Board of Directors

Ola Abu Al GhaibOla Abu Al Ghaib serves on the boards of directors for the Disability Rights Fund and the Disability Rights Advocacy Fund as the Compliance Officer. She was initially nominated to the Disability Rights Fund Global Advisory Panel by the Arab Organization of Disabled People. Ola is currently the Global Head of Influencing, Impact and Learning at Leonard Cheshire Disability. Previously, she was the Regional Disability Rights and Advocacy Coordinator and Musawa Project Manager for the Middle East Regional Office of Handicap International. She is also the Founder and Chairperson of Stars of Hope Center, a Disabled Persons’ Organization, in the Occupied Territories, which focuses on empowerment of women with disabilities and creation of an enabling environment that guarantees their full social integration and participation as citizens. Ola has spent her life advocating for the rights of persons with disabilities. She has worked with the German Organization for the Disabled, CARE International, and the Swedish Organization of Persons with Disabilities International (SHIA). She has an M.A. in Project Management from Birzeit University. Ola was selected as an Agent of Change by the Worldwide Network on Disability and Human Rights (an entity managed by SHIA) in 2006; and elected as an Ashoka Fellow in 2007.

Charlie ClementsCharlie Clements serves on the boards of directors for the Disability Rights Fund and the Disability Rights Advocacy Fund. He is a public health physician and human rights activist. In the fall of 2015, Charlie stepped down after five years as the Executive Director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, where he continues to serve as an Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy. He was a founding board member of Physicians for Human Rights, served on its board for fifteen years, and in as President in December 1997 represented PHR at the treaty signing ceremony in Ottawa and a week later at the Nobel Prize ceremony in Oslo for the International Campaign to Ban Landmines.

Kai DickersonKai Dickerson serves on the boards of directors for the Disability Rights Fund and the Disability Rights Advocacy Fund as Treasurer.  Kai is a vice president at State Street, a global financial services organization, and has held positions in mutual fund and private equity operations, management, strategy and analytics.  Kai was chairperson of the Disability Awareness Alliance, an employee network that aims to raise awareness, community engagement, and advocate for employees who are impacted by disability. Kai has an Associate in Science degree from New England College of Business and Finance.

Andrew Ferren

Andrew Ferren serves on the boards of directors for the Disability Rights Fund and the Disability Rights Advocacy Fund as Clerk. Andy is a partner at Goulston & Storrs, a law firm based in Boston with offices in New York City and Washington, DC. As a specialist in commercial transactions and intellectual property law, he handles a wide range of business matters for established and emerging companies, non-profit organizations, closely-held businesses, and individual entrepreneurs. Andy devotes much of his time to pro bono work and the representation of non-profit clients, including several whose missions are international in scope. In addition to DRF, these organizations include Endeavor Global, YouthBuild International, Oxfam America, and Fair Trade USA. Andy has served on the Advisory Council of Fair Trade USA since 2004. He is a graduate of Harvard College and the University of Chicago Law School.

Beth MacNairn

Beth MacNairn serves on the boards of directors for the Disability Rights Fund and the Disability Rights Advocacy Fund. She is Deputy Director for Health Volunteers Overseas. Previously, she served as Director of Public Sector Development for Partners In Health and Executive Director of Handicap International (HI) US. She was Haiti Project Director for a USAID funded workforce development initiative, served with Catholic Relief Services in Morocco and worked for AMIDEAST in Washington, DC, and in Cairo, Egypt. Ms. MacNairn was on the board of directors of InterAction (2013-2015) and the executive committee of the Hilton Laureates Collaborative. A graduate of Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, she has an MA in international relations and economics and received her BA from the University of Virginia.

Kristen Pratt

Kristen Pratt serves on the boards of directors for the Disability Rights Fund and the Disability Rights Advocacy Fund. She has over 30 years of experience in social development and disability rights. Kristen worked for the Australian Government Aid Program (then AusAID) from 1996 to 2014 where, as Director of Disability Inclusive Development (DID), she led the development and early implementation of Australia’s first inclusive development strategy for the aid program: Development for All: Towards a disability-inclusive Australian aid program 2009-2014. In this capacity, Kristen was a significant supporter of DRF, initiating an early partnership with DRF under Australia’s new DID strategy, and playing an active role as a donor representative on the DRF Grantmaking Committee. Kristen was seconded to the World Health Organization from 2012 to 2014 as Technical Officer with WHO’s Disability and Rehabilitation team where she led the consultation process and designed WHO’s first-ever global disability strategy: WHO global disability action plan 2014–2021: Better health for all people with disability. During her time in Geneva Kristen held a Board Role with the ICRC Special Fund for the Disabled as Australia’s representative. Kristen holds Masters Degrees in Education and International Development and Business Administration.

William RowlandWilliam Rowland serves on the boards of directors for the Disability Rights Fund and the Disability Rights Advocacy Fund as Co-Chair. He was initially nominated to the Disability Rights Fund Global Advisory Panel by the World Blind Union. William is the Immediate Past President of the World Blind Union, the Honorary President of the South African National Council for the Blind, and the Honorary President of Disabled People South Africa. He is the Chairperson of DEC Investment Holding Company Ltd., an enterprise generating funds for Disabled Persons’ Organization through commercial ventures (banking, construction, manufacture, telecommunications) and Director of the Taquanta financial group of companies. Until 2007, he was CEO of the Thabo Mbeki Development Trust for Disabled People, an agency providing skills development, assistive technology, and poverty alleviation. He is the Co-founder and Past Chairperson of the Southern African Federation of the Disabled (SAFOD), a regional development agency. William is the former Chairperson of the IDA CRPD Forum, an alliance of 8 global and 2 regional organizations of persons with disabilities.

Diana Samarasan, Founding Executive DirectorDiana Samarasan is the Founding Executive Director of the Disability Rights Fund and the Disability Rights Advocacy Fund. She also serves on the boards of directors for the Disability Rights Fund and the Disability Rights Advocacy Fund as an ex-officio member. Diana is the primary liaison to donors to the Fund and oversees grantmaking and strategic development. She is also responsible for promoting inclusion of people with disabilities in the human rights and development funding arenas. Diana has over two decades of experience in disability, international health, and human rights. Previously, Diana directed the Mental Disability Advocacy Center, a legal advocacy organization in Budapest, Hungary, which litigates abuses of rights of persons with disabilities in institutions. She also worked with the American Refugee Committee and Doctors of the World, addressing issues such as access of vulnerable populations to reproductive health services, tuberculosis control, and deinstitutionalization. A graduate of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, Diana has advanced degrees in Public Administration and Psychology. Diana is Co-Chair of the Steering Committee of the International Human Rights Funders’ Group, a member of the Steering Committee of Opportunity Collaboration, and a Board member of the United States International Council on Disability.

Catherine Townsend HeadshotCatherine Hyde Townsend serves on the board of directors for the Disability Rights Fund and the Disability Rights Advocacy Fund as the Co-Chair. Catherine is a Senior Program Officer at Wellspring Advisors, where she has managed the disability rights portfolio since 2006. With more than 14 years of grantmaking experience, Catherine also manages grantmaking supporting the security and protection of human rights defenders. From 2004-2008, she managed the International Human Rights Funders Group’s educational programming and operations.Prior to joining Wellspring, Catherine worked as a Program Associate at the Mertz Gilmore Foundation supporting the launch of its U.S. Human Rights Program. She also staffed the LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust, which supports dance, and environmental organizations in New York City. Between 1995 and 1999, Catherine worked at as a management consultant at JP Morgan in several offices around the world and then later as Chief Administrative Officer of its Healthcare investment banking division. Catherine holds an M.A. from Yale University focusing on international human rights and law and a B.A. from Hamilton College.

Lorraine WaplingLorraine Wapling serves on the boards of directors for the Disability Rights Fund and the Disability Rights Advocacy Fund. Lorraine has extensive policy and research experience in disability inclusive programs through her work with bilateral agencies and international NGOs across Africa, Asia ,and the Pacific. Lorraine represented the DFID (UK Aid), at UN meetings and international workshops on disability inclusive development, and worked on assignments for DFAT (Australian Aid), the UN and the European Union. Lorraine has also produced anumber of resources on disability inclusive development, including DRF’s “Beyond Charity: A Donor’s Guide to Inclusion.” She is currently researching the models that influence educational outcomes for deaf children in low-income countries for her PhD at University College London.