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Dr Tana Joseph has been named coordinator of the Netherlands Astronomy Equity and Inclusion Committee (NAEIC), which advises the Dutch Astronomy Council. Made up of astronomers and astronomical engineers from all astronomy institutes, departments and organisations in the Netherlands, the NAEIC is led by Dr Samaya Nissanke (University of Amsterdam), its independent chair.

Portrait showing a smiling black woman wearing a red shirt and a black suit jacket.
Dr. Tana Joseph

The NAEIC is delighted with its new coordinator. Chair Samaya Nissanke: 'In Tana Joseph, we have found an outstanding candidate who is a professional astronomer and an expert in the field of binary stars in other galaxies. Dr Joseph is also a world-famous academic in the field of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI), a subject on which she has given dozens of presentations, interviews and training sessions across the world.'

Prof. Michael Wise (Director of the Netherlands Institute for Space Research/SRON and Chair of the Dutch Astronomy Council): 'From a pool of strong candidates, Joseph emerged as the clear front-runner. She combines an extensive background in both astronomical research and EDI work with a comprehensive vision for improving EDI in Dutch astronomy.'

Tana Joseph is honoured to have been appointed and is looking forward to embarking on her new role as Equity, Diversity & Inclusion coordinator for the Dutch astronomy community: 'I look forward to working with colleagues in making astronomy in the Netherlands a safer, fairer and more exclusive place, in which all our researchers can thrive.'

The astronomy community in the Netherlands is relatively small and close-knit, made up of people from many different cultures and backgrounds. When, in 2019, Samaya Nissanke heard that a number of students and early-career researchers had concerns about representation and inclusion, she decided to establish the Netherlands Astronomy Equity and Inclusion Committee.

The NAEIC advises the Dutch Astronomy Council, provides support and advice to Dutch astronomy students and astronomers on the subject of EDI and undertakes activities aimed at making the astronomy community in the Netherlands fairer and more inclusive.

The NAEIC has already initiated various activities, including writing and promoting statements relating to EDI issues, organising training courses and launching a series of lectures. However, none of the committee members had any solid EDI expertise or training, which was felt to be a lack of crucial expertise. The committee members also work voluntarily alongside their professional careers in Dutch astronomy, which leaves them little time to spare. Nissanke: 'in order to achieve optimum effectiveness, the NAEIC now has a dedicated EDI officer with expertise and experience in this field who is capable of leading and directing the committee's endeavours.'