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Prof.dr. Sawitri Saharso

Sawitri Saharso

Professor of Citizenship and Moral Diversity




Sawitri Saharso is holding a chair in Citizenship and Moral Diversity at University of Humanistic Studies and ia managing Director of the Graduate School, next to her position as associate professor in the Department of Sociology at the VU University Amsterdam., where she coordinates the research program Identity, Diversity and Inclusion
She studied sociology at the University of Amsterdam and defended her PhD thesis at the same University in 1992. In her PhD research she was interested in a possible shared identity and mutual solidarity developing among young people of different ethnic background growing up in multicultural Dutch society and in the ways education can enhance this process.

Sawitri Saharso is specialized in the area of migration and integration with a special focus on gender relations. She was visiting professor  ‘Democracy and Difference in Europe’ at the University of Vienna, Austria. She is editor-in-chief of Comparative Migration Studies

Her current research focuses on the increased moral diversity in society related to migration and on the implications for central values and practices in (medical) health contexts.


Current projects

Ethical dilemmas in multicultural medical contexts: towards a gender and culturally sensitive bioethical framework
In a society marked by ethnic diversity health workers are increasingly confronted with patients who hold diverse moral values in particular regarding gender and sexuality, which may lead to moral dilemmas. This project aims to develop a gender and culture sensitive bioethical framework that addresses the moral dilemmas of health professionals and takes into account the moral perspectives of the women concerned. 

Taking care of caregivers (ZonMW Memorabel)
(Co-applicant. Applicant: Pharos Expertise Centre Health Disparities)
Over 10% of dementia patients in the Netherlands have migrant backgrounds and this percentage is increasing. Taking care of dementia patients is intensive, especially for migrant informal carers who often know little about dementia. In the general population 1 in 6 informal carers feels overburdened (Dementiemonitor Mantelzorg 2016, NIVEL). This project studies for caregivers of migrant background caring for a person with dementia: What are elements for successful sharing of care and how could these be stimulated and improved? What tools and interventions are needed to achieve awareness and improvement of sharing care?

Toward a healthy psychosocial adjustment of diverse foster children: Practical guidance with religious normative dilemmas in Dutch foster care (ZonMW Ethiek & Gezondheid)
(Co-applicant. Programleader: dr. D. van Bergen, UHD Interculturele Pedagogiek, RUG.)
A substantial, and growing group of foster children in The Netherlands lives with a religiously non-matched foster family. This project examines how the best interest of foster children who grow up in non-matched religious placements can be safeguarded in order to provide them with a healthy psychosocial adjustment.

Ancillary activities

International networks and activities

  • Founder and since 2013 editor-in-chief Comparative  Migration Studies.
  • Member of the IMISCOE Research Network.