Halleh received the VU Teaching Award and became Chair in Management of Diversity and Integration. For this chair, she focuses her study on the position of migrant women in Dutch society. The aim of the research is to create a more open minded and differentiated image about migrants and migrant women.

According to Halleh, Cultural Anthropology gives you a variety of possibilities for your future, because the knowledge of how people interact comes in handy everywhere. For her, the great effort she made, her social network and a little luck helped her get where she wanted. “Know what you want and where your heart is, and go for it. Then you’ll always land right.”