Foundation for Indian Diaspora in Europe


Registration deadline 24th September

Prof. Chandersen E.S. Choenni was born on April 30 in 1953 in Suriname and is a fourth generation PIO. The Surinamese Indian PIO’s are descendants of the 34.000 indentured laborers, who were mostly made to migrate from British India to the Dutch Colony Suriname between 1873 and 1916. These descendants are labeled Hindustanis and many have settled in The Netherlands. Prof. Choenni came to the Netherlands in 1972 for further study. He studied political science and philosophy of science at the University of Amsterdam. His M.A. thesis was entitled ‘Indians and politics; a comparison between Trinidad, Guyana and Suriname’. He was a social researcher at the University of Leiden. The main theme was research on ethnic minorities. Prof. Choenni also worked for various national organizations and the National Bureau Against Racial Discrimination. His background and expertise made him an opinion leader on ethnic minorities in the Netherlands.

In 1995, he received his Ph.D. at the University of Utrecht with his dissertation on ‘Integration in the Dutch Armed Forces’. Prof. Choenni was a research manager for a private company and, in 1998, he was appointed as a civil servant in the national government. He served as coordinator and advisor in four Ministries, primarily as an
expert on (ethnic) Integration policy. He was also a member of different (advisory) Boards and Councils. Prof. Choenni has published several books and articles about Hindustanis in Suriname and in the Netherlands. Since September 2010 he holds the Endowed Chair Lalla Rookh at the Free University Amsterdam. The main themes of the Lalla Rookh Chair are Hindustani migration and history and the Indian Diaspora. Prof. Choenni has recently finished a study about the history of the Hindustanis in Suriname.


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