“Those of us with educational privilege have the– Aminata Cairo
responsibility to help somebody else out.“
Born and raised in the Netherlands to Surinamese parents, she left for the US to pursue her college education. She obtained a dual Bachelor in Psychology and Physical Education, Master’s Degrees in Clinical Psychology and Medical Anthropology and a Ph.D. in Medical Anthropology. Her passion is to use her academic skills to positively impact communities. She has done extensive community work in the Netherlands, U.S., Suriname, and Ghana. She founded her own multi-cultural dance company Sabi Diri, so be it in Kentucky, with which she performed throughout the United States and as far as Suriname. As a university professor she committed herself to upholding her students and promoting their sense of commitment and responsibility to the larger community. She brought students to Suriname and Ghana for which she received the International Education Faculty Achievement Award in 2013. She is the only scholar to have written about traditional Afro-Surinamese dance and received a Fulbright Fellowship in 2015 to further pursue this research.
In 2017 she became the first and only Lector (research professor) of African descent in the Applied University system in the Netherlands with a focus on Inclusive Education. Since then she has become a sought after speaker and consultant on diversity and inclusion issues. She received 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. She is a mother, daughter, sister and Lyman T. Johnson Scholar. Her work is always grounded in the spiritual and cultural traditions of her Native American godmother and her Surinamese heritage.