You are here

New
initiative

Oris Sanjur collaborates in the creation of the Office of Diversity of the Smithsonian Institute

May 26, 2023

The Panamanian scientist provides support to establish the new office designated to work on topics of inclusion and equity for the institute’s internal community globally. 

Dr. Oris Sanjur of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) is now acting Deputy Director of the new Office of Diversity, officially launched on May 8, at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C.

Sanjur, who is a graduate of the University of Panama and received her Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from Rutgers University, has been with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute since 1998. Between 2020 and 2021, she served as interim director of STRI, becoming the first woman and Panamanian to hold the position.

Now, as interim deputy director of the Smithsonian Institution's Office of Diversity, working in conjunction with Chief Diversity Officer Beth Ziebarth, Sanjur has the opportunity to collaborate in another part of the institution. This office is intended to work with the internal Smithsonian Institution community to establish policies and guidelines to ensure inclusivity and diversity within the institution.

Meroe Park, Deputy Secretary and Chief Operating Officer, and Oris Sanjur, Acting Deputy Director, Office of Diversity during the launch of SI’s Office of Diversity. Credit: Linette Dutari/Smithsonian.

"The Diversity office was created with the goal of supporting and fostering a culturally inclusive workplace that reflects our external leadership on equity issues," shares Sanjur. "This office seeks to build a sustainable, staff-owned DEAI program, informed by our collective lived experiences, and driven by the goal of equity of opportunity, inclusion and recognition."

"I was designated to support Beth Ziebarth in establishing the office based on the experience we have had at STRI of working in diverse communities," she adds. "We are looking to enhance the internal culture of diversity, inclusion, equity and accessibility throughout the institution, and raise awareness of the importance of the DEAI program in different processes and in our communities."

The Office of Diversity is part of the Smithsonian Institution's forward-looking strategy and vision to build community and staff engagement across the institution and transform the way it connects with its audiences nationally and globally. Sitting from left to rightAlma Douglas – Program Specialist SITES Affiliations, Shahin Nemaze – Equal Opportunity Specialist OEESD, Caroline Fiertz- Interns and Fellows Manager NMAH, Michelle Cook – Inclusive Design Specialist, Beth Ziebarth – Head Diversity Officer. Standing from left to rightAshley Grady - Access Smithsonian Senior Program Specialist, Meroe Park – Deputy Secretary and Chief Operating Officer, Oris Sanjur – Acting Deputy Director, Office of Diversity, Melanie Adams – Director Anacostia Community Museum. Credit: Smithsonian Institution.

The Office of Diversity is part of the Smithsonian Institution's forward-looking strategy and vision to build community and staff engagement across the institution and transform the way it connects with its audiences nationally and globally.

STRI has an Office of Diversity, led by Ernesto Cole as Diversity Manager, who since January 2023 has worked closely with the Chief Diversity Officer at the Smithsonian Institution to develop local strategies to improve equity, inclusion, diversity, and accessibility in STRI units and across all of its processes. Among the first activities promoted by this office, STRI will be participating for the first time in the LGBTIQ+ pride parade, World Pride Panama Parade, which will be held on July 1 in Panama City, Panama.

"For STRI it is important to attend the World Pride Panama Parade because it is a clear message of support and inclusivity to our employees, affiliates and the community at large," shared Cole. "It demonstrates our commitment to creating an inclusive workplace culture, where everyone is accepted and respected, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Our participation shows our dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion as core values. Plus, it's a fun and celebratory event that can bring people together and promote unity and a sense of community.”

Back to Top