SPEAKERS’ BIOGRAPHIES

 

Radhika AGARWAL Radhika is one of the founding member of v-shesh’s disability inclusion services that serves Persons with Disabilities and Organisations. Listed on the inaugural Global Diversity List, v-shesh has recently been recognized with the National Award for Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, by the President of India. Radhika has been part of design, development and roll-out of v-shesh’s innovative efforts including our train and hire programme that has gained rapid acceptance in IT, Business Processing and Hospitality sectors. She is an accomplished business professional with experience in the software field, having worked with the Tata Group and Patni Computers.
Mired Raad Z. AL-HUSSEIN His Royal Highness Prince Mired Raad Zeid Al-Hussein earned a BA degree from Tufts University, a MA degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and a M.Phil. degree in Historical Studies from Cambridge University. He was the President of the 8th Meeting of States Parties to the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention (APMBC), and serves as the Special Envoy for the universalization of the APMBC. He is the Chairman of the National Committee for Demining & Rehabilitation, the President of the Hashemite Commission for Disabled Soldiers and the President of the Higher Council for the Affairs of Persons with Disabilities (HCD).
Heidi ALASKARY Heidi A. Alaskary, PhD/CCC-SLP is director of employment of persons with disabilities at Human Resources Development Fund where she works on a country level on service programs that lead to suitable and sustainable employment. Prior to this she was the Director of Research Affairs at King Salman Center for Disability Research where she was an administrator, fundraiser, educator, researcher, and advocate. She has also worked as a speech-language pathologist in both public and private settings establishing services. She developed presentations and workshops designed to generate support for individuals with various disabilities. She has been a keynote speaker in local and regional events including TEDx Arabia and United Nations.
John ALEX After graduating in Agriculture & Rural development, he started his career as a Group II Gazetted Officer in Tamil Nadu State Government and served as Extension Officer (Agri) & Block Development Officer in the State Government from 1979 to 1983. Joined Indian Overseas Bank, a Public Sector Bank as a Probationary Officer from 1983 to 2008 Joined the Management Team of Equitas in 2008 and conceptualized and set up the team for Social Initiatives with a clear focus to address a larger spectrum of requirements of clients in the field of Health, Education, Skill Development, Inclusive model for persons with disability etc.
Ola Abu ALGHAIB Ola Abu Alghaib is Heading the Policy and Influencing unit at Leonard Cheshire Disability in London. Ola has almost two decades’ experience in the field of disability, development, and inclusive social policies in LMICs. Her responsibilities have encompassed policy analysis, program design , management and evaluation, formulation of advocacy strategies, capacity development, extensive use of qualitative methods, and research with the World Bank ,UN agencies (WHO, ILO, UNESCO), NGOs (including DPOs) and INGOs . Has been a member of advisory bodies to support governments in social policy reform; recently involved in providing technical expertise around effective reforms towards inclusive social protection policies. She is completing her PhD on Social Protection and Disability in LMICs.
Colin ALLEN As a deaf person who has used Australian Sign Language (Auslan) since birth, Colin has had the opportunity to advance the human rights of deaf people and more broadly people with disability. Since 2011, Colin has been a board member of the International Disability Alliance and is currently the Chair. He has also had extensive involvement with the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) since 2003 and in 2011 was appointed WFD President. His long involvement with local Deaf Community groups in Sydney commenced when he was 13 years old and includes serving as a board member of Deaf Australia from 1987-1999 and then President for a nine year period.
Natalia AMELINA Natalia Amelina, Ph.D., UNESCO IITE programme specialist. She has experience of more than 20 years in pedagogics. Natalia Amelina is an author of more than 30 publications in the field of education. Working for UNESCO IITE Mrs. Amelina participated in the international projects and being the expert and the co-author of training materials; she took part and organized many international and national conferences, carried out a large number of meetings and the training seminars on promoting ICT for inclusive education.
Silvia APOSTOL Silvia Apostol is the director of IM Swedish Development Partner in Moldova, an international organisation building partnerships with local civil society actors with a view to promote the rights of persons with disabilities. She has around 15 years’ experience in the development field, including as part of the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and UNDP. This includes broader civil society development and democratisation, regional development, social and economic policies. Silvia holds a MSc degree in Development Management from the UK Open University.
Madleine AZMY Dr Madleine Azmy is a medical doctor General Supervisor SETI (Support Education, Training for Inclusion) Caritas Egypt. She received her MS in Community Disability Studies, University College London; a Humphrey Fellowship, Tulane University, USA; a PhD degree, Higher Institute of Childhood Studies, Ain Shams University, Cairo. She has experience Family and Community Based Rehabilitation CBR activities for over 15 years to include children with disabilities in community services and employ youth with disabilities in rural and urban areas. She evaluated CBR programs in Egypt and Sudan.
Katya BALEN Katya Balen is a co-director of Mainspring Arts. She lives in the UK and is passionate about ensuring that the voices and experiences of neurodivergent people are represented in the arts. Mainspring Arts is a new and innovative organisation that works across artistic disciplines to provide opportunities for neurodivergent people. We do this by facilitating workshops to develop participants’ skills, providing mentoring by industry leaders, and producing professional-standard publications, performances and showcases.
Silvia BALMAS Silvia has been working in European Foundation Centre EFC from May 2012. Since 2014 she coordinates the EFC Disability Thematic Network, advancing the collaborative work and peer learning of foundation in disability issues. She closely collaborate with the Zero Project, promoting it within the philanthropic organizations and international networks. Besides this she also coordinates the EFC Integration, migration and Diversity Thematic Network. Silvia holds a master in International Relations and European Studies she both studied in Italy (University of Turin) and Spain (university of Malaga). Before EFC, she worked in Brazil and UK in the cooperation and development and in the educational sectors.
Daniela BAS Ms. Daniela Bas is the Director of the Division for Social Policy and Development at the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. In addition to her work at the United Nations from 1986 to 1995, she was adviser for the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and for the Presidency of the Council of Ministers on human rights and social affairs. She was a member of the Board of Directors of the European Union Agency of Fundamental Rights; and at the European Union, she was representative on the topic “Tourism for All” on behalf of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers of her country.
Jana BAUER After completing her degree in psychology, Jana Bauer joined the team at the chair of Labour and Vocational Rehabilitation at the University of Cologne as a researcher. She is in charge of the nationwide coordination and evaluation of the PROMI project. One of her main research focuses is the inclusive university. Besides her interests include healthy leadership, mental health and stress reduction in working life as well as disclosure of invisible disabilities at work.
Richard BERNSTEIN Justice Richard Bernstein became the first elected blind justice to the Michigan Supreme Court in November 2014. Prior to being elected to Michigan’s highest court, Justice Bernstein was known as a tireless advocate for disabled rights heading the public service division for The Sam Bernstein Law Firm. Blind since birth, Justice Bernstein is a graduate of the University of Michigan and earned his JD from Northwestern University School of Law. In his spare time, Justice Bernstein is an avid runner, completing 20 marathons— including eleven New York City marathons, a full Ironman triathlon, and a half Ironman.
Thomas BEZUIDENHOUT Thomas Bezuidenhout is the General Manager of Training Workshops Unlimited, a best practice employment project of Cape Mental Health. He has a diploma in production management, post-graduate diploma in management and is busy with a Master’s Degree in Business Administration. The CMH Employee of the Year Award was bestowed on him in 2015; under his leadership TWU was awarded a Western Cape Ministerial Youth Excellence Gold Award and a Hamlet Foundation President’s Award for excellence in developing persons with intellectual disability.
Vashkar BHATTACHARJEE Vashkar Bhattacharjee is a person with visual disibility, working in Young Power in Social Action (YPSA). He serves as a focal person for DAISY in Bangladesh.He is a founder of Federation of DPO’s Sitakund. He is the second vice president of the GAATES (Global Alliance on Accessible Technologies and Environments). He is the focal person of Accessible Book Consortium, WIPO in Bangladesh. He is working as a national consultant (Accessibility) at Access to Information (A2I) Program, Prime Minister’s Office. He completed M.A from university of Chittagong and attended Duskin Leadership Training in Japan.
Gaétane BLEHER Gaétane Bléher is the Inclusive Employment Technical Advisor for Handicap International, Lyon, France. She supports projects in around 25 countries across Africa, Middle East, Caribbean and Latin America. Her expertise include microenterprises development, vocational training and job placement for people with disabilities and other marginalised people; and support to employment services and corporates to become more inclusive. Prior to work for INGOs in 2010, Gaétane was a business coach for ADIE, the main French Microfinance Institution. She also had her own small business in cheese processing in Chad.
Jamie BOLLING Mrs. Jamie Bolling is the executive director of ENIL – The European Network on Independent Living. She was a member of the European Fundamental Rights Platform’s Advisory Panel from 2010 – 2014. Jamie has been the co-chair of the European Expert Group on the Transition from institutional to community based care from September 2016. She has work experience in disability research, international development cooperation as well as other areas concerning disability issues. Combining her experience in politics as a county counselor and from different appointments at local, regional, national and EU level, with her vast knowledge of the international disability movement Jamie works for progress in Independent Living issues and policy.
Maria Jose CABEZUDO Ms. Cabezudo Cuevas is one of the founders and the current President of Fundación Saraki in Paraguay. She is a democratically elected member of the National Commission for Disability (CONADIS for its acronym in Spanish). She is a promoter of collaborative work among Civil Society, the State, and the Private Sector, and has participated in the passage and modification of public policies and laws related to disability. She has been a speaker in several congresses and conferences specialized in inclusion.
Caroline CASEY Caroline, an award-winning social entrepreneur is both an adventurer and a businesswoman. Subject of the National Geographic Documentary Elephant Vision, Ashoka Fellow, Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, TED speaker and unwavering campaigner, Caroline has been committed to building a global movement on inclusive business to build an equal society for the 1 billion people in the world with a disability. Caroline’s mission is to collaborate with some of the world’s leading organisations identifying what she refers to as “The New Green” – the new business imperative for success – Inclusive Business.
Shuaib CHALKLEN Shuaib Chalklen is the founder and current chairperson of the African Disability Forum, a continental organization representing the voice of Africans with all disabilities. He was appointed as Special Rapporteur on Disability from 2009 to 2014. In 2003, he founded the Secretariat for the African Decade of Disabled Persons where he held the position of Chief Executive Officer until 2006. In the past, Mr. Chalklen has held a number of central positions in the field of disability, governance and administration at the national, regional and global level. He has worked closely with the United Nations, the World Bank, as well as bilateral donor countries in Europe and other regions.
Oksana CHUCHUNKOVA Oksana Chuchunkova served as the head of the PR department of the Business Center for Blind and Visually Impaired Persons in Moscow, Russia from 2009 to 2011. In 2013, she began working at Perspektiva as a job coach in their competitive employment program, and she’s one of the key employment program coordinators. Her role is to communicate with members of the business community or potential employers in order to connect them with job seekers with disabilities. Oksana also works closely with members of the business community, which provides pro bono coaching and training and other support for job seekers with disabilities; to implement innovative career programs for job seekers with disabilities.
Suzanne COLBERT Suzanne is the founding Chief Executive of the Australian Network on Disability (AND). Under Suzanne’s leadership, AND has initiated many innovative and impactful solutions, including the groundbreaking Stepping Into program, matching talented graduates with disability to paid internship opportunities. Suzanne started her work in the disability sector 27 years ago. She has participated in many advisory groups to Federal and State Governments and is a ‘field expert’ for the International Labor Organisation’s Global Business and Disability Network. In 2010, Suzanne was awarded an AM in the Australia Day Honours list.
James CROWE Jim Crowe has been Director of Learning Disability Wales for over 28 years. He has also been recently elected as President of the European Association of Service Providers for People with Disabilities (EASPD). For 12 years Jim has chaired Conduct and Competence Hearings for the UK Nursing and Midwifery Council and for the Care Council for Wales. Jim has served on numerous Welsh Government advisory groups and committees. Jim and his team have extensive experience in leading and participating in projects within Wales, across the UK and with European partners. Jim has an M.A. History from University College of Wales, Aberystwyth.
Lisa CULBERTSON Employment Director Upper Valley Services, Bradford VT: For the past twenty- two years, it has been her life mission to bring together best practices of Supported Employment, education and awareness to individuals, staff and community businesses. She oversees employment for three office locations across the state of Vermont. She is a Certified Employment Support Professional accredited by National APSE, as well as a Qualified Developmental Disability Professional accredited by the State of Vermont. Let’s get working!
Bryan DAGUE Dr. Bryan Dague, Ed.D., CRC has been employed at the University of Vermont-Center on Disability & Community Inclusion for the past 25 years providing training and technical assistance in the areas of supported employment and transition for people with disabilities. In 2006, Bryan earned his doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Vermont. Dr. Dague has provided training and consulting on the conversion of sheltered workshops to community-based employment. Bryan is the current program director for Think College at the University of Vermont, a college certificate program for youth with developmental and intellectual disabilities.
Marna DE BRUYN Marna de Bruyn works as the full-time employment manager at The Living Link. She is qualified as an occupational therapist with a Master’s degree from the University of Brighton in the UK. She currently uses the model of supported employment to place adults with intellectual disabilities in suitable open labour market positions. Her role includes meeting with employers, analysing potential jobs and offering post-placement job coaching. She is also involved in pre-vocational training at The Living Link as a personal empowerment facilitator. Her professional interest is centred on the socio-economic empowerment of people with disabilities, specifically in the open labour market.
Undere DEGLON In 2006, she headed the Working Committe for the International Labour Organisation’s multi-country study (Zambia, Swaziland, Malawi and South Africa) with the purpose to understand ‘Strategies for skills acquisition and work for people with disabilities’. Undere spearheaded the Careers for youths with disabilities in South Africa (CYDISA) programme, funded by the Danish Foreign Ministry. Its success led to the conceptualisation of the 2% Disability Employment Campaign with an associeted tartget of training 1700 people and placing 1200 people with disabilities into employment all over South Africa. Undere serves on the Presidential Working Group on Disability in South Africa.
Retta Getachew DEMISSE Retta Getachew is a 35 years old man who is currently the Executive Director of the Ethiopian Center for Disability and Development (ECDD), a local charity working on disability inclusion. Mr. Retta secured his Bachelor degree in English in 2003 and served for more than 4 years as an English lecturer in various higher education institutions. He finished his graduate school in Social Work in 2009 and has worked for ECDD for the past 8 years in various capacities including in leadership positions. Mr. Retta is passionate about the inclusion of persons with disabilities in all development endeavors.
Heidemarie EGGER Heidemarie Egger is the program manager of the DisAbility Talent Program at DisAbility Performance, where she enables students with disabilities to pursue their career. A graduate in communications, she worked as PR-manager at Career Moves, an inclusive online job-platform for people with disabilities. In spring 2016 she started to implement the innovative DisAbility Talent Program.
Irad EICHLER Irad Eichler, lives in a kibbutz, married+4, Serial social entrepreneur, Was announced by the world economic forum as a social entrepreneur of the year 2008, founder and chairperson of “Shekulo Tov”, Israeli leading organization for vocational recovery, founder of “7chairs”, a platform for text support groups, founder of “Israeli social business school”, Israeli third age festival and a podcaster.
Silvana EL LAKKIS Ms. Lakkis is the Second vice chair of Disabled People’s International and the Chair of the Arab Forum for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (AFRPD)/The Regional Office of Disabled People’s International (DPI). She is also the President and CEO of the Lebanese Physical Handicapped Union (LPHU). Between the years 2008 to 2012, she was appointed as a disability advisor for the Minister of Social Affairs in Lebanon. Ms. Lakkis is also recognized as a disability rights expert internationally by several agencies such as the International Labour Organization, The Employers Forum on Disability, The Zero Project Initiative, Civicus, The World Congress on Inclusive Tourism, and many others.
Amena EL-SAIE Amena El-¬Saie is the Co-founder and CEO for Helm Egypt Foundation, a position she held since Helm was founded in 2014. In addition to promoting social inclusion for Persons with Disabilities in Egypt, Helm builds partnerships with different stakeholders to break down barriers towards the full participation of Egyptians with disabilities. Amena is certified by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency in Barrier-free Environments in Japan. She was also awarded the Total Start-Upper of the Year for Helm in 2016. She was selected to be one of the top 5 social enterprises in Egypt by RISE Egypt, USA.
Martin ESSL Martin Essl is an entrepreneur, coming from an entrepreneurial family in Austria that is also well-known for its dedication to social responsibility and modern arts. Martin and Gerda Essl, together with their children, established the Essl Foundation in 2007. The Essl Foundation supports social innovation and social entrepreneurs, with a focus on persons with disabilities and employment. Currently the main project of the foundation is the Zero Project. The Essl Foundation is also a member of the Sinnstifter, a joint initiative that co-finance social innovations and of the Disability Thematic Network Group within the European Foundation Centre (EFC). Martin Essl supports Ashoka Austria and has co-initiated the “House of Philanthropy”, a co-working space for charitable foundations in Vienna.
Michael FEMBEK After graduating from the Vienna University of Economics, Michael Fembek (born 1961) joined GEWINN, an Austrian business magazine, serving between 2000 and 2007 as editor-in-chief. In 2009 he initiated “Sinnstifter”, a project by Austrian philanthropists, and started the Austrian CSR-Yearbook. In 2010 he joined the Essl Foundation as programme manager – with the Zero Project and the Essl Social Prize as its outstanding projects – and the bauMax group as its Head of Social Affairs. In 2014, he initiated the Verband für Gemeinnütziges Stiften, the Austrian philanthropic association, where he serves as Vice President. In 2015, he became the Chair of the Thematic Group on Disabilities within the European Foundation Centre, where seven European foundations work together.
Peter FREMLIN Peter Fremlin works an independent consultant on disability issues. Over the past few years he has advised ILO and UNDP in Bangladesh, Switzerland, and other locations. His work includes mainstreaming of disability issues into policy and programmes, with an especial focus on promoting employment and livelihoods of persons with disabilities.
Walburga FROEHLICH Walburga Fröhlich is co-founder and CEO of the social enterprise „atempo“. atempo supports disabled people to live as self-determined members of society with all rights of citizens. The offers of atempo are disseminated throughout a social franchise network in Germany and Austria. They developed the very useful “capito-App” for the distribution of easy to read information via QR-Code. Walburga Fröhlich has a Master’s degree in social work and social management and works with people with learning difficulties and disabilities for more than 25 years.
Peter FURLONG Peter Furlong is a service manager for the KARE organisation who provides services for adults and children in the Kildare, West Wicklow area in the Republic of Ireland. Peter is the manager of KARE’s Supported Employment Service and is the lead person from KARE in their partnership with Naas General Hospital for Project SEARCH. Peter holds a degree in Training and Education from NUI Galway. Peter is a member of the National Executive of the Irish Association of Supported Employment. Peter is passionate about promoting employment for people with disabilities as the vehicle to gain further independence in their lives.
Samir GADGIL Samir Gadgil is currently the Vice President and Head HR- Wipro Business Process Services (BPS). Samir also heads the Diversity & Inclusivity Charter at Wipro Ltd, is Pune Location Head for Wipro and is one of the Trustees of Wipro Cares (CSR initiative of Wipro). In his previous role, he was the Global Head – Compensation and Benefits for Wipro Ltd for 6 yrs. A seasoned professional with nearly 20 years of experience, Samir has also worked with best-in-class Manufacturing, Consulting, Financial and IT Services Companies. Samir holds a Master’s degree in Personnel Management from the Symbiosis Institute of Business Management, and a Bachelor of Engineering (B.E.) from the Mumbai University.
Beata GAL-SZEKER After her graduation, Beata started her career in 2006 at IBM Hungary ISSC. Since then she gained hands-on experience in several business areas and in 2011 she initiated and is now leading a ground-breaking project to enhance the integration of people with disabilities in the company. She operates as the Diversity Focal of IBM Hungary ISSC. One of the integration projects led by her was awarded with the “Disability-friendly workplace Award” in Hungary in 2015. She is also a qualified sign language interpreter.
Don GALLANT Don Gallant is Principal Consultant with Don Gallant and Associates – a social policy and planning agency providing support and consultation to both public and private sectors so as to advance and promote social well-being and inclusion, especially for persons with disabilities. He has had a long-standing relationship with the community living movement and the Canadian Association for Community Living. He has served as CACL Senior Policy Advisor and for many years was the National Coordinator for the CACL Community Inclusion Initiative. At present, Mr. Gallant serves as National Director for the Ready Willing and Able initiative.
Paz GARCIA Director Psycho-Social Area Department Mutual de Seguridad C.Ch.C. Master in Development Management, Latin American Social Sciences Institute – FLACSO. Post graduate in Social Marketing and CSR, Catholic University of Chile.Social Worker, University of Concepción, Chile. Specialist in Inclusion and Human Development of vulnerable population. Leads social projects and research in the themes of labor and social inclusion of people with disabilities as a result of occupational accidents and diseases. Member of Health Care Ethics Committee of the institution.
Gopal GARG Gopal is the Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Youth4Jobs Foundation. As part of Youth4Jobs team in India, in last 5yrs he has delivered more than 200 disability sensitization workshops covering 2000+ corporate managers and senior management. Work closely with 300+ companies to co-create innovative workplace solutions to create employment opportunities for persons with disabilities. He was the founding team member of Employment Generation Mission, Government of Andhra Pradesh, India where he initiated innovative skill development and placement programs for the bottom of the pyramid youth. He has a Master’s degree in management and an Acumen India Fellow 2016.
Yogendra GIRI She started her professional career teaching Accounts to undergraduate students in 1997. She spent 10 years as a lecturer which helped her acquire skills on dealing with diverse groups. In 2003, she started working as a Child Rights Officer at Central Child Welfare Office of the Government of Nepal. Since 2008, She has been working with Karuna Foundation Nepal. She is the Program Director of the Inspire2Care project which aims to prevent childhood disabilities and rehabilitate persons with disabilities in their own communities. She is responsible to develop policies and strategies for implementation of the project. She has acquired strong knowledge in the sector through her own career experiences.
Joshua GOLDSTEIN Josh was part of the team that founded the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion in 2009. He was the vice president and program manager for the Center’s Financial Inclusion for Persons with Disabilities initiative. He also oversaw a partnership with five MFIs in India and the Indian disability support organization v-shesh, for which he received a national award from NCPDEP in August 2014. In addition to his work on disability, he is also a professional playwright, having taught playwriting at Boston University for 12 years. He serves on the Board of Fundación Capital and on the Leadership Council Action Team on Social Protection and Graduation Programs.
Thorsten GRAF Thorsten Graf is 43 years old, married and father of an 11-year-old daughter. For 17 years, he has been a member of a non-profit organization and responsible for the success of a socially oriented cooperation with Ikea. Originally, he learned a crafting profession, where he worked for several years. Through a voluntary social year he discovered the social sphere. After that, he strived to combine his profession with a social component. This is exactly what his employer allows him to do. By acquiring a special educational qualification, He is empowered to professionally support people with disabilities, and to work with them to develop career prospects.
Galia GRANOT Galia Granot is a Program Officer at the Ruderman Family Foundation, in charge of programs promoting the inclusion of people with disabilities. She holds an MA in Labor Studies from Tel Aviv University, and has over 15 years of experience initiating, developing and running social impact programs with NGO’s and philanthropic foundations. Galia specializes in building effective models and developing programs for underprivileged and marginalized populations, and has extensive experience in strategic philanthropy. She leads teams and develops partnerships, implements innovative projects and applies effective assessment and evaluation processes. Galia lives in Israel with her husband and four children.
Helen GREEN She is Director, Disability Employment Services, in the Department of Social Services in the capital city of Australia, Canberra. She has worked as an Australian Public Servant for 18 years and before that lectured in the Legal Studies Department in Perth, Western Australia. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Honours (Legal Studies) and a Master of Public Administration and is currently a part time PhD candidate. Her hobbies and interests include music, theatre, movies and travel. She is also an active member of the Canberra City Rotary Club.
Katherine GUERNSEY A public international lawyer, Ms. Guernsey has dedicated her career to the field of human rights, with particular focus on disability inclusive diplomacy and development. She was extensively involved in negotiation of the CRPD, providing counsel to both governmental and non-governmental delegations. She has numerous publications associated with the treaty and international disability law and policy, including several co-authored World Bank publications. From 2010-2017, she served as Senior Policy Adviser to the Special Advisor for International Disability Rights at the U.S. Department of State, promoting disability inclusive diplomacy as a priority in U.S. foreign policy.
Mohammad Monjurul HABIB Mohammad Monjurul Habib is a Nonprofit Management professional and also an Occupational Therapist. He has around ten years of working experience for the rehabilitation and the development of people with disabilities in Bangladesh. Mr. Habib is currently working as a Program Development Manager at the Center for Disability in Development (CDD), Bangladesh. His current responsibilities related to overall program development and management of the organization, for example, project development through grant writing, and strategic planning and management. Before his current job, Mr. Habib used to work as a Clinical Occupational Therapist and Lecturer in Occupational Therapy.
Julian M. HADSCHIEFF Julian M. Hadschieff is the founder and CEO of PremiQaMed Group, a leading private health care provider with five private hospitals in Austria. The group also includes a rehabilitation facility and a health centre as successful PPP projects with an Austrian Social Security provider. He is also the owner of HUMANOCARE Group, which operates several nursing homes, care centres for persons with special needs and rehabilitation facilities. As renowned expert of the Austrian health market he holds a number of functions in the Austrian chamber of commerce.
Ingrid HEINDORF Ingrid Heindorf is Human Rights Officer and Geneva Liaison Office Coordinator of the World Future Council and leads the Zero Project’s policy research and conference organisation since 2010. She has extensive expertise in project management, policy analysis, advocacy, networking and communications. Previously, she worked at the UNESCO Chair for Religious Pluralism and Peace, and collaborated with † Professor Pier Cesare Bori, Chair of Human Rights and Moral Philosophy, both at the University of Bologna. She holds a Master’s Degree (with honours) in International Relations.
Desmond HENRY As Careers & Employment Co-ordinator in WALK, Des leads the supported employment programmes for the organisations. Following a career in business over 18 years, he managed a highly successful labour market activation project, supporting early school leavers to retrain, up-skill, and gain employment or progress into further education. He brings his business, training, and employability experience to the issue of employment for people with disabilities. His vision is to facilitate individuals to overcome barriers, by opening doors to employment opportunities that give people more choices in life.
Peter HERBITSCHEK As a skilled draftsman Peter Herbitschek is one of the two managers of „Hausmasters“ – a social business in Gleisdorf/Austria. He started his career in the social sector with his civilian service at Chance B. In 1999 Chance B opened up the firm “Hausmasters” and Peter Herbitschek was one of the first social workers. Born and raised in the Southeast of Austria Peter Herbitschek is affiliated to this region and its people. His untiring commitment is to give people hope and support, so they can live a self-determined life.
Judy HEUMANN Judy Heumann is an internationally recognized leader in the disability community and a lifelong civil rights advocate for disadvantaged people. In 2010, she was appointed to her current position as the Special Advisor for International Disability Rights at the U.S. Department of State. She served as the World Bank?s first Advisor on Disability and Development and in the Clinton Administration as the Assistant Secretary for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services in the Department of Education from 1993 ? 2001. She previously worked with numerous disability rights organizations
Klaus HOECKNER Klaus Höckner, born 1966 in Austria, married (2 daughters), is member of the board of the Austrian Association Supporting the Blind and Visually Impaired (Hillfsgemeinschaft) based in Vienna. Having more than 4300 member, the Hilfsgemeinschaft is the leading organisation representing and helping visually impaired persons in Austria. Klaus is working for more then 12 years in the field of Accessiblity, especially regarding to ICT and is member of various working groups as well as participating in many conferences and projects in this context on an european and national level.
Frank HOFFMANN He is the founder and CEO of discovering hands®, an innovative German social business, which trains blind and visually impaired people as Medical Tactile Examiners (MTEs). Hoffmann holds a medical degree from the University of Düsseldorf and a degree in Business Administration for practicing physicians from the Landshut University of Applied Sciences. Dr. Hoffmann has been awarded the “Ashoka-Fellowship” for creating the discovering hands® system in 2010.
Monica Georgina HONORES INCIO Professional in Systems Engineering, analyst category; with a Masters in Public Management, Specialization courses in Gender; manager of Models of job placement for people with disabilities “SOY CAPAZ” and “Forming Entrepreneurs”, with courses in development and execution of projects. In charge of the preparation and execution of projects for people with disabilities, trainer, with experience in working with social organizations, graduated in projects studies in High Management, with training in biomechanical aid. Participation as speaker in National and International events on disability issues in: Employment, education, gender, accessibility, ICT, management of computer tools, with work experience in the Public and Private sector.
Ann HOY Ann joined the Accessibility Directorate in 2013. The Directorate supports the vision of an accessible Ontario by 2025 under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 by developing, implementing and enforcing accessibility standards that apply to over 400,000 broader public sector, non-profit and private sector organizations. Ann previously held executive positions at the Ontario Government’s Cabinet Office, in Policy and in Intergovernmental Affairs, as Director, Entrepreneurship, in the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, and at ServiceOntario.
Franz-Joseph HUAINIGG Dr. Huainigg is a Member of Parliament and Spokesperson for People with Disabilities as well as Spokesperson for Development Cooperation within Austria’s People’s Party. Paralyzed, using a wheelchair and a respirator, he experiences quite a few obstacles himself which he strives for omission or at least improvement, i.e. he is a first-hand expert. His primary aim is the involvement and participation of people with disabilities in all areas of life.
Andreas JESSE Since 1988, Andreas Jesse professionally worked with people with disabilities, including many years in professional integration. Involved in the foundation (in 1977) of the integrational service autArK (www.autark.co.at). In 2001 he became the managing director of “ Verein autArK – Arbeitsassistenz Kärnten”, then in 2002 the managing director of “autArK Liegenschaftsverwaltung – GmbH”. From 2009, he is the managing director of “autArK Soziale Dienstleistungs- GmbH”.
Joseph JONES Joseph Jones serves as executive director for The Harkin Institute for Public Policy & Citizen Engagement. The institute offers nonpartisan programming, focused on the areas that defined the career of Senator Tom Harkin (Retired): people with disabilities, retirement security, wellness and nutrition, and labor and employment. Immediately prior to joining The Harkin Institute, Joseph served as senior vice president of government relations & public policy at the Greater Des Moines Partnership. In 2014 Joseph was awarded the honor of Drake’s Distinguished MPA Alumnus. He regularly volunteers with Everybody Wins! Iowa and serves on the Planning and Zoning Commission for the City of Windsor Heights.
Jean JUDES Jean Judes is the Executive Director of Beit Issie Shapiro (BIS), Israel’s leading NGO furthering the rights, opportunities and services for people with disabilities. Under Jean’s leadership, BIS received Special Consultative Status with the UN’s ECOSOC, the Midot award for most effective non-profit in Israel, and is involved in international development and research. Jean has a Masters in Social Work, Planning and Management from the Bar Ilan University, and has been working in the field of disabilities for over 20 years.
Shirley KENNY Shirley Kenny, Israel. B.A. is in Political Science and Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences; currently doing her master degree at the department of Community Mental Health, Faculty of Social Welfare & Health Sciences, University of Haifa, Israel. Shirley had accomplished her studies in Career Development Mentoring, Department of Education, Tel-Aviv University, Israel. After several years in the field of leisure services for children with special needs, she became more involved in the non-formal education. Together with Inbal Vortman-Shoham, she established Milestones for Life – Association for young adults on the Autism spectrum. Now Co-managing the NGO and its new services development.
Mehmet KIZILTAS Mehmet Kızıltaş has been known as the presenter of the Disability TV Programme: “Yaşadıkça”, which has been presented at national TV channels for 17 years. Kızıltaş has received the “Special Service Award” which has been presented by the “Foundation of USA Kennedy”, due to his contribution to Special Olympiads. Mehmet Kızıltaş is the founder of Engelsizkariyer.com, which is the first disabled work labour of Turkey. He has played an important and inspiring role in providing the suitable jobs for hundreds of disabled candidates. He has been the first in the Social Investment Programme of Sabancı University.
Siri KOCH-LARSEN Project manager of The Trainee Programme for Persons with Disabilities, The Department of primary health and social affairs, the City of Oslo. Educated social worker and within social science. Broad background from clinical work, projects and planning in health and caregiving services. Main focus areas are supporting employees and discrimination in labour market. The main objective of the programme is to increase the proportion of disabled people employed by the City of Oslo.
Hans-Horst KONKOLEWSKY Hans-Horst Konkolewsky is the Secretary General of the International Social Security Association (ISSA) based in Geneva, Switzerland. Elected in 2005, Mr Konkolewsky heads an extensive programme of activities with the aim to strengthen the governance, performance and service quality of social security administrations, with a strong focus on proactive and preventive measures. Prior to his election as Secretary General, Mr Konkolewsky served for ten years as Director of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, located in Bilbao, Spain. Mr Konkolewsky, who is a Danish national, also served as Deputy Director General of the Danish Working Environment Authority.
Rana KOTAN As the Director of Programs and International Relations at Sabancı Foundation she oversees the Foundation’s programs promoting social inclusion and equal participation for women, youth and persons with disabilities. She sits on the Governing Council of the European Financial Center (EFC) and the national advisory board of the Technical Assistance for Civil Society Organizations (TACSO). She holds an MBA from Yale School of Management and a BA in business administration from Bogazici University.
Alejandra KRAUSS VALLE Minister of Labor and Social Security, she has held the position of General Director of the Judicial Assistance Corporation of the Metropolitan Region and Career Director of the School of Law, Santiago. Member of the Board of Directors of University of Sanitago de Chile, USACH, between August 2014 and November 2016. In addition, she has worked as an external lawyer for Banco Estado; External adviser of the National Petroleum Company; Advisor to the Undersecretary of Social Security; Minister for Planning and Cooperation; Member of the General Council of the Chilean Bar Association A.G.. She was Councilwoman of Florida and National Vice President of the Christian Democratic Party.
Elisabeth KRÖN Elisabeth Krön manages the organization Specialisterne Austria since 2012. She is a trained actress and studied German and Italian. She is specialized in teaching integrated museum methods, improvisation theater skills and since 2010 drama in education at the University Graz. She has long term experience working as an instructor for executives, conducts team building workshops for corporations and speaks regularly on topics such as autism and the process of employing talents with autism.
Christopher LEE Dr. Christopher Lee serves as Department Head of AMAC Accessibility Solutions and Research Center at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Dr. Lee has been an advocate and pioneer in promoting social justice and entrepreneurship to benefit humankind and to strive for sustainable social change in the field of disabilities. His work has centered on the innovation of new models and techniques to support the integration of Information Communication and Technology (ICT) Accessibility in corporate, governmental and nonprofit entities. He is responsible for securing millions of dollars to support social justice causes. Dr. Lee is also a nationally recognized advocate, author, speaker, principal investigator and leader in the fields of learning disabilities and adaptive technology.
Lauren LINDSTROM Dr. Lauren Lindstrom is a Professor of Family and Human Services in the College of Education at the University of Oregon. Dr. Lindstrom’s research interests include career development, gender equity, and employment outcomes for youth with disabilities. Her Paths 2 the Future project, currently funded by the Institute of Education Sciences, is designed to improve career and education opportunities for girls with disabilities.
Sabina LOBATO Sabina Lobato is a Bachelor of Economics and has a Masters degree in SME Management. With over 20 years of experience in the disability sector linked to the ONCE Foundation, she’s currently the Director of Grants and Training and Employment Programs. She’s also Ilunion Group Board Member, President of FSC Discapacidad, Member of the Standing Committee and the Plenary of the Spanish High Council on Statistics, and Vice President of the European Platform for Rehabilitation (EPR).
Jane LU Jane Lu is Head of Sustainability and Community Engagement in Standard Chartered Taiwan. She manages Standard Chartered’s Sustainability agenda, reputation and standing among NGOs and relevant government stakeholders in Taiwan. Jane also leads the annual Taipei Standard Chartered Charity Marathon as a key platform to promote diversified employment for the visually impaired. Standard Chartered has a team of 10 visually-impaired people in the VI telesales team. Jane has over 20 years’ marketing and communications experience from corporate, public relations agency and media sides. Prior to Standard Chartered, she was Head of Marketing, Greater China, Nortel, and Marketing Director, Computer Associates Taiwan.
Ramez MAHER Ramez Maher is the Co-founder and Managing Director of Helm Egypt Foundation, established in 2014 with the aim of promoting the full inclusion of persons with disabilities in Egypt through employability and accessibility. Ramez is certified by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency in a program focused on barrier-free environments for accessibility. In 2016, he was also awarded the Startupper of the Year by Total. Ramez was also selected as one of Egypt’s top social entrepreneurs by RISE Egypt and he joined RISE’s 2-year fellowship class in which he gained intimate access to global networks and partnerships.
Johanna MANG Johanna Mang is working for LIGHT FOR THE WORLD Austria. L-Austria is member of LIGHT FOR THE WORLD International, presently working in 16 partner countries and on international level on eye health, education and livelihood. Johanna is the CEO in Austria. Johanna’s work is geared towards development programs which contribute to a world in which persons with disabilities in developing countries have a decent life, equally participate in society and have access to their rights.
Lourdes MARQUEZ de la CALLEJA Lourdes Márquez is currently Head of the Department of Social Relations and Strategic Plans of the ONCE Foundation, where she has been working for 9 years. She has responsibilities including collaboration with the CERMI – The Spanish Committee of Representatives of Persons With Disabilities (CERMI), and major legal national operators such as the Justice and Disability Forum. Prior to working in the ONCE Foundation, she has worked on consultancy at public sector projects in companies like CapGemini, and previously in collaboration with Earnst and Young. Just after her degree, she has the opportunity to colaborate with the Hispanic-Tai Association in Bangkok.
Antonio MARTINEZ-PUJALTE Antonio-Luis Martínez-Pujalte (Murcia, Spain, 1964) is a Doctor in Law at the University of Valencia, and a Professor of Legal Philosophy at the Miguel Hernández University of Elche (Spain), where he was the first Dean of the Faculty of Legal and Social Sciences, between 1997 and 2000, and since December 2015 he is the Director of the Research Unit on Disability and Employment. His main research fields have been general theory of fundamental rights and quality of democracy, but currently his attention is focused on Disability Law and Policies.
Mohammad Salim MASTOOR Mohammad Salim Mastoor has a Post Graduates in Sustainable Rural Development. As Deputy Director for Programs with Afghanistan Rural Enterprise Development Program, he planned and implemented a zero project for eligible 143 Persons with Disabilities in three provinces of Parwan, Herat and Nangarhar. They also provided them with Market linkages, Enterprise Development, Value Chain Support and Basic Accounting trainings. Further they exposed them to markets, introduced them to product exhibitions and exposures. The supported beneficiaries are not only economically enabled but also have been socially developed. They are proud of their set up small businesses and because of being part of the society.
Leah MAXSON Leah Maxson is a Democracy Fellow with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in Washington, D.C., USA. She serves in the Agency’s Center of Excellence on Democracy, Human Rights and Governance within the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance. In this role, Leah works to advance disability inclusive development programs and practices across the Agency and its overseas field missions. Prior to joining USAID, Leah worked at Gallaudet University where she assisted in the design and implementation of international development and exchange programs focused on promoting the rights of deaf and hard of hearing individuals in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Ita MIRIANASHVILI Ita Mirianashvili is the Head of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Unit at the Council of Europe. Her responsibilities include promoting and implementing Council of Europe standards and activities in the area of the rights of persons with disabilities. The Council of Europe is the continent’s leading human rights organisation. It comprises 47 member States, 28 of which are members of the European Union. All Council of Europe member states have signed up to the European Convention on Human Rights, a treaty designed to protect human rights, democracy and the rule of law. The European Court of Human Rights oversees the implementation of the Convention in the member states.
Mohammed Azman MOHAMMED Dato’ Dr. Mohammed Azman is currently the Chief Executive Officer of the Social Security Organisation (SOCSO) of Malaysia. A medical doctor by profession, he was responsible in introducing the Occupational Health Training for general physicians and Disability Assessment, widening the compensable occupational diseases list and the Return to Work Programme. SOCSO’s achievements under his leadership have received international and local recognitions, including from the International Social Security Association, ASEAN Social Security Association as well as the Prime Minister’s Innovation Award in 2016. Dato’ Dr. Mohammed Azman currently chairs the ISSA Technical Commission on Organization, Management and Innovation and a member of the National Council of Occupational Safety and Health.
Ana MOHEDANO ESCOBAR Coordinator of social services programs at the Iberoamerican Organization for Social Security (OISS). She manages programs on elderly, employment of persons with disabilities, and gender equality, involving best practices exchange among governments, advising to public administrations and training. In the past, she worked as advisor for the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs in Spain and for the Spanish Agency on International Co-operation for Development (AECID). Previously she collaborated with social sector lobbies and NGOs, at national and international levels. She holds university degrees in Law and in Political Sciences, an advanced studies certificate in European Policies and a master degree in Management of Social Security Systems.
Marisa MUEHLBOECK Marisa Mühlböck is the CEO of discovering hands® Austria. Since Jan 2017 discovering hands® trains and deploys visually impaired women with their highly developed sensory skills to detect the early signs of breast cancer. “Medical Tactile Examiners” (MTEs) are trained to deliver physical breast examinations. During a 9-month training period they learn how to use a standardized diagnostic method for examining the female breast.
Hripsime NAZARETYAN Hripsime Nazaretyan is programs coordinator at Armenian NGO “Bridge of Hope”. Hripsime is actively advocating for rights of youth and children with disabilities and her involvement in the movement of inclusive vocational education and promotion of employment resulted in significant changes in inclusive education and employment policies and practices and in society’s ideas and beliefs about children and youth with disabilities. She shares the motto of the organization “Education, Employment, Dignified life”.
Yetnebersh NIGUSSIE Yetneberesh Nigussie Molla is a lady with visual impairment. Having done her first degree in Law, she gained a Ms degree in Social Work from Addis Ababa University. Currently Ms. Molla is working as a senior Advocacy officer for Light for the World International. Ten years back she co-founded the Ethiopian Center for Disability and Development ECDD . Among the outstanding awards she received, Most Influential worm in Africa is ti be mentioned. She believes that all services including Education should be accessible to and inclusive of persons with disabilities.
Laila ONU Laila Onu, founder and CEO of “Pentru Voi” Foundation is one of the pioneers of social entrepreneurship in Romania. Recognized as disability expert, with 27 years experience in management, Laila set up several types of community based services for people with intellectual disability in a country lacking social inclusion. She has built a sustainable NGO based on community support, local government collaboration, international partnerships, interdisciplinary practice, and self-sufficiency.
Florence ORBAN Florence Orban has been Director of Corporate Development at the Royal Society for Blind Children (formerly RLSB) since 2011, and from 2015 has also been Director at Wayfindr, a subsidiary of RSBC. Florence’s career started in the private sector in advertising, working on international accounts before moving to business development for internet services and online training. She created the National Skills Academy for Sport in 2008, backed by all employers in the sector.
Bastienne PALIZ Senior consultant in the fields of public – private partnerships and value chain development with small producer associations. She holds a Masters Degree in Sustainable Resource Management from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and has worked for different private and public organizations, such as the German Technical Organisation (GIZ), among others. Bastienne is also a private entrepeneur being a Co-founder of Ecuador´s only wheelchair accessible Amazon Lodge “Huasquila” and the accessible travel agency “Southamerica For All”, which offers accessible tours in Ecuador (including the Galapagos Islands), Peru and Argentina. Bastienne is also Vicepresident of Foundation “AM-EN” which offers integral rehabilitation based on hipotherapy for children with mental and physical disabilities.
Sangita PANT Sangita is from Gorkha, Nepal. Incorrect hospital treatment left her permanently disabled after a fall aged 7. However she completed school and studied for a Bachelors in Sociology. She found a teaching job but was asked to leave when the school realised she had a disability. Today she feels overcoming such prejudice made her stronger. Sangita worked with two disability organisations before she got a training opportunity in Japan. This experience really boosted her confidence and she founded EPSA in 2009. So far Sangita has helped over 800 women, providing training, employment, building confidence and providing a safe place to make friends.
H.E. Wilson Marcelo PASTOR MORRIS Wilson Pástor was the Minister of Non-Renewable Natural Resources of Ecuador from April 2010 to April 2013. He has a lengthy and prestigious career in the corporate world, the energy sector, public administration, development issues and international diplomacy. Mr. Pástor has been the CEO of several international and Ecuadorian energy organizations. He holds the position of Governor of Ecuador to OPEC since September of 2013. Since October 2013, he is Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Ecuador to the International Organizations in Vienna.
Victor PINEDA Dr. Victor Pineda is an urban planner, social entrepreneur, filmmaker and globally recognized human rights advocate. He is also an international speaker, consultant and adjunct professor on policy, planning and development. Dr. Pineda’s work focuses on urban resilience, inclusion and sustainability. He founded the Pineda Foundation / World Enabled, a global non-profit that promotes the rights of people with disabilities. He was recently appointed by President Obama to serve on the US Access Board. Dr. Pineda holds a PhD in Urban Planning from UCLA.
Jyrki PINOMAA Jyrki Pinomaa is nationally and internationally active on disability field since 1986, being a father two sons with multiple disabilities. He was president of Inclusion Finland for 5 years and is Board Member of Inclusion Europe since 2011. Last year Jyrki Pinomaa was elected as the next President of Inclusion Europe, starting his service in 2018. Since 2013 he is working as CEO in Aspa Foundation, founded by 13 Finnish disability organizations to provide quality housing services for people with disabilities. Aspa owns more 1.000 accessible apartments in Finland and acts as a service supplier of everyday support to more than 1.500 persons with disabilities.
Marek PLURA Marek Plura is a Polish Member of the European Parliament since July 2014 and a member of the European People’s Party (EPP). He is a member of the Employment and Social Affairs Committee and a substitute member of the Transport and Tourism Committee. His current parliamentary work focuses also on integration and professional activation people with disabilities. He is vice-chair of the Parliamentary Disability Intergroup. He is a strong promoter of Silesian heritage. In 2007 he was elected Member of the Polish parliament – Sejm where he chaired the disability subcommittee. Since birth he has been suffering from a progressive muscle dystrophy.
Miranda PRAG Miranda Prag is co-director of Mainspring Arts. Mainspring Arts is a London-based non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting neurodiversity in the arts, and creating professional opportunities in the arts industry for neurodivergent people.
Cerasela Nicoleta PREDESCU Cerasela Nicoleta PREDESCU is a PhD sociologist with extensive experience in social field, who participated in a 7 years child protection Reform Program in Romania in partnership with the Romanian Ministry of Social Protection. She established Pro ACT Suport Association in 2011 with the aim of promoting the development of a society in which people with intellectual disabilities have equal opportunities, their contributions are valued, their human rights are respected and where inclusion is a reality.
Dinesh RANA Dinesh Rana works with CBM as a Senior Program Officer. He manages a large portfolio of grassroots programme partners working on disability and development issues. His specific focus is on designing and monitoring disability inclusive livelihood projects. Dinesh has over 17 years of professional experience as a social development practitioner. He has a Masters in Environmental Sciences and Sociology. He has worked with government and international programmes on projects for safe drinking and environmental sanitation, diversified agricultural support and rainwater harvesting tanks supported by UNDIP and UNICEF in Thar desert of Rajasthan in India.
Robert RANSOM Founder, first Executive Director and presently Senior Advisor, Ethiopian Center for Disability and Development (ECDD), a local CSO promoting, facilitating and building organizational capacity for disability inclusive development – the inclusion of persons with disabilities and their families in mainstream service delivery and development programs in Ethiopia. Senior Program Advisor for the ECDD-USAID Inclusive Skills Training and Employment Program (ISTEP). Advisor to the African Disability Forum (ADF), the Pan African membership organization of national, sub-regional and continental organizations of persons with disabilities (DPOs). Previously Africa Regional Advisor on Vocational Rehabilitation, then Senior Disability Specialist with the International Labour Organization (ILO), 1986-2005.
Fernando RIANO RIANO Fernando Riaño has a Degree in Law by University of Navarra and an MBA by ICADE, and Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government. He has experience in legal advisory services, consulting, training, and the financial and business sectors. He held several positions at Barclays. Currently he is Head of CSR, Communication and Corporate Affairs at ILUNION (ONCE Foundation), as well as 1st Vice President of the World Blind Union, Member of the Bequal Foundation Executive Committee, and Worldwide Associate in the Business Disability Forum.
J. Erin RIEHLE Erin is a recognized authority and national leader in promoting employment opportunities for people with disabilities. She is a founder and Senior Director of Project SEARCH, an employment and transition program that has received national and international recognition for innovative practices. She brought a business perspective to the field of disability education, as well as an ability to bring organizations together for a shared purpose. She has served on many national committees and is a past board member for the Association for Persons in Supported Employment (APSE), the Ohio Governor’s Council on People with Disabilities, and the U.S. Business Leadership Network.
Marie RINGLER Marie Ringler is one of Ashoka`s Europe Directors. In the late 90`s she helped build Public Netbase, an art institution exploring the social implications of ITCt, and later became its managing director. She was elected into office as a Member of the Regional Parliament and City Council of Vienna in 2001 and focused on developing policy to drive innovations in society. After two successful terms in office, she founded Ashoka`s Austrian office in Vienna. She has been a member of several award juries including the Social Impact Award, the ORF Open Innovation Award and the Sustainable Entrepreneurship Award.
Marcia RIOUX Dr. Marcia Rioux is a Distinguished Research Professor in the Faculty of Health – Critical Disability Studies program at York University in Toronto, Canada. She is the co-Director of Disability Rights Promotion International – a multi-year project to monitor disability rights internationally. Dr. Rioux has been an advisor to federal and provincial commissions, parliamentary committees, international NGOs and UN agencies. She has edited several collected volumes and over 70 book chapters and articles on disability rights. She has been a visiting scholar and professor at several international institutions and was made a member of the Order of Canada in 2014.
Patrick ROMZEK Patrick J. Romzek is the Vice President of Worldwide Sales Cloud Strategy and Operations at Cisco Systems. In this role Mr. Romzek leads sales strategy, go-to-market acceleration, and sales operations for all of Cisco’s cloud solutions worldwide. His personal passion is in advocacy for people with disabilities where he has provided innovative leadership across Cisco and in the community. He founded and leads a Special Needs Children’s group that provides support and advocacy for hundreds of Cisco families with special needs children. Mr. Romzek is the founder, champion and Executive Sponsor for Project LifeChanger, an innovative program that has the potential to transform employment for people with disabilities at Cisco and beyond.
Karen ROYSTON Karen Royston has worked to improve the lives of people with disabilities in the state of Georgia for over 35 years and currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the Georgia Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities. Under her leadership the past six years, the Georgia High School High Tech program has grown in excess of 200% and now serves more than 1200 students with disabilities. Mrs. Royston has been an active member of the Georgia Rehabilitation Association for over 20 years and is a recipient of the J. Ellis Moran Outstanding Leadership Award.
Carola RUBIA Twenty one years of experience in domestic and international new business development, marketing strategies, product management, distribution channels and business partners, purchases and sales teams. Six years of experience in making social welfare a strategic focus in Chile, managing civil society as well business and public network. They all understand in one point which allow every participate to reach their objectives, becoming a society more inclusive. Carry out strategic plans, work experience in changing corporate environments and contact with different cultures.
Shira RUDERMAN Shira Ruderman is the Director of the Ruderman Family Foundation, which invests in advancing the inclusion of people with disabilities, strengthening the relationship between Israel and the American Jewish community, and modeling the practice of strategic philanthropy. Shira holds an MA in Public Policy from Hebrew University and an Honorary Doctorate from Haifa University. She serves as a board member of various organizations and associations and is considered one of the most influential women in Israel and the Jewish world. Shira is married to Jay Ruderman, President of the Foundation, and they live in Boston with their four children.
Susie RUTKOWSKI Susie is a nationally recognized transition expert with specific experience in program development for career technical education and job development for young adults with disabilities. She served as the Manager for Disability Education at Great Oaks Career Campuses for over twelve years. During that tenure she, with Erin Riehle, co-founded Project SEARCH. Susie has been instrumental in designing the Project SEARCH Training Institute modules and leading replication efforts for new Project SEARCH sites. In addition to her other positions, she taught young students with multi-handicaps for eight years and worked for 10 years as a Job Placement Coordinator at Great Oaks for students and graduates with disabilities.
Ishita SANYAL Psychologist & mental health activists involved in transforming the life of people suffering from chronic mental illness & fighting for their rights for last 20 years.Founder of the first day care activity center (Turning Point) in India along with parent’s group. Initiated employment & entrepreneurship involving community & family members in the initiative .Have presented papers in national & International conferences. Recipient of national & International awards like David Feinsilver Award, Manthan Award, UGC-CEC Award, Barbo Sandin Award, Helen Keller Award, (2nd position) in International e-Health Competition, Metro Award, winner of Boston Pledge Competition & others
Amelie SAUPE Amelie joined the Zero Project Team as researcher of Innovative Practices in 2013. In 2017 she was again responsible for the research on social indicators to measure the implementation of UN CRPD globally within the Zero Project. Previously Amelie worked for a global logistics company in Shanghai, China, and as Project Manager for a non-profit foundation in Switzerland. Amelie has experience within international affairs in different thematic areas and approaches. She received her degree in Political Sciences and Philosophy from Vienna University in 2006. Since 2014 Amelie is living in Tokyo, Japan, and is acting as representative of the Zero Project.
Susan SCOTT-PARKER Susan Scott-Parker, OBE is internationally recognised as a spirited and creative thought leader on how to mobilise business behind the economic and social inclusion of people with disabilities worldwide. She has made a career from challenging outdated assumptions regarding both disability as it affects business and the potential of responsible business to adapt respectfully for human reality. She is the Founder and Honorary Vice President of Business Disability Forum and is now starting up business disability international with founders Barclays, GSK and Infosys. Susan ‘invented’ the concept and language of ‘Disability Confidence’ – in the knowledge that if we can change the way people talk about the world, we make it easier to change the world.
Abeer SHAKWEER Dr. Abeer Shakweer is the advisor to the Minister of Communications and Information Technology for Social Responsibility and Services. She is the advisor to Scientific Research and Innovation Strategic Unit at Misr ElKheir Foundation, and worked as the Planning and Monitoring Manager and head of international cooperation at the Science and Technology Development Fund (STDF), and as the executive director for the center for future studies at the Cabinet’s Information and Decision Support Center (IDSC). Dr. Shakweer is the deputy head of the Entrepreneurship Council of the Egyptian National Competitiveness Council, and member of the American chamber of commerce core committee for entrepreneurship.
Elizabeth SIGHTLER Elizabeth M. Sightler is the Executive Director at Champlain Community Services and has worked in the field of disabilities for over 25 years. As executive director she oversees the day-to-day operations, community outreach and strategic planning of Champlain Community Services (CCS), an historically important non-profit developmental disabilities agency in Northern Vermont. Beth is the President of VT Care Network, a board member of Vermont Care Partners and Vermont Council of Mental Health and Developmental Services, a long-standing member of the Vermont Communication Task Force, serves as a Director/Secretary of The Governor’s Institutes of Vermont and was a founding board member of Rights and Democracy Vermont.
Kishore SINGH Kishore Kumar Singh works at ILO, Bangladesh, as a Senior Skills Specialist. In addition to design and delivery of skills and employment programs for persons with disabilities, one of his key responsibilities is to guide the Government of Bangladesh and Bangladesh Employers Federation in making skills system inclusive. Before Joining ILO in 2014, he served as an International Urban Poverty Adviser at UNDP, Bangladesh, where he initiated disability mainstreaming in one of the biggest Urban Poverty Reduction projects in 24 cities and towns to lift three million urban poor and extreme poor out of poverty bracket.
Jolien SMIS Jolien Smis is a Master in Special Education, and works for LetsCo –operating in Belgium. LetsCo organizes trainings for people with an intellectual disability who would like to work in a normal professional environment. Focusing on their talents, LetsCo believes there is a job opportunity for everyone. Jolien provides training and extends a network of companies who want to offer an internship to co-workers.
Helga STEVENS Helga Stevens is the first female deaf Member of the European Parliament and a member of the Flemish N-VA. Elected in 2014, she is the Vice-President of the ECR group and co-chair of the Disability Intergroup. Her main areas are non-discrimination and equality, as well as migration and privacy. She was previously a Member of the Flemish Parliament, the Belgian Senate and the Ghent city council. In 1993 Helga Stevens was the first deaf person to be awarded a law degree in Belgium. She was the director and president of the European Union of the Deaf (EUD) for several years.
Laura STOKLEY Laura Stokley is the Coordinator of Community Employment Options at Community Living Sarnia-Lambton and oversees the largest summer jobs program in Canada for students with a disability. She is a member of the Ontario Disability Employment Network and various other community groups and committees with a focus on transitioning persons with a disability into the work force. She speaks regularly at schools and to families about the benefits and positive impact work has on your life. She has been employed at Community Living since 2010.
Mervat TASHKANDI Dr Mervat Tashkandi is Advisor to the Ministry of Labor in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. She is an effective leader on issues related to disability, with more than 27 years experience in working strategically to effect long-term attitudinal and major social change in relation to the rights of persons with disabilities. She currently advices and coordinates technical cooperation projects at the Ministry of Labor – KSA in relation to the legislations for employment of persons with disabilities in the private sector. She is also involved in the development of the Employers Business and disability Network, and works closely with the ILO Global Business and Disability Network in Geneva.
Mampoi THEKO Mrs. ‘Mampoi Flory Theko is an assistant inspector responsible for visual impairment. Since the inception of special education in Lesotho in 1999 she has been the driving force for education of people with disabilities. She has been very active in training teachers, resource teachers, inspectors and parents of people with disabilities. She has been instrumental in employment of teachers with disabilities in Lesotho.
Esteban TROMEL Since August 2013, Senior Disability Specialist in the International Labour Organization. Current duties include the coordination of the ILO Global Business and Disability Network. Between 2008 and 2013, Executive Director of the International Disability Alliance, the global umbrella organization of organizations of persons with disabilities. Coordinated advocacy work with the United Nations treaty bodies, UN Human Rights Council, UN agencies and other relevant stakeholders. Between 1999 and 2004, Director of the European Disability Forum (EDF), the most representative disability organization at European Union level. I was actively involved in the negotiation process of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2002-2006), representing EDF in the International Disability Caucus.
Cees VAN BREUGEL Cees van Breugel worked 21 years as a teacher in secondary education in The Netherlands. During this period, he published 50 books about ICT, of which 2.000.000 copies were sold. He switched his career in 2008 and started to work as a consultant TVET & Job Mediation for the Woord en Daad Foundation. He specialized in sustainability of TVET and connection of TVET with the job market. Besides this job, Cees is working as a pastor in a deprived neighborhood in Rotterdam.
Le VAN-NGA Sr Van Nga Le is a nun, belongs to the Thu Duc Congregation of Lovers of the Holy Cross in Vietnam. She got a Master on Special Education from Australia, have 21-year experience on working with the blind. She is a trainer for special teachers, ordinary teachers in inclusive education, parents, care givers, and volunteers. She also serves as the Director of Nhat Hong Center for the Blind & Viually Impaired in Vietnam.
Tracy VAUGHAN GOUGH Tracy is responsible for the strategic direction of Sightsavers thematic work on inclusion, both disability inclusion and gender mainstreaming. The majority of her career has been spent in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, specialising in human rights focused work on gender, humanitarian coordination and protection. Prior to joining Sightsavers in 2014, she worked for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in New York as a Gender Policy Advisor, amongst other things, contributing to the global consultations on the sustainable development goals (SDGs). In a former life she went to circus school and learnt how to juggle.
Nadine VOGEL Nadine O. Vogel is the CEO of Springboard Consulting LLC, a global company working with national and multinational corporations, governments and agencies around the world to successfully mainstream disability in the global workforce, workplace and marketplace. Springboard also produces the world-renowned Disability Matters Conference and Awards. Prior to founding Springboard, Nadine held a variety of executive positions in both Corporate America and the non-profit sectors. Vogel is the author of DIVE IN, Springboard into the Profitability, Productivity and Potential of the Special Needs Workforce, a highly acclaimed must- read business book. She is a regular contributor to Profiles in Diversity Journal, Diversity MBA Magazine and Diversity Executive Magazine, and has authored articles for many other professional, industry and consumer publications.
Alexandra WANDEL Since April 2007 Alexandra Wandel is Director and Vice-Chair of the Management Board of the World Future Council. Previously, she was the European trade and sustainability programme co-ordinator of Friends of the Earth International in Brussels. Between 1999 and 2006, she co-ordinated European NGO activities including at the World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conferences in Seattle, Doha, Cancun and Hong Kong and the United Nations World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. She was an advisor to the European Commission’s Delegation to the Johannesburg Summit and to EU Commissioner Lamy on globalisation, trade and environment on behalf of the major European environmental NGOs.
Germain Jean-Marie WEBER Germain Weber, Ph.D., is professor of Psychology (appointed 1997), at the University of Vienna, Faculty of Psychology, Department of Health. From October 2008 to September 2016 Prof. Weber served for the “International Association on Scientific Studies in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities” (IASSIDD), first as a Council member and later as a member of the Executive Board with the function of Vice-President Europe. Further, Dr. Weber acts as president of “Lebenshilfe Austria”, the major Austrian NGO organization offering systems of support for persons with intellectual disability. Since many years, he is involved in European Union funded research projects on intellectual disability issues, aging issues and assistive technologies.
Claudia WERNECK Claudia Werneck is a journalist and human rights activist. She has authored 14 books on inclusion that are available in Portuguese, English and Spanish. In 2000 she became the first Brazilian writer to have his/her work recommended by both UNESCO and UNICEF. With more than 50 Brazilian and international awards, she is a pioneer in the dissemination of the concept of an inclusive society in Latin America. She is an Ashoka Fellow and in 2002 she founded the NGO Escola de Gente – Comunicação em Inclusão. The organization was the recipient of the Brazilian Human Rights Prize of 2011 and the 2014 Order of Cultural Merit of the Presidency of the Republic of Brazil.
Graeme WHIPPY Graeme is a business disability consultant who helps organisations remove barriers to employing and serving disabled people. He is an expert in IT Accessibility and was recognised for his work in this field with the award for Outstanding Contribution by an Individual at the UK Financial Sector Technology awards in 2009. His other key achievements include creating an award-winning approach to making workplace adjustments (reasonable accommodations) for disabled employees and leading the creation of the Dementia Friendly Financial Services charter whilst representing the UK banking sector on the Prime Minister’s Dementia Challenge 2012-15. He joined Channel 4 Television in 2016 to help them become an exemplar employer for disabled people.
Tashi WIDMER Tashi Widmer is Deaf and was born in St. Elizabeth, Jamaica. She served with Jamaica Association for the Deaf (JAD) as a social worker and Lister Mair Gilby High School as a school counsellor. Currently, she is Executive Director of the Caribbean Christian Centre for the Deaf (CCCD). She is a visionary educator with a passion for transformation in the Deaf community. She has been married to her husband Blake for 5 years with whom she co-founded Deaf Can! Coffee based at the CCCD, Kingston campus. They have two dogs, Latte and Nitro.
Jan WULF-SCHNABEL Jan Wulf-Schnabel is Managing Director of the Institute for Inclusion Education (affiliated to the Kiel University) and Member of the Board of the Drachensee Foundation. Within a three-year qualification the Institute enable people with so-called intellectual disabilities to convey their own expertise in universities. As qualified educational specialists they work at the first labour market and teach competently about their daily lives with disabilities to students, teachers, professional and managerial staff.
Doha YAHFOUFI Mrs. Doha Yahfoufi, is an occupational therapist and independent disability & inclusion expert. She works as an instructor at faculty of public health (Lebanese university). She served as an external consultant on inclusion for the ILO in the MENA region. She was a member of the “L’Oreal Disability Trophies” Jury- MENA Region in 2014 and 2016. She worked at the Lebanese physical handicapped union between 2005-2017 where she has had several positions such as senior disability advisor & national coordinator of the economic & social inclusion program (selected one of the best practices by zero project in 2013 & 2017).
Anahit YERNJAKYAN Anahit Yernjakyan, Program Coordinator at Save the Children Armenia has about 20 years of experience in planning, design, implementation and monitoring/evaluation of USAID and EU-funded projects in a broad range of fields, from NGO/DPO management and advocacy to civil society development, community mobilization, vocational education and employment. She is responsible for coordination of activities in raising children/youth with disabilities and their parents’ awareness about the educational rights, vocational education and training opportunities, facilitation of Professional Orientation meetings, coordination of capacity building interventions for teachers of TVET institutions on principles of inclusive education, organization of short-term vocational education classes and establishment of social enterprises.
Selver YOLSEVER Selver Yolsever is a psychologist. She has been working at Down Syndrome Association Turkey since September 2013. She started to work as a volunteer in 2009 at Sulukule Volunteer Association. After that she met with autism and began to work social skills. After her graduation, she worked as a therapist in a sensory integration center for 3 months. She’s currently manager of the association and responsible the Job Coach Supported Employment Program and following current workers with Down syndrome. Beside the program, she works in Bimeks Down Turkiye Career and Independent Life Academy, in which they run autonomy courses and prepare youngsters to work life.
Luk ZELDERLOO Luk Zelderloo has been professionally active in the disability sector for more than 30 years. He was active as manager of a social service for persons with disabilities in Flanders and he has been working at European level in the field. He is one of the founding fathers of EASPD, where he is currently Secretary General. Luk is also President of Job-Link; President and Board member of Social Services Europe as well as Vice president of the European Federation for Family Employment (EFFE). He has acted as a speaker in conferences on topics such as: education and employment of persons with disabilities and staff training; among others.
Eric Guozhong ZHANG Mr. Eric Guozhong ZHANG works currently as a senior officer for social policy and development in the UN Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities based in New York. A trained social issues and human rights specialist, Mr. Zhang played a key role in the drafting the UN Convention from 2001 to 2006. Before joining the United Nations, Mr. Zhang was the National Secretary of Rehabilitation International (China), an Executive Member of International Abylmpic Federation (Tokyo) and the Chairman of Development Committee of the Asian Paralympic Committee (Kaula Lumpur). He studied in Sociology and Demography and graduated from Nanjing-John Hopkins University, Peiking University and Fudan University.