Diversity & Inclusion Award

Icon Diversity & Inclusion Award

Utrecht University strives for more diversity and inclusion among its students and employees. There is still much to be achieved, but students and employees have already come up with great initiatives that contribute to an even more diverse and inclusive university. The university thinks that these initiatives deserve attention and appreciation. This is the aim of the annual Diversity & Inclusion Award, which was installed in 2019.

Anyone can nominate students, employees or teams that devote themselves to increasing diversity and inclusion within Utrecht University. Initiatives from all fields are welcomed. Think for example of ethnicity, class, belief, disability, LGBTIQ+ and the intersections between these fields.


  • Nominee(s) must has/have undertaken significant effort to improve diversity and inclusion within Utrecht University and maintain this improvement for at least one year;
  • The nomination states what the initiative and/or contribution of the nominee or nominees is and whether or not there are any known results;
  • The nomination must be accompanied by at least two separate reference letters. A reference letter is written by an employee or student from Utrecht University. The content of the letter clarifies why, according to the writer, the nominee(s) has/have earned the Diversity & Inclusion Award. A reference letter is preferably no longer than 1 A4.

The Committee pays special attention to the innovative aspects, continuity and unifying qualities of the nominations. Furthermore, the Committee will assess whether the nominations are in line with the Strategy and Action Plan 2021-2025.

The winner will receive the Diversity & Inclusion Award and a sum of €2,500, which can be used for diversity improvement within Utrecht University.

Winner 2023: Charisma Hehakaya

portretfoto charisma hehakaya
Charisma Hehakaya. Photo: Henja Kooijman

Charisma Hehakaya, PhD candidate at the division Imaging & Oncology of UMC Utrecht, is the winner of the Diversity & Inclusion Award 2023. She is the founder of the First Generation Fund and the University Pioneers network. The First Generation Fund offers financial support to first generation students. The University Pioneers community helps first generation students find their way in student life and make the most of their talents. At the presentation of the award, Diversity Dean Janneke Plantinga voiced the jury’s admiration for Charisma’s great commitment for creating visibility for first generation students. It is a large group, approximately one third of all students at Utrecht University. For them, an academic study is not a given. Within just a bit more than a year, more than twenty students have already received a financial contribution from the First Generation Fund for their textbooks or a laptop, or for a stay at a university abroad.