Setareki S. Macanawai serves on the boards of directors for the Disability Rights Fund and the Disability Rights Advocacy Fund. Setareki S. Macanawai is currently the CEO for the Pacific Disability Forum (PDF) based in Suva, Fiji. Prior to PDF, he served as the Executive Director of the Fiji National Council for Disabled Persons and Principal of the Fiji School for the Blind. Setareki is a leading disability advocate in Asia and the Pacific region and has served on the committees of many international and regional organizations concerned with disability, including as Chairperson of the Steering Committee of the Global Network of Indigenous Persons with Disabilities, and as a founding member of the Disability Inclusive Development Reference Group of the Australian Aid Programme. In the latter role, he provided guidance on disability-inclusive development to help shape the implementation of Australia’s Development for All strategy to ensure that the aid program is consistent with and fulfills Australia’s obligations under international law (CRPD). Seta earned a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration from the University of New England of Australia.
Sikelelwa Alexandrina Msitshana is the CEO of The Deaf Empowerment Firm (DEF), a company she founded to enable economic inclusion of the Deaf community in South Africa. She is currently serving in The Presidential Working Group on Disability (PWGD) whose mandate is to advise the President and his Ministry on strategic and focused programs that enhance the development of People with Disabilities and ensure Equal Citizenship. She is a member of the World Federation of the Deaf and also serves on the boards of The National Council of and for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD) as well as Sign Language Education and Development (SLED) respectively. Earlier in her career, prior to her hearing disability, Alex held, among others, the position of Acting Director – International Liaison & Fundraising at the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) of South Africa where she engaged with various members of the donor community nationally and internationally, as well as other electoral bodies in the SADC Region and Internationally to garner support for the IEC’s democracy education, capacity building, and overall democracy development programs. Alex holds a Bachelor of Administration degree from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) and has over the years acquired experience in Senior Strategic Management positions in the corporate and development sectors. She continues to play her Social Activist role today, just as she did as an anti-apartheid movement activist for democracy, equality, and justice for all in South Africa.
Maria Ní Fhlatharta serves on the board of the Disability Rights Fund and the Disability Rights Advocacy Fund as our Co-Chair. Maria is a researcher at the Centre for Disability Law and Policy, where she works on the Re(al) Productive Justice project, funded by the Wellcome Trust. She recently co-authored the first report on the experiences and rights of people with disabilities in Irish Prisons. She has spoken at a number of conferences on disability law and human rights; across Europe but also in North America, East Africa, and Southeast Asia. Maria holds an LLM in Comparative International Disability Law and Policy and an undergraduate degree in Civil Law from NUIG. Her current research interests include; human rights in healthcare, reproductive rights, legal capacity, mental health law, access to justice, bioethics, and equality and non-discrimination. Maria is a founding member of Disabled Women Ireland. She has significant experience in politics and campaigns.
Maureen A. Lister has extensive experience in finance, accounting, operations, and administration. She is currently the executive director of Family ACCESS, a 501c (3) focused on equality for children, parents, and families in accessing education and support services. Maureen believes in the importance of self-advocacy and amplifying the voices of marginalized communities. She has held executive management roles across various industries, including life sciences, biomedical, biotech, and human/health services. Maureen has experience in a broad spectrum of environments, from small start-ups to established corporations in both the public and private sectors and non-profit organizations. She holds an M.B.A. from DePaul University and a B.S. in Finance from Northeastern University.
Michael Njenga works as a Regional Mental Health Advisor – Africa for CBM Global. He is also an Executive Council Member of the Commonwealth Disabled People Forum. Michael is a member of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry in Kenya (USP-K) and serves in an advisory capacity. Mr. Njenga has completed a fellowship with the International Disability Alliance (IDA). As a person with a psychosocial disability, he is passionate about advocating for the right to legal capacity and inclusive society where all persons with disabilities enjoy all their human rights. Michael has extensive knowledge in inclusive development, legal harmonization, advocacy, and monitoring the implementation of the CRPD. He has worked extensively on Article 12 of the CRPD, having been part of a technical committee that developed a briefing paper on Article 12 of the CRPD with the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights and conducted research on legal capacity on behalf of Validity Foundation, formerly the Mental Disability Advocacy Center (MDAC).
Mr. Njenga is also a lead trainer in the BRIDGE CRPD/SDG capacity-building program. This is a capacity development initiative between the International Disability Alliance (IDA) and the International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC).
Alberto Vasquez is a Peruvian human rights lawyer and disability activist. A person with psychosocial disabilities himself, he is the president of the NGO Society and Disability – SODIS and a member of the Latin American Network of Psychosocial Diversity. Alberto graduated in Law from the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru and holds an LL.M in International and Comparative Disability Law and Policy from the National University of Ireland, Galway. He works as a consultant on disability and mental health law and policy and has served in that role in various UN entities, including the Secretary-General’s office, WHO, OHCHR, UNICEF, and ILO. He worked as a Research Coordinator at the Office of the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities during Catalina Devandas’ mandate. In Peru, he has been actively involved in the drafting, advocacy, and monitoring of laws and policies relating to persons with disabilities and worked for many years at the Ombudsperson Office and the Peruvian Congress.
Lorraine Wapling serves on the boards of directors for the Disability Rights Fund and the Disability Rights Advocacy Fund as Co-Chair. 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 was embedded in DFID’s policy and research department as their disability specialist for several years, helping to lay the foundations for DFID’s current disability framework and has and worked on assignments for DFAT (Australian Aid), the UN and the European Union. Lorraine has also produced a number 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.