Prof. Adriana Kaplan

Adriana Kaplan is a medical anthropologist, Director of Wassu-UAB Foundation and of the Chair of Knowledge Transfer, Professor of the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) and Principal Investigator of the Interdisciplinary Group for the Prevention and Study of Harmful Traditional Practices (IGPS/HTP) of the UAB.

Her research path started in 1987, when she inaugurated a pioneer line of research at the UAB. On the framework of the migratory movements from Sub-Saharan Africa toward Spain, she conducted an anthropological analysis of the processes of acculturation and social integration in the field of sexual and reproductive health, focusing on the study and prevention of FGM/C from a longitudinal, circular, transnational and gender perspective. Her ethnographic work in The Gambia, Senegal and Guinea-Bissau resulted in the publication of "De Senegambia a Cataluña: procesos de aculturación e integración social" (1998) ("From Senegambia to Catalonia: processes of acculturation and social integration), which was awarded the X Prize of Research on Social Sciences Dr. Rogeli Duocastella from Fundació "la Caixa".

Due to her integration in the communities, Adriana Kaplan gained a deep understanding of their beliefs, values, practices and conceptions of the world. She comprehended that FGM/C was embedded in a complex framework of social and religious symbolisms which grant status, ethnic and gender identities, as well as social recognition and a sense of belonging, and realized that any strategy for prevention should acknowledge this social and cultural meaning.

Committed with the conquest of girls and women's rights, she engaged in the development of a sustainable, culturally respectful and evidence-based methodology for FGM/C management and prevention.

In 1999, she created the NGO Wassu Gambia Kafo, and in 2003 the research group IGPS/HTP, hosted by the UAB. In 2008, Fundació "la Caixa" sponsored the establishment of the "Transnational Observatory of Applied Research to New Strategies for the Prevention of FGM/C", integrating the two research teams in The Gambia and in Spain. The Wassu-UAB Foundation, created in 2012, is the project's most recent consolidation step.

Her work has been shared in various scientific publications and video-documentaries. In recognition of her career path, she has been awarded the Chair of Social Knowledge Transfer Parc de Recerca UAB-Santander (2009); selected by the Catalan Association of Scientific Communication (2010) as one of the 16 scientific Catalan of excellence; and invited to integrate the Islamic Women's Shura Council in New York as a scientific member (2011). Her extensive ethnographic work in Africa has earned the recognition of being included in the "99 classic works of anthropologists in the world" by CIESAS, the Center for Research and Higher Studies in Social Anthropology in Mexico (2013).

Awards and Grants

1998: X Award in Social Sciences Dr. Rogeli Duocastella Fundació "la Caixa"

2003: Elite Research Grant Ramón y Cajal, Ministry of Education and Science

2008: VII International Navarra Award to Solidarity

2009: Chair of Social Knowledge Transfer, Parc de Recerca UAB-Santander

2014: Recognition for her struggle over 20 years ago against FGM on the occasion of November 25, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, by the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality