AALTOMaarit Aalto

Maarit Aalto works as Project Manager for the Nordic Centre for Welfare and Social Issues in Sweden. She has been responsible for a project of disability policy in Nordic countries. The focus for 2015 in her work lies on the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Before, she led several projects in North Italy and Austria in the field of disability. She holds a Master in Political Science, obtained at the University of Helsinki.

ABIDIJaved Abidi

He is the pioneer of the cross-disability movement in India. He has successfully led several advocacy initiatives in India, including the drafting and enactment of the Disability Act of 1995, India’s ratification of CRPD in 2007, and setting up of a separate Department of Disability Affairs by the Government of India. He strongly believes that the voice of disability should always first focus on the global South where nearly 800 million of the world’s 1 billion people with disabilities live.

AL ASHWALManal Al-Ashwal

President of Alsaeeda Association for deaf girls in Yemen. Working in the eduction office as a head of the special needs department and teaching science and biology at Saina School for deaf girls. Active in human and deaf rights, training sign language with SDF in Taiz governorate. Active member in many NGOs to support handicapped and the Association of Yemeni women Sciences and technology. Has several posts in the internal and external conferences concerned with issues of persons with disabilities.

AL SHIBANIMukthar Al-Shibani

He is currently the President of GAATES, and is a member of the ISO Committee TC59/SC16 Accessibility and Usability of the Build Environment. He established Almodon Consulting office for the disabled and elderly people, Jeddah, KSA in order to provide services in architectural design in the Arab Region. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Saudi Umran Society, was a member of the Saudi National Consulting Committee for setting the national assembly for disabled, and a member of the consulting committee, Prince Salman Research Center for the Disabled.

ARROYO MENDEZJavier Arroyo Mendez

He graduated in Theoretical Physics at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. He worked at CapGemini and IBM and, since 2012 he is the Coordinator of Independent Living Office in Madrid.

ATKINSONVirginia Atkinson

Virginia Atkinson is the Access and Inclusion Specialist at IFES. She is lead author of the manual, Equal Access: How to Include Persons with Disabilities in Elections and Political Processes. Virginia is actively involved in disability advocacy groups including as an advisor to the General Election Network for Disability Access in ASEAN and the Council of Europe’s Committee of Experts tasked with increasing access to the political process. She holds a MA in international relations.

BALMASSilvia Balmas

Silvia has been working in European Foundation Centre EFC from May 2012 and since 2014 coordinating the Disability Thematic Network and specifically the Consortium of Foundations in Human Rights and Disability. She is appointed as head of the Zero Project Indicators research. Besides she carries out other projects in the frame of the Disability Thematic Network such as the League of Accessible and Historical Cities.

BASDaniela Bas

Ms. Bas – appointed Director of the Division for Social Policy and Development of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DSPD/UNDESA) on 9 May 2011. She has worked for close to 10 years for the UN as a Professional Officer in social development and humanitarian affairs. She was special adviser at the European Union on social issues and democracy.  She was in the Board of Directors of EUFRA.  She graduated in Political Science in 1985, with a major in International Politics.

BAWDENStanley Bawden

Since 2010, Stanley has been the Managing Director of the Living Link. Prior to that he facilitated to young adults who had graduated through the programme at the Living Link and were living independently. This support was in the form of budgeting, menu planning and general living assistance. He has a diploma in Marketing from the University of Johannesburg as well as a B-Tech Business Administration degree. He has worked with numerous companies throughout his career.

BEGOVICMilica Begovic Radojevic

As an innovation specialist for the UNDP, her work consist of working together with national and local partners across the region to find out new ways of tackling problems, test out fresh ideas and new ideas in UNDP context. Recently, she introduced a new method for weak signal detection, analysis of underlying causes of development issues, and impact evaluation. Her main areas of expertise are, among others, social innovation, change management, citizen engagement, disaster risk reduction and local development.

BOGOPANE ZULUHendrietta Bogopane-Zulu

Hendrietta is visually impaired (blind), married and has three girls, two of whom are visually impaired. She is a disability rights, gender, children, youth and HIV & AIDS activist. She is also a policy analyst and developer, a trainer, researcher on disability, development and HIV and AIDS and a writer on disability with a number of publications under her name. She is one of only three disabled Cabinet Members of the South African Government.

BOLLINGJamie Bolling

She is the executive director of ENIL. She was a member of the European Fundamental Rights Platform’s Advisory Panel from 2010 – 2014. 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 counsellor 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.

BRANDSTATTERAlbert Brändstatter

Albert Brandstätter, born in 1962, is Secretary General of Lebenshilfe Österreich. The Lebenshilfe assists people with intellectual disabilities on their way to self-determination and participation in the midst of society with advocacy as well as with services through the whole life-span. Lebenshilfe assists 11.000 persons with about 7.000 employees throughout all of Austria. He was one of the co-founders of the Austrian Armutskonferenz.

BRANDVIKTove Linnea Brandvik

For the past 20 years, she has been politically active and an independent living activist. At the moment she serves as a political advisor for Uloba Independent Living Norway, as board member of ENIL and coordinator for the North region of ENIL. She also is a member of the advisory panel of FRA. Prior, she was a representative for the Norwegian Labour Party and former Mayor of the municipality of Lindås. She held several key positions in organisations for people with functional impairments.

BROS-SPÄHNBernadette Bros-Spähn

Bernadette is the mother of 3 children of which the oldest has a disability. She works as a social worker in ‘s-Hertogenbosch. She has experience with moderating citizen-centered planning processes in supporting circles and since 2010 she is carrying out various plans for the future. She is also chairman of the organisation “„ntegration statt Aussonderung, Gemeinsam Leben- Gemeinsam Lernen e.V.”.

BUCHINGERErwin Buchinger

Erwin Buchinger, born in 1955, studied law at the Johannes Kepler University Linz. After management functions in the public employment service, he worked from 2004 to 2007 as Minister for Social Affairs in Salzburg and 2007/2008 as Minister of Social Affairs of the Republic of Austria. Since 2010 he has been serving as the Federal Disability Ombudsman.

BULICInes Bulic Cojocariu

She holds an MA degree in human rights law from the Central European University in Budapest. She has been active in human rights for 20 years, and has worked for a number of organisations, most notably Amnesty International Croatia. Ines has been the Coordinator of the European Coalition for Community Living (ECCL) at ENIL since 2005, focusing on deinstitutionalisation, the use of Structural Funds, the implementation of Article 19 of the UN CRPD and developments in Central and Eastern Europe.

CABRA DE LUNAMiguel Angel Cabra de Luna

Dr. Cabra de Luna holds a Ph.D. in Law (1997). Positions: 1998- Member, European Economic and Social Committee; 2001- Member, European Platform Social Economy Europe; 1995- Member, Governing Body of the Spanish Business Confederation of the Social Economy; 2003- Deputy Member, Council for Promotion of Social Economy, Ministry of Labour & Social Affairs. He has co-authored 34 books on Social Economy and Non-Profit Organizations. Since 1994, he authored an annual book about disability law in Spain/EU.

CASEYCaroline Casey

Caroline Casey is a social entrepreneur committed to the social and economic inclusion of the 1 Billion people with a disability. Caroline works to Globally transform our understanding of disability and make the basic human right of inclusion a norm in a world where exclusion is a deeply ingrained bad habit. Her vision – a world where no one is left, she believes, will be achieved by inciting business leaders interest and accountability for inclusion.

CHALKLENShuaib Chalklen

He was appointed as Special Rapporteur on Disability in 2009 and held the position until late 2014. Throughout the years, Mr. Chalklen has made a name for himself as a prominent leader in his area of work. In 2003, he founded the Secretariat for the African Decade of Disabled Persons where he held the position of Chief Executive Officer until 2006. The Secretariat for the African Decade of Disabled Persons was established for the purpose of encouraging the implementation of the continental plan of action in Africa.

CHAVEZ PENILLASFacundo Chavez Penillas

He is the Human Rights and Disability Advisor of the UN OHCHR since 2013. He is a human rights lawyer and previous he worked with the Ombudsperson Office of the City of Buenos Aires, in the Department of Persons with Disabilities. He was member of an Argentinian organization of persons with disabilities (REDI), Vice President of the Latin American Network of OPD (RIADIS), and he was board member of the International Disability Alliance and the Global Partnership on Disability and Development.

CHERIANSunita Rebecca Cherian

She is Vice President – Human Resources & Global Head – Diversity & Inclusion with Wipro Limited. She has over 18 years of industry experience. She helped shape the HR organization of Wipro Technologies and has led some impactful change management initiatives. She is a member of Wipro’s Sustainability Council and heads its Diversity & Inclusion committee. She launched “Women of Wipro” a platform that transformed the pace of inclusion and empowerment of women employees and was awarded for its success.

CIEZA MORENOMaria Alarcos Cieza Moreno

She is Coordinator of the Disability and Rehabilitation Unit at the WHO and responsible, among others, for the Implementation of the Disability Action Plan 2014-2021. Prior, she served as Chair and Professor of Medical Psychology at the University of Southampton and lead for 10 years the research unit at the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Munich. She got her MSc in psychology, a Master in Public Health and a PhD in Medical Psychology in Spain and Germany.

CLARKEPatrick J. Clarke

Pat Clarke is Chief Executive of Down Syndrome Ireland and Past- President of Down Syndrome International. He is chair of the Disability Federation of Ireland and at a European level he serves on the executive board of the European Disability Forum where he acts as treasurer and chairs its Committee on the implementation of the UN CRPD. He has served on the boards of the Children Rights Alliance Ireland and on the governing body of the International Disability Alliance.

CLERMONTCorinne Clermont

She is the Vice-President of Nous Aussi, the French association of persons with intellectual disabilities. Corinne is a member of the Dunkirk section, in the North of France. At local level, she is very committed to raising awareness about disability, and to improving accessibility. As the Vice-President of Nous Aussi, she also often speaks about self-advocacy and citizenship in various national and European conferences.

COCKSErrol Cocks

Prof Errol Cocks, Curtin Uni., is a Clinical/Educational Psychologist in disability services & research since 1970. Research includes disability health, employment, & individual supported living. Was Director of government & NGO disability services in WA & Victoria, Director of 2 university disability research centres, Prof of psychology & learning disability in the UK, & carried out consultancy in service development, evaluation, & training in Australia, the UAE, Korea, China, & Indonesia.

CONDECecilia Conde

Responsible of the new Agora + D platform, within the European Network for CSR and Disability Technical Secretariat, in charge of the development and dissemination of the platform. The CSR +D Network is an initiative led by Fundación ONCE and co-funded by the European Social Fund. Expert in international project management, in supply chain areas, change management and international development, Cecilia has also worked in the foundation and consultancy sectors.

DARDBenjamin Dard

Benjamin provides technical expertise on universal accessibility on an international level, focusing on the built environment in a development context. Prior to joining CBM, he completed a Master’s degree in Urban Planning at the Urban Planning Institute of Grenoble and the Royal Institute of Technology Stockholm. He worked 3 years in Haiti developing a long-term accessibility program in collaboration with governmental bodies, INGOs, and NGOs.

DEMBLINGregor Demblin

Gregor Demblin is a wheelchair user ever since he was involved in an accident and is considered an international expert on people with disabilities in society and the economy. He has won numerous national and international awards for the construction job placement platform Career Moves. Since 2013 he is Ashoka Fellow. Demblin is Global Associate of the Business Disability Forum in the UK and has advised the European Commission and the Czech government on the topic of work and disability.

DIONBetty Dion

Betty Dion is the founder and past president of GAATES. She has been active promoting accessible egress-ability and inclusive disaster risk reduction for over 20 years. She is the author of the Fire Safety Kit for Persons with Disabilities and the Guideline on Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction: Disasters and Disabilities.

DOHENYTara Doheny

Tara joined Genio in 2010. Her role is to monitor the projects supported by the Genio Trust, and to support the development of strategic advocacy amongst key stakeholders focused on increasing opportunities for people with disabilities and mental health difficulties to live self-determined lives as equals in society. She holds a BA (Hons) Retail Management and a Diploma in Management and Training.

DREWNatalie Drew Bold

Natalie Drew Bold holds a Master’s in Human Rights from the School of Advanced Study, University of London. She has been at WHO since 2000 and is responsible for coordinating the work related to mental health, human rights and legislation. As part of her work she supports countries to reform national mental health policies, plans and legislation in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and other international human rights standards.

DUNNSusan Dunn

She is Program Manager for Mobility International USA’s exchange and development programs. She has conducted international training and technical assistance in Africa, Latin America and the Middle East and has authored several articles on topics such as women with disabilities and leadership, inclusive international development, and inclusive emergency response. She also coordinates MIUSA’s Gender, Disability and Development Institute. Susan currently serves as President of the Zonta Club of Eugene

ESSLMartin Essl

Mr. Essl is co-owner and member of the board of bauMax Group, one of Austria’s leading retail companies, which also has a long history of employing persons with disabilities. In 2007 Martin and Gerda Essl and their children launched the Essl Foundation, which focuses on social innovation, social entrepreneurship and persons with disabilities. Its outstanding projects are the Essl Social Prize and the Zero Project. He is also engaged in other projects supporting social innovation, like Ashoka.

FEMBEKMichael 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.

FINSTRÖMMaria Finström

She represents the Finnish Federation of the Visually Impaired (FFVI). She has a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Åbo Academy, with subsidiary subjects Political History, Literature, German and Information Technology. Her current occupation at the FFVI is Organization Secretary. She works closely with their member associations, offering consultation and education services. Earlier, she worked as Project Manager for the FFVI’s DAISY Online Delivery project from 2009 to 2014.

FLYNNEilionoir Flynn

She is the Acting Director of the Centre for Disability Law & Policy at NUI Galway. Her interests are in legal capacity, disability advocacy and access to justice. At national level she co-ordinates a civil society working group of 15 NGOs in ageing, disability and mental health, on legal capacity reform. Internationally she has supported the Secretariat of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, particularly the working group which drafted the General Comment on Article 12.

FRÖHLICHWalburga Fröhlich

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. 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.

FUHRERMechthilde Fuhrer

Mechthilde Fuhrer is Deputy Executive Secretary of the European and Mediterranean Major Hazards Agreement of the Council of Europe. She has been active in the field of educational, cultural and environmental issues and holds a Doctorate in Human Sciences and a Master degree in Social and Cultural Anthropology. Within her functions she is working on promotion through appropriate common initiatives with other organisations in the field of major hazard prevention and organisation of relief.

FUNKMichelle Funk

Since 2000 she has been leading the work in mental health policy, planning, service development, human rights and legislation for WHO. She also leads the WHO QualityRights Project which works with countries to assess and improve quality and human rights standards in mental health facilities, empower people with mental disabilities and strengthen civil society movements, and promote sustainable change through policy and law reform.

GALLEGOSLuis Gallegos

Ambassador Luis Gallegos’ career as a Government diplomat began in 1966 when he joined the Ecuadorian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He has been Director of the Planning Department, Sovereignty Department, Technical Cooperation and External Debt Department, Public Information and Press, Eastern Europe, Modernization and International Projects, National Coordinator of Summits, Undersecretary for Political Affairs and Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs in several occasions. At present he is a Senior Scholar of UNITAR.

GOETHALSTina Goethals

Tina Goethals is an advisor in the Flemish self-adovcacy movement Our New Future. Besides, she is working on a PhD on political participation of people with a disability, on the representation of people with disabilities in the Flemish media, and on narratives about the experiences of inclusion and exclusion of people with disabilities. She works in the department Disability Studies at Ghent University and the department Sociology at the University of Antwerp, Belgium.

GRUNDSTEINTamara Grundstein

She was born in 1971 in Innsbruck / Austria, holds a degree in Education in Innsbruck. She is longtime activist and member of the emancipatory disability movement (Independent Living) and currently self-employed with a focus on: Dis-/Ability management, supervision, peer counselling and Feminist counselling. Cornerstone of scientific and political background is: Disability Studies, Queer Studies, Crip Theory, Independent Living.

HACKLRenate Hackl

Born on March 29, 1969. After graduating from the HAK Rohrbach, she studied sociology in Vienna and Linz. Since 1996, she works for the province of Upper Austria as a social planner and since 1999 she is Director Persons with Disabilities in the Department of Social Affairs Office of the Upper Austrian State government.

HARNETTAlison Harnett

She works as the Project Coordinator at the National Federation of Voluntary Bodies in Ireland. She coordinates a number of projects that support people with intellectual disabilities and their families. The Next Steps Project is a community of learning of 23 service providers who are moving towards providing individualized supports so that people can live a life of their choosing in community settings. She is pursuing PhD studies through the School of Psychology in University College Dublin.

HARUTYUNYANMarianna Harutyunyan

In 2013, she got a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy as well as a candidate of pedagogical science degree. In 2013, she obtained a Doctoral student position in University of Oulu. In 2002, she worked as a special educator with street children. From 2008 until 2013, she worked in specialized orphanage as an OT. From 2005 until now, she is teaching in ASPU. In 2014, she started to work as rehabilitologist-occupational therapist in the Agency of Medical and Social Analysis institution of the Ministry of LSM in Armenia.

HAUGETOÅse Kari Haugeto

Haugeto has a Master of Sciences within Product Design.  She has throughout her career worked with technology issues within a social context.  From 2001 she was heading the programme “Design without Borders”, aiming for improved living conditions in developing countries. From 2007 she worked in the Norwegian Board of Technology, developing political analysis about e-health issues. Since 2011 she has been heading the Delta Centre- The National Resource Centre for Participation and Accessibility.

HEINDORFIngrid Heindorf

Ingrid is Human Rights Officer of the World Future Council and the Coordinator of the WFC’s Geneva Liaison Office, from where she coordinates the Zero Project’s policy research and conference organisation. 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.

HOFFMANNFrank 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. Frank Hoffmann has been awarded the “Ashoka-Fellowship” for creating the discovering hands® system in 2010.

HUAINIGGFranz-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.

ILIEVANatalia Ilieva

Natalia is responsible for strategy development, members and external relations and marketing. She is overseeing the ABU outreach campaigns Saving Lives: Preparing for Disasters and Broadcasting For All: Inclusive Media – an initiative for all inclusive broadcasting. Prior to her ABU role she worked at Thomson Foundation, the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association, the UK anti – female genital mutilation organization Forward, and the AIBD, where she oversaw the development of Gender Guidelines for Asia-Pacific broadcasters.

ITOAkiko Ito

Ms. Akiko Ito is Chief of the Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities/DSPD/DESA at UN Headquarters in New York. She is also the UN Focal Point on Disability and the Departmental Focal Point for Women of Department of Economic and Social Affairs, as well as the Focal Point for Human Rights Mainstreaming for the United Nations Development Group. Prior to her current posting, she worked in the Legal Affairs Section of the United Nations Drug Control Programme in Vienna.

IVASKOVICTomislav Ivašković

Tomislav Ivašković was born on May 28, 1987 in Zagreb. Member of Association for Self-Advocacy (ASA) since 2008. Elected for the President of ASA in June 2013. Involved in making easy-to-read materials, trainings and presents ASA at conferences. He presented ASA at the Conference of European Self-Advocates „Hear Our Voices: Citizens First!” held in Zagreb, October 2013. He practices Judo in his free time.

JANJUSEVICDamjan Janjušević

MA Social worker, born 1975 in Bihac, Bosnia and Herzegovina. 2003. graduated at Faculty of Law Social Work Study Centre in Zagreb. First work experience after diploma as social worker in Association for Promoting Inclusion and Home for Independent Living – pioneer organizations in delivering of community based support for persons with intellectual disabilities in Croatia. Since 2005. employed as an assistant in Association for Self Advocacy (ASA). Since 2012. executive director of ASA.

JARMERHelene Jarmer

Since 2009: Member of Austrian Parliament. Management Service Center ÖGS.barrierefrei (www.oegsbarrierefrei.at) since 2005, Gebärdenwelt (www.gebaerdenwelt.tv) since 2008 and Austria’s first Relay Service since 2012. Since 2003: lectures on Political Education and Culture of the Deaf, Deaf Education, Psychology and Sociology of the Deaf and Sign Language Poetry at University of Vienna and PH Vienna. Since 2001: President of the Austrian Deaf Association & Chief Editor of Austrian Deaf newspaper.

JESPERSONMaths Jesperson

Maths Jesperson was born in 1954. Since 1988 he works as a regional officer of RSMH (the Swedish National Organization for Social and Mental Health). He was a founding member of ENUSP (the European Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry) in 1991. He was the initiator, the leader and later a board member of PO-Skåne, a professional service with personal ombudsmen for people with severe psychosocial disabilities. In 2006 he presented PO-Skåne at a seminar in the UN headquarters in New York

KALCSICSMonika Kalcsics

Monika has been working for ORF Kulturradio Ö1 in Vienna since 2000 and made several reportages and documentaries. In addition to her work as a journalist she has been an assistant for disaster relief for Caritas. Most recently, she coordinated the communications and was part of the assessment team during the floods in Pakistan in 2010. She was born in Graz and studied political science and Spanish in Innsbruck, Madrid and Mexico City.

KAROLINYKlaudia Karoliny

Klaudia Karolíny, born in 1960, lives in Linz. She co-founded the Independent Living Movement Upper Austria and regards herself as a part of the global emancipatory disability movement (“Nothing about us – without us”). Almost 30 years she worked in the province of Upper Austria, within the area of special help in the administration. Since the fall of 2008, Ms. Karoliny is leading the consulting and training in the Empowerment Center of the Independent Living Movement Upper Austria and also works as a peer counsellor.

KAWAMURAHiroshi Kawamura

Hiroshi Kawamura has been working on research and development for sharing accessible knowledge, information and culture in electronic format including DAISY and EPUB3. His work on Evacuation manual in DAISY Multimedia Format for persons with psycho-social disabilities was selected as one of Innovative Practices 2014 on Accessibility of the Zero Project. He is one of the Focal Point of the Disability Stakeholder Group of the 3rd World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, Sendai, March 2015.

KISCHJulia Kisch

Julia Kisch works for the Empowerment Center of the Independent Living Movement in Upper Austria, called “Selbstbestimmt-Leben-Initiative OÖ” (SLI OÖ) as a peer-counselor and organizes courses for people with and without disabilities since 2009. She also leads a peer-group for parents of children and youngsters with disablities.

KOMPElisabeth Komp

She has experience in nursing and social care for children and adults with and without disabilities. Teacher in the education of health and child nurses, trainees in NGOs. Experience in the training of employees in social institutions. Experience in training and education for people with disabilities. Consulting of social organizations. Experience in various EU projects for people with disabilities. She is also Head of the “European Weeks of Encounter for people with and without disabilities”.

KOTANRana 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.

KRONElisabeth Krön

Elisabeth Krön serves as Project Manager for Specialisterne Austria and is a trained actress having studied theatre and acting in Vienna. She studied German and Romance Philology in Vienna and Milan. She is fluent in German, English and Italian. She has long term experience working as an instructor for executives and conducts team building workshops for corporations and entrepreneurs. Elisabeth has worked over the years building Specialisterne into the company it is today.

LAMBREGHTSPeter Lambreghts

Peter was born in Antwerp, Belgium in 1971. He is Spokesman for Onafhankelijk Leven, the Flemish Independent Living movement. He also works for ENIL, the European Network on Independent Living as Regional Team Coordinator. He is board member for EDF, the European Disability Forum and part of the European Expert Group on Deinstitutionalization. He wants to continue to strengthen the grass roots and cross-disability rights movement and keep the right for Independent Living high on the EU agenda.

LEWISOliver Lewis

Oliver Lewis is Executive Director of the Mental Disability Advocacy Centre, an international human rights NGO which uses the law to secure inclusion, equality and justice for people with mental disabilities worldwide. He was called to the Bar of England and Wales in 2000, and is an Associate Member of Doughty Street Chambers, London. He is visiting professor of law at the Central European University in Budapest and teaches on an international diploma of mental health law and human rights in Pune, India.

LÓPEZ LÓPEZAna Cristina López López

Ana Cristina López, as a career civil servant at the Spanish Administrationis currently Head of the Electoral Co-operation Unit (2008-…) within the Deputy Directorate General of Internal Policy and Electoral Processes/Ministry of Interior. Prior to her current position, which she also held from May 2002 until November 2006, she has served as legal advisor at the former Ministries of Labour and Immigration and of Science and Technology.

LOYNESIan Loynes

Ian Loynes is Chief Executive of SPECTRUM Centre for Independent Living. Formed in 1984, SPECTRUM, based in Southampton is one of the oldest CIL’s in the UK and one of the most nationally proactive/recognised. Ian is evangelical about the Social Model of Disability, the importance of a strong and vibrant Disability Movement, and the development of User-Led Organisations. Ian views these as tools to enable the emancipation of Disabled People from the daily discrimination and oppression they face.

LYNKerry-Jo Lyn

Over the last 13 years, Kerry-Jo has designed, managed and implemented projects and programmes within the Education (increasing literacy using technology), Special Needs (increasing access to quality care and facilities) and Community Development (job creation, food security) sectors with most recent focus on impact investing and the cross-cutting strategy of using social enterprise as a viable route to development and sustainability for non-profit organisations and vulnerable populations.

MANGJohanna Mang

Johanna Mang is working for LIGHT FOR THE WORLD Austria, an international NGO, presently working in 16 partner countries and on international level on health, education and livelihood. Johanna is responsible for advocacy and international organizational development. 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.

MAPHANGALibisi Maphanga

Libisi is currently the Chief Information Officer of the Electoral Commission of South Africa, driving the entire information and communication technology services throughout the organisation. He is a science graduate of the University of Limpopo, with more than 20 years’ experience in the information and communications technology field. He has worked for local and multi-national companies such as SABMiller, IBM, South African Tourism and now the Electoral Commission.

MARQUEZLourdes Marquez de la Calleja

She has a Law Degree and a Master in Leadership and Management of Foundations and other nonprofits entities from the Autonoma University of Madrid. From 2001 to 2005 she worked as a consultant in the Public Administration unit of CapGemini. Since 2005, she is Head of Social Relations and Strategic Planning of the Foundation ONCE, which wants to ensure the social inclusion of people with disabilities. In 2010 she earned an Executive Master of Business Administration in the Institute of Higher Business Studies. She published several articles and speeches on issues related to Foundations and Disabilities.

MAXSONLeah Maxson

Leah Maxson is a Democracy Fellow with the U.S. Agency for International Development. She serves within the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance. She works to advance disability inclusive development programs and practices across the Agency and its overseas field missions. Prior, she worked at Gallaudet University where she assisted in the design and implementation of international development programs focused on promoting the rights of deaf and hard of hearing individuals.

MEICHENITSCHKatharina Meichenitsch

Katharina Meichenitsch is a social policy officer for Diakonie Austria since 2008, responsible for the working areas “people with disabilities” and “long-term care”. She graduated at Vienna University of Economics in 2006.

MELSTROM MAROYVibeke Melstrøm Marøy

She is one of five founders of the Norwegian Cooperative on personal assistance – Uloba. She held the position as the General Manager in Uloba, the only Independent Living organization in Norway. She sees herself as an Independent Living activist and is a member of ENIL – the European network on Independent Living. She is a peer advisor and has been a work leader for her personal assistants since 1991. She is also a Board member in VIRKE, the second largest enterprise in Norway.

MERMANSEdwin Mermans

Edwin Mermans is policy officer at the Department of Social & Cultural Development from the Province Noord-Brabant (NL). He is involved in the Health & Care Economy Programme and is co-initiator of the Community of Regions for Assisted Living, (Coral) which is a European network about regional policy for Active and Healthy Ageing. He is involved in the e-health network of the AER and member of Action Group Independent Living from the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing.

MEZZINARoberto Mezzina

He contributed for more than 35 years to the deinstitutionalization of the local psychiatric hospital and the subsequent development of alternative Community Services in Trieste. After heading a comprehensive, 24-hour Community Mental Health Centre for three decades so far, he is currently Director of the Mental Health Department in Trieste, a WHO Lead Collaborating Centre for Research and Training. He promoted the International Mental Health Collaborating Network (of whom he is currently President).

MORENOLenin Moreno Garcés

Lenin Moreno Garcés was the Vice-president of Ecuador from 2007 to 2013, carrying out unprecedented work to promote the rights of persons with disability in his country. The national programs “Misión Manuela Espejo” and “Joaquín Gallegos Lara” have been successfully replicated in several Latin American countries. In recognition of his achievements Mr. Moreno was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012.  He is appointed as Special Envoy on Disability and Accessibility.

MORENO GONZALEZIrina Moreno Gonzalez

Irina Moreno González. Counsellor to the Permanent Mission of Ecuador to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva and General Coordinator of the Office of the Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary General on Disability and Accessibility.

MULHEIRGeorgette Mulheir

In 2007 she joined the Lumos Foundation. For more than two decades, in 23 countries, Georgette has led programmes to transform (and at times save) the lives of thousands of disadvantaged and disabled children. She pioneered a model of ‘deinstitutionalisation’ (DI) now followed by many governments, preventing the separation of children from families; returning children from so-called ‘orphanages’ to families; and shifting finances from harmful institutions to community support for children and families.

MULLERMichael Müller

Michael Müller works since 1988 as a consultant for integrating people with disabilities. On behalf of the Government of Vorarlberg and the Institute for Social Services, he repeatedly developed alternatives for the existing residential facilities. He has been a lecturer at schools and various symposia on the subject of “Independent Living (for people with disabilities)”. Through his years of experience, he knows: “Before any reality there are options.”

MWESIGWAMartin Babu Mwesigwa

Martin is a member of the United Nations Committee of Experts to the CRPD. He is also the Deputy Executive Director and Head of programmes for the NUDIPU. His desire is to have the issues and needs of people with disabilities mainstreamed in development processes has been very impressive. He has mostly worked in the area of mainstreaming PWDs in national HIV&AIDS interventions in Uganda, and the need to mainstream gender and youth issues in NUDIPU structures and programmes.

NAFEHBanane Nafeh

She is the Self Directed Support Advisor at Disability Rights UK (DR-UK). She has been working for DR-UK for three years. Ms. Nafeh gives advice on Self Directed Support which is the route to achieve independent living that is based on the social model of disability encouraging disabled people to be involved in their community

NAGASEOsamu Nagase

Mister Nagase holds several positions, such as Visiting Professor of Ritsumeikan University, Asia Pacific Regional Representative of Inclusion International and Board Member of Disability Equality Training Forum. Former positions include: inaugural executive director of Japan Society for Disability Studies, inaugural chair of international committee of Inclusion Japan, Associate Professor of Graduate School of Economics of the University of Tokyo and JPO at the United Nations Office at Vienna.

NAGOYASeikichi Nagoya

Father of Ms. Takumi Nagoya, who sued the government arguing that it was unconstitutional for the Election Law to deprive persons under the “koken” category, the most restrictive one, of their right to vote and to stand for elections. Mr. Nagoya regretted putting his daughter under the guardianship and strongly supported her in her case against the government. Mr. Nagoya heads a non-profit-organization promoting social inclusion of person with intellectual disabilities in Ibaragi, Japan.

NEWTONIain Newton

He joined the Government Equalities Office in 2011, having previously worked in the Business Department on implementing EU Directives, and in the Culture Department to support growth in the tourism and creative industries. His work in the GEO has focused on initiatives to increase the diversity of representation in public and political life, including the development and implementation of the Access to Elected Office for Disabled People Fund.

NICHOLSONCher Nicholson

She developed the S.A. Model of Supported Decision Making and trialed it through the Office of the Public Advocate. Through ASSET SA she refined it by developing a training package and has enacted it through the Health & Community Complaints Commissioner. She believes in a better future for those who need support to carry out their wishes or aid to promote their rights and responsibilities. Having an acquired disability fuels her determination to help people with a disability believe in the possible.

OUEDAStephanie Oueda Cruz

Stephanie is leading the international Diversity Team in Paris. She is responsible for the adaptation and deployment of L’Oréal Diversity policy amongst all subsidiaries of the Group in Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Previously, Stephanie worked in L’Oréal México & the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Fluent in 5 languages, she holds a MA in Economics and in Political Science from Université de Montréal et Sorbonne University.

PACEVICIUSJohanna Pacevicius

The Assembly of European Regions (AER) is the largest independent network of regional authorities in wider Europe, bringing together regions from 35 countries. Since 2010, Johanna Pacevicius has been facilitating strategic information, tools and connections for regional stakeholders and managing European projects. She leads the work of the AER Social Policy and Public Health Committee, which focuses on innovation in the public sector, ICT for inclusive societies and social entrepreneurship.

PALMERJude Palmer

Jude started with Digital Outreach in 2008 as a regional manager, leading delivery with local voluntary and community sector partners on the digital TV switchover. She also set up the delivery of the UK-wide Home Visit Service for the Switchover Help Scheme. In early 2012, Jude led the team which bid for and helped design, launch and now administers the Access to Elected Office for Disabled People Fund for the Government Equalities Office.

GIBSONMichael Paul

Michael Paul joined Disability Alliance in 2010 to create and recruit an Advice Team. Michael was then part of the merger board that brought Disability Alliance together with Radar & NCIL to form Disability Rights UK in January 2012, where he now has responsibility for Advice Services & Membership. Prior to that Michael spent more than seven years at another UK based disability charity, focusing on employment.

PERRYLinda Perry

Linda has created 900+ Microboards, established Microboards in Northern Ireland, and helped start a Microboard process in Australia. Linda is known internationally for her expertise in creating innovative supports with Microboards. Linda’s awards include: Community Living Institute Leadership award 1999; recognition at the Women of Distinction awards for Community Leadership 2006; B.C. Big Picture Award 2009; and Family Support Institute’s Celebration of Family Award for an Organization 2013.

PESICSlađana Pešić

She works as a Senior Adviser in the Department for Social Welfare and Child Protection, within the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare of Montenegro. She worked as a Teaching Assistant on the on the Faculty of Political Science for two years. She is a member of the Council of Europe Committee of Experts on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (DECS-RPD) and the Rights of the Child (DECS-ENF), but also a member of many national committees and working groups in the field of social and child protection.

PETERSMarnie Peters

Marnie has nearly 20 years of experience in the field of accessibility and Universal Design; Disability Inclusive Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Risk Reduction. She is an expert in accessibility of the built environment, conducting accessibility audits and making recommendations for the construction and redevelopment of facilities to ensure accessible environments. Currently, she is managing a project on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness for Persons with Disabilities in Canada’s Arctic.

PICHLERHerbert Pichler

Herbert Pichler was born in Passau / Germany. Since his birth, he has incomplete paraplegia. In 2003 he established the “Chancen Nutzen Büro” at the Federation of Austrian Trade Unions. He is working for honorary different organizations for persons with disabilities in case of legal and social counseling. Herbert Pichler is also represented in numerous volunteer activities at different disability organizations. He studied law and is also mediator, mental trainer and supervisor.

PIGGOTMaureen Piggot

Maureen Piggot OBE, is the president of Inclusion Europe, the association of organisations of people with intellectual disability and their families and a member of the Council of Inclusion International. Prior to this she was the Director of Mencap in Northern Ireland for 23 years, in which position she provided leadership within the disability sector in the fight for rights and a better life for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities and their families.

PLACENCIA PORREROInmaculada Placencia-Porrero

She is Deputy Head of Unit, for Rights of Persons with Disabilities within the Directorate General for Employment. The unit is in charge of the coordination of the European policies for persons with disabilities and responsible for the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020 and the implementation of the UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities at EU level. She is responsible for the Task Force for the preparation of the European Accessibility Act.


PNINI-MENDELYakir Pnini-Mendel

In his professional career he tries to improve the lives of people with disabilities in Israel with an expertise on services and rights for people with mental illness. Yakir is a member of the National Council for the Rehabilitation of Persons with Mental Illness. Within the Joint Distribution Committee, he manages an assortment of nation-wide programs that provide services and assistance to adults with various disabilities which promote independent living and inclusion within the community.

PREOBRAZHENSKIYAlexander Preobrazhenskiy

He is an economist and was responsible for the international cooperation in the social and labour fields, including with such organisations as the UN, ILO, OECD, Council of Europe, etc. The work covered the aspects of national implementation of the international treaties. He is currently working at the Social Cohesion and Antidiscrimination Department of the Council of Europe in the area of the rights of people with disabilities. He also acts as a Co-secretary to the Committee of Experts on the rights of people with disabilities of the CoE.

QURESHIAqeel Qureshi

He is the Founder and CEO of Techbility, a company that specializes in accessible websites development, web applications, documents, research and mobile applications. He is the Chief Editor of the Global Accessibility News (GAN) which has more than 16,000 subscribers globally.
He is an internationally recognized accessibility expert who has been working on universal design of; web accessibility, information and communications technology (ICT) and disaster risk reduction.

RAMIREZ JRJosé Ramirez Jr.

He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) through the Texas State Board of Social Work Examiners. He has over 40 years of practice experience as a Social Worker. Since graduation from Louisiana State University, Graduate School of Social Work, he has worked in a variety of settings as a clinician, planner, evaluator, trainer, mentor, college instructor, supervisor and administrator. He has published over 50 articles on various topics and is the author of Squint: My Journey with Leprosy.

RAMOS BARAJASFelipe Ramos Barajas

Felipe Ramos-Barajas is Coordinator for Economic Opportunity Initiatives at the Trust for the Americas, a nonprofit affiliated to the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington, DC. He previously served as Project Officer for the Legal Capacity Initiative and as Social and Economic Inclusion Project for People with Disabilities in Latin America. He currently works for the Partnership for Economic Opportunities through Technology in the Americas—POETA for People with Disabilities.

RASMUSSENJanina Rasmussen

Janina Rasmussen is a consultant at The Danish National Board of Social Services in the department of cognitive disabilities and brain damage. Main focus of work is people with intellectual disabilities with citizenship as an important theme, and she has been managing several projects in this area. Her educational background is a Master in educational anthropology and an education as a social educator. Janina has also previously worked at group homes for adults with intellectual disabilities.

REHIMLIDavud Rehimli

He was born in 1958 in the Shamakha Region in Azerbaijan. Davud is a member of the Working Group on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities since 2010 as well as a commission for implementing partition of residential houses constructing in various cities and regions of the Republic of Azerbaijan for the families of people with disabilities and martyrs within the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of Population.

ROBINSONAlex Robinson

He is Country Director for Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund (ASB) with responsibility for Indonesia and the Philippines. He has a particular professional interest in information-based development programming. In 2013, in coordination with UNISDR and in direct response to the lack of reference to disability within the HFA, Dr Robinson co-founded the Disability-inclusive DRR Network to ensure the active and meaningful participation of persons with disabilities in DRR post-2015 under HFA2.

ROTHENBERGBirgit Rothenberg

Throughout her youth, Birgit has experienced impairments and
disabilities. Since the mid-1970s, she has been active in a political
disability self-help organisation, Selbstbestimmtes Leben. She is a
founding and board member of MOBILE – Selbstbestimmt Leben Behinderter
e.V. in Dortmund. She studied psychology and pedagogy with disability
educational focus. Since 1982 she works as director of the department disability
and study, in the TU University Disability Service in Dortmund.

RUBISCHMax Rubisch

Max Rubisch is a Doctor in Law and Translator in French and Italian. Since 1990 he is Head of Department at the Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and  Consumer Protection (Responsibilities: Austrian Disability Law and Disability Policy, European and International Issues in Disability Policy, Disability Equality Law). Since 1997 he is Member of the Disability High-Level Group of the European Union. And since 2003 he is Lecturer at Vienna University (Disability Law and Disability Policy).

RUVEREWilson Ruvere

Wilson Ruvere is currently the National Executive Director of Jairos Jiri Association responsible for managing all the operations of the organisation in Zimbabwe. Wilson Ruvere enjoys playing Tennis and going to church. He holds a Diploma in Business Studies (UZ) and a Bachelor of Education Special Education (UZ). His innovative practices improved the service delivery to people with disabilities.

SAGRAMOLASilvio Sagramola

He is the Director of Info-Handicap, the National Disability Information and Meeting Centre in Luxembourg and the coordinator of EuCAN, the European Concept for Accessibility Network. His 35 years of experience provide him with a deep insight into exclusion mechanisms towards persons whose needs, expectations or habits are not met by their environment. He has been engaged in a huge variety of initiatives at European level focused on accessibility and on Design for All.

SCHELFHOUTPatrick Schelfhout

Patrick is a founding member of Our New Future. This self-advocacy movement started in 1997. He takes care of the photos and the website. He also supports the political participation project. His other interests are intellectual accessibility. He has co-authored the translation of simplified policy documents in 2009-2014. The Government acknowledges Our New Future as an expert in simple language. Recently the organisation won the Cultural Awards, category volunteer.

SCHONGeorg Schön

Georg Schön is country co-director of Ashoka Austria, and leads Ashoka´s social entrepreneurship incubation programs across Central Europe. Georg holds a M.A. in Social Anthropology, and a M.Sc. in Renewable Energy Management. Before joining Ashoka Georg worked for NGOs and international organizations in Central America and South-eastern Europe in the fields of human rights, climate change, energy and civil society development.

SCOTT-PARKERSusan Scott-Parker

Susan Scott-Parker is the Founder and Chief Executive of Business Disability Forum. It is the world’s leading employers’ organisation working to the mutual benefit of business and people with disabilities. Susan has an international reputation as an authoritative advocate for the business advantages of disability confidence. She is on the Expert Advisory Panels of the Essl Foundation in Vienna, and Work Focus Australia.

SHEPHERDDave Shepherd

Director, Frontline Help, Strategic Transformation within Barclays Bank.

SIGDELSuraj Sigdel

Suraj Sigdel is a development and disability professional with 13 years of experience of empowering persons with disabilities in Nepal. He managed several projects on political empowerment, voting rights, inclusion rights, capacity building, CRPD, employment, health, education and social empowerment. He is currently working with IFES in Nepal for the promotion of civic, electoral and political rights of marginalized populations, including persons with disabilities.

SPÄHNWolfgang Spähn

Wolfgang is a social worker, serving in the Trade Union’s Council (focus on preventive health and work ability, the Disabled Persons Act) and the board of LAG Rheinland-Pfalz Gemeinsam Leben-Gemeinsam Lernen e.V. He is also a member of the State Advisory Council for the participation of disabled people in Rheinland-Pfalz. And he is the father of a daughter with a disability.

STICKINGSMartha Stickings

Martha Stickings works as a researcher managing projects in the Equality Sector of FRA’s Equality and Citizens’ Rights Department. Her areas of expertise include: the rights of persons with disabilities, discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity and social research and analysis. Prior to joining FRA, she held a number of research-related roles in international organisations and NGOs. She studied politics and sociology and holds an MA in international studies.


Ambassador Christine Stix-Hackl, Permanent Representative of Austria to the UN Vienna, Austria Ambassador to Luxembourg (2007-11); Member of the Court of Justice of the European Union (2000-06); Consul – General in Switzerland; Permanent Agent of Austria before the Court of Justice of the EU, Head of European Union Legal Service in the Foreign Ministry (1992-2000). PhD in Law, Diploma in European Law (College of Europe) Teaching e.g. at Vienna University of Economics and Business Adm., Universities of St. Gall/Switzerland) and Saarbrücken/Germany; many publications on EU topics.

SUGIURAHitomi Sugiura

Attorney at law specialised in Juvenile justice, Disabled person cases, Distractive justice, and Post-war compensation. In 2013 Japan’s Election Law persons under adult guardianship were deprived of their right to vote. The Tokyo District Court judged the relevant article as unconstitutional. As a result, the Parliament swiftly adjusted the legislation. She was a chief of the team of eight lawyers represented the suitor in the case that led to this ruling, Ms. Nagoya.

TEODOROVICBorka Teodorovic

She is the founder and President of the Association for Promoting Inclusion (API), the leading organization in Croatia in the development of community-based services for people with intellectual disabilities. For many years Professor Teodorović has worked with national governments, ministries and social welfare institutions in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and Macedonia on systemic reform and community-based service development.

TSVETANOVAKristina Tsvetanova

Kristina Tsvetanova is a Co-founder of BLITAB – the World’s first Tablet for people with sight loss and CEO of BLITAB Technology, one of Austria’s most successful social start-up companies. With her 7 years of hands-on experience in Industrial engineering, Kristina graduated two times with honours Technical University of Sofia. Due to her intuitive vision of social innovations and passion to develop accessible devices for blind people; she invented the award winning device BLITAB.

TUSSYMaria Tussy

Head of the European Affairs Unit at Fundacion ONCE, she is responsible of the supervision of the ESF Operational Programme Fight Against Discrimination since 2000, leaded by Fundación ONCE; responsible for the relationship with the Ministry of Labour, the DG Employment of the European Commission and other Institutions of the EU, and with other Entities of the Third Sector, agents of the grants of the European Social Fund.

VAN DE PERREDanny Van De Perre

Danny works as a self-advocate at Our New Future in Belgium. His job is secretarian and I’m responsible for sending mail. He lives in Oudenaarde and participates in the advisory board of the city.

VANDERSTIGHELENDirk Vanderstighelen

He is a biologist and worked in different sectors such as: environmental management, remote sensing and geographic information, international river basin management, and welfare and health. He travelled through different functions at the United Nations, the Mekong River Commission, and the Flemish Government. In 2008 he joined the Flemish Agency for Disabled Persons as head of the department in charge of personal assistance budgets, advice on assistive technology, medical advice, registration of care requests, implementation of prioritizing care requests.

VAN PUYENBROECKJoris Van Puyenbroeck

Joris Van Puyenbroeck (PhD) is a researcher and lecturer at the Odisee University College in Brussels, teaching bachelor students in Family Studies and Psychosocial Gerontology. His main research topics are support strategies for people with disabilities in view of shared/informal/integrated care, demand driven support strategies for people with intellectual disabilities, reminiscence work and successful aging for people with intellectual disabilities.

VAN TRIGTMatthijs Van Trigt

He studied Educational Sciences at Ghent University (Belgium). Matthijs lives in Ghent, which he describes as a vivid city where people are friendly. His main interests are: Disability Studies, postmodern philosophy, creative problem-solving methods, empowerment, inclusive processes and stories of people. He is a coach at the self-advocacy movement Our New Future.

VEGAAndreas Vega

Andreas Vega is a 54 years old electric wheelchair user, who needs an assistant 24 hours a day. Since 1994 he is on the board of VbA-Independent Living e.V. Andreas lives since 1984 in his own home with personal assistance in accordance with the employer model.

VEULLIETYves Veulliet

Yves started his career in IBM in 1992 as administrative assistant for a team of sales rep in the Public Sector at European level. In 2014, Yves was appointed Global Disability & Inclusion Program Manager – to facilitate the inclusion of employees with different abilities, to improve IBM’s existing programs as well as identifying existing inhibitors to a successful work experience.

VOLENTIRAndrei Volentir

Born on 1 of May 1975 Graduated Public Administration in 2000. Since 2011: Secretary of Central Electoral Commission of Moldova. Previously: public servant in Apparatus of the President, Parliament of Moldova, University lecturer. Among publications are: “Reintegration of Moldova. Solutions and models”; “Party Competition in Moldova: Ideology, Organization, and Approaches to Ethno-Territorial Conflicts”; etc.

VON UEXKULLJakob Von Uexkull

Jakob von Uexkull is the founder of the World Future Council (2007) and the Right Livelihood Award (1980), often referred to as the ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’. As a past Member of the European Parliament (1987-89) he served on the Political Affairs Committee and later on the UNESCO Commission on Human Duties and Responsibilities (1998-2000).


Mister Walsh is a Consultant Architect, Fire Engineer and Technical Controller. He is the Managing Director of Sustainable Design International Ltd and Chief Fire Engineer & Technical Officer of FireOx International, the Fire Engineering Division of SDI.

WIEMEIJERFrederique Wiemeijer

Frédérique Wiemeijer joined the Essl Foundation in 2014 and assists in building new partnerships with international organizations and in identifying new opportunities for the Zero Project. She has a background in Communication, Programme and Resource Mobilization and served UNICEF for almost a decade. She supported the development of the organizations’ global fundraising strategies and was active in different thematic areas contributing to many successful partnerships and cause-related marketing – and advocacy campaigns.

WOLFMAYRFranz Wolfmayr

Franz Wolfmayr studied Sociology and Pedagogy. After completing his studies, he worked as a Special Educator and he was a founding member of Chance B. Since 1989 he worked as the manager of Chance B establishments in Gleisdorf. This organisation currently consists of 250 employees and more than 1,700 persons with disabilities in Oststeiermark. Currently, he is the president of the European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD).

ZAKREVSKAYAAnna Zakrevskaya

Head of Department of Social Protection at the Labour Institute of the Ministry of Labour and social protection. She developed recommendations for their practical application to correspond the needs of people with disabilities; participated in developing the system for monitoring of disabilities and control over effectiveness of rehabilitation by introducing the data base of people with disabilities. In 2013-2014 developed draft Concept of the State Programme of Social Integration of People with Disabilities for 2016-2020.

ZELDERLOOLuk Zelderloo

Luk Zelderloo has been professionally active in the disability sector for more than 30 years. For the last 13 years, Mr Zelderloo has been active on the European level as well. He is one of the founding fathers of EASPD. He is the President of Cebob – De Link- a service providing organization & training centre in Flanders providing vocational training and job coaching for persons with disabilities, and a Board member of the Global Partnership for Disability and Development (GPDD).

ZOLLECorina Zolle

She is managing director and project manager at Rhein-Main-inclusive eV. As a result of muscle disease she relies continuously on personal assistance. She organises her personal assistance as part of the employer model. While studying biology, she came into contact with the Independent Living Movement and she started to advise other people with disabilities about assistance. For this reason, she was active in various organisations. She also worked as a molecular biologist.