Alexander A. Mejía has an extensive professional background in banking, diplomacy, public office, and academia. After a successful career in corporate banking in Latin America, Mr. Mejía joined the Foreign Service as the Diplomatic Counselor and Commercial Director of the Ecuadorian Embassy in Bogotá, Colombia. Subsequently in 2001, Mr. Mejía was named Vice Minister of Economy for his native Ecuador. He has also been a Governor to the World Bank and Alternate Governor to the Inter-American Development Bank. He subsequently served as Executive Vice President of Guayaquil's Chamber of Industries and was the Director of the Andean Program at the Inter-American Council in Washington, D.C. Mr. Mejía also served under the Governor of the State of Georgia as the Vice President for Government Relations for Hemisphere, Inc., a non-for-profit organization created to strengthen ties with Latin America, in Atlanta, Georgia. He has also held various professorships in strategic planning, international marketing, and international studies in Ecuador and the United States.
Mr. Mejía earned a Masters in Finance from INCAE University in Costa Rica and a Bachelors degree from Zamorano University in Honduras. He also holds a Diploma in Political Leadership from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, and graduated from The Political and Electoral Marketing Program of Universidad de La Sabana in Colombia.
Ambassador Anda Filip is the Permanent Observer of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) to the United Nations. A diplomat with the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 1990, she previously served as spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry, minister counselor at the Embassy of Romania in Washington DC and ambassador, permanent representative of Romania to the United Nations Office and other international organizations based in Geneva. She is a graduate of the University of Bucharest and the National School of Political Science and Public Administration, with an MA in international relations.
As part of its efforts towards consolidating capacities within national parliaments, in 2006 the IPU joined the United Nations in setting up a Global Center for Information and Communication Technologies in Parliament, which is based in Rome, Italy. One of the objectives of the Center is to increase access by all citizens to parliamentary activities and documentation. IPU is also currently working alongside the UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in putting together a Guide for Parliamentarians, with a view to facilitating the ratification and implementation of the new Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Ambassador Gallegos was appointed Ecuador's Ambassador to the United States on October 1, 2005. Prior to this position, he was Ecuador's Permanent Representative to the United Nations. He is also the former Chair of the Ad Hoc Committee on a Comprehensive and Integral Internal Convention on Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities.
Ambassador Gallegos served in Washington as counselor in the Ecuadorian Embassy from 1979 to 1980. More recently, Ambassador Gallegos, who joined the Foreign Service in 1966, served as permanent representative to the United Nations and ambassador to Australia. Before that, he was Ecuador's permanent representative to the European Office of the United Nations and other international organizations in Geneva (1997-2000), ambassador to El Salvador (1994-97), minister and chargé d'affaires of the Ecuadorian Embassy in Bulgaria (1985-89), counselor to the Organization of American States (1978-79), and consul general in Chicago (1975-78).
In addition, he has held various postings in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 1969, including national coordinator for entities such as Latin America, the Caribbean, European Union, Rio Group, Iberoamerican Summit and Summit of the Americas (2000-02), director general of international projects (1990-94), of Eastern Europe (1990), of information and media (1989-90), and of technical cooperation and external credit (1984), as well as director of the Department of Legalizations and the Department of Territorial Sovereignty (1983-84). Ambassador Gallegos has also participated in numerous Ecuadorian delegations, been decorated 10 times by various countries, and taught as a professor of international law in Quito. He speaks English and French and is married to Fabiola Jaramillo Almeida de Gallegos and has two children: Maria Cristina Gallegos Jaramillo, 24, and Jorge Luis Gallegos Jaramillo, 21.
President of World Times, Inc., former CEO of Computerworld Communications, President and CEO of International Data Corporation, CEO of Bull HN Worldwide Information Systems - Formerly Honeywell Information Systems and CEO of ExecuTrain; Senior Special Fellow of UNITAR, founding trustee of CIFAL Atlanta. Axel Leblois holds an MBA from INSEAD and is a graduate of Sciences Po Paris.
Barry K. Fingerhut
President & Board Member
Barry K. Fingerhut has been involved in the investment business for over 35 years. He has been a principal of GeoCapital LLC (a Registered Investment Advisory firm) since 1981, following two years at First Manhattan Co. and four years as a General Partner of Weiss, Pack & Greer. Mr. Fingerhut has served as President since 1986 and has focused much of his investment experience on small capitalization companies in the education and training, publishing, media, consumer services, hydrocarbon and financial industries. In 1992, he co-founded Wheatley Partners, a Venture Capital partnership, specializing in investments in new technologies and services, serving both corporate and public institutions. Currently, there are five outstanding partnerships. In 2004 he co-founded F/H Partners LLC, a Family and Friends Investment Partnership in New York City.
Since 1992, Mr. Fingerhut has served on a number of public and private Boards of Directors, with current position at Apollo Group International, Edufund (Global Student Loan Corp.), WeatherWise International, and Wizmo Co., among others.
In the non-profit sector, he currently serves as President and Board Member of F.E.G.S., the largest Health and Human Services agency in New York City. Additionally, he serves on the Board of Overseers at the Stern School of Business at New York University, and Achievement/First Corp., parent of the Amistad School, a Charter School operation in New Haven and New York City.
Mr. Fingerhut holds a B.S. degree with distinction from the University of Maryland and an M.B.A. in Finance/Investments from New York University.
NIIT Technologies is a global IT solutions organization, with a footprint that spans North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. They have been enabling corporations across the world to achieve their business goals using IT as the tool for over two decades. Having positioned themselves as a navigator and partner, they have been guiding customers in their quest for state-of-the-art IT solutions. The two key values driving business practices at NIIT Technologies are Innovation and Trust that have helped build enduring relationships with clients.
C.N. (Madhu) Madhusudan is an accomplished executive with over 20 years experience in setting up and managing software, training and knowledge based businesses. His expertise areas include launching new businesses, turnaround management, outsourcing, strategic investments, and acquisitions.
As a speaker, Mr. C.N. has addressed audiences on technology, technology education, and outsourcing issues at events of the World Bank, IFC, IMF, Institute for International Research, World Education Market, Council for Entrepreneurial Development, Georgia State University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Emory University, and UNESCO. As a philatelist specializing in the Second World War, he has won several awards in national and international exhibitions and was recognized by the Government of India for his services to Indian Philately.
As President of NIIT Ventures, Madhu leads new venture investment initiatives aimed at accelerating NIIT's outsourcing business growth through strategic investments and acquisitions. He led NIIT's acquisition of Osprey, Data Executives International, AD Solutions AG (Germany), Cognitive Arts, ROOM Solutions Ltd. and the solutions division of Click2Learn.
Director of Project Handicap
Since, 1991, Air France has established tri-annual agreements in order to ensure that specific actions are taken in relation to measures and policies undertaken by Human Resources regarding handicapped employees. These measures concern all positions within Air France and in all departments, including those overseas. Under the last agreement, those signing sought a unified pursuit of both integration and fair recruitment of disabled employees. They aimed to develop a dynamic set of policies that would be employed at all levels and in all departments within Air France. Mrs. Millous believes that it is Air France's duty to integrate all those who, in spite of their differences, are everyone's current and future colleagues.
Air France is committed to a total integration policy for handicapped employees. The company has structured itself in order to not only employ handicapped individuals, but also to keep employees who become handicapped employed. The integration and training of such individuals are areas where Air France also places significant emphasis. A handicapped worker is a full-time salaried employee and thus reaps the same benefits and privileges as all other employees, in addition to access to special help when necessary.
Access to training for the hearing impaired is one example of a specific area of development that Air France has focused on. Training sessions are held with sign language translators in order to assure that all employees are equally able to learn or perfect the skills in their respective domains of expertise. Another example concerns individuals with mobility challenges. For such employees, assistants are available at the workplace to help employees who require mobility assistance.
Consumer Association in Standards, ANEC
Chiara Giovannini holds a degree in law and is the Program Manager at ANEC (European Association for the Co-ordination of Consumer Representation in Standardisation). Ms. Giovannini is in charge of Design for All (Accessibility) and Standardisation related to the Information Society, including information and communications technologies (ICT).
Assistant Project Manager (DFA Project)
DAISY For All Project is being implemented by the DAISY Consortium to introduce accessible digital multimedia content development in developing countries. This implementation includes training, development and distribution of production and play back software, production support, etc. Besides, the project helps agencies in the adopted focal point country to adopt production and playback software in local languages. Open source software development in support of these activities are also part of this project. Assistance to local agencies in formulating policies, strategies and programmes for ICT accessibility and in particular the digital content accessibility is provided. Mr. Dipendra Manocha is looking after the implementation of this project in South Asian countries. He is the director of the Regional Resource Centre of the DFA Project situated at National Association for the Blind, Sector 5, R.K. Puram, New Delhi, India. He is also playing management role in open source software development part of the project.
He had been Director IT & Services at the National Association for the Blind, New Delhi, India since 1994 and has be involved in development of iCT Training for persons with blindness, Braille transcription software for Hindi Language besides management of ICT related development, training and accessible material development in audio, Braille or large-print related projects. He has published research on employment for persons with vision impairment based on ICT.
Dr. Emdad Khan
Founder & CEO
Dr. Emdad Khan founded the company in 1998 with the vision to develop innovative technology for accessing information on the Internet anytime, anywhere, using just an ordinary telephone and the human voice. As a pioneer in the Internet voice space, Khan is a frequent speaker at voice-recognition, Internet application and other industry trade shows and conferences. He holds 14 patents and has published more than 40 papers on the advent of voice technology on the Internet, neural nets, fuzzy logic, intelligent systems, VLSI and optics. Khan's acute technical knowledge and keen understanding of emerging markets has played an important role in the development of InternetSpeech's first product/service netECHO, the only product available today that delivers complete voice Internet access.
During his career, Khan invented, defined, developed and deployed worldwide new intelligent software products for micro-controller-based home appliances. He has also created and deployed speech recognition Internet applications. He has 20 years of experience with large semi-conductor companies, including Intel and National.
Khan has taught courses at universities and industry conferences on VLSI, neural net and fuzzy logic. He holds a doctorate in computer science, master of science degrees in electrical engineering and engineering management and a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering.
Dr. Hajime Yamada
Toyo University, Japan
Hajime Yamada is a Professor, Faculty of Economics in Toyo University in Japan and is a Member of Engineering Academy of Japan. He received B.E., M.E. and D.E. from Keio University and M.S. in Management of Technology from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Before being Professor, he was the Executive Manager of Standardization Strategy in Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation.
He participates in various international, regional and national standardization activities including ISO/IEC JTC1 Special Working Group on Accessibility and is the Project Editor of ISO 9241-20 (Ergonomics of human-system interaction - Part20: Accessibility guidelines for information communication equipment and services: General guidelines).
His research interests include economics of information and communications media, accessibility of information and communications, and management of technology. He publishes books frequently, one of which is "Management of Technology: Innovating the Future" (in Japanese) from NTT Publishing in 2004.
Dr. Rodolfo Cattani
Member & Chair
Executive Committee (European Disability Forum & Commission for Liasing with the European Union)
European Blind Union
Rodolfo Cattani is on the executive committee of the European Disability Forum, and he is Chairman of the Commission for Liasing with the European Union. Mr. Cattani received a degree in the philosophy of science from Bologna University. After teaching high school classes for 13 years, Mr. Cattani became the managing director of the Italian National Library for the Blind, and in 1999, he consulted on issues regarding visual impairment.
Mr. Cattani is a former chariman of the Universal Access Committee, and he has held various positions within the National Council of the European Blind Union, the Italian Union of the Blind, and the World Blind Union. Last year, he chaired CEN's Information Society Standardizations System's workshop that provided web accessibility certification.
IBM Global Public Sector
Emilie McCabe is the General Manager of IBM Global Public Sector and is responsible for worldwide sales for the sector with the largest IT opportunity. In her role, she sets the strategy, direction and execution of information technology solutions and services for the government, education, healthcare and life sciences industries.
Ms. McCabe has more than 28 years of experience in the information technology marketplace with an extensive background in sales, marketing and business management. Before moving to her current position, she was vice president, worldwide sales, for IBM's Systems and Technology Group. Prior to this, Ms. McCabe led STG sales for Canada, the US and Latin America, driving ten consecutive quarters of growth and share gain. Ms. McCabe held a number of executive positions in IBM's Software Group, including Vice President, Worldwide Sales for the WebSphere Portfolio; Vice President of Marketing for Application Development Software, and Vice President, Worldwide Software Sales Operations. Ms. McCabe led WebSphere's sales from new entrant to market leadership.
Ms. McCabe holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Frank Hecker is a staff member with the Mozilla Foundation, a nonprofit organization promoting choice and innovation on the Internet through its support of the Mozilla project and related initiatives. Prior to joining the Mozilla Foundation full-time Frank was a sales engineer with Opsware Inc, supporting sales of Opsware IT automation software and services to the Federal government. He has also worked for CollabNet, supporting sales of CollabNet services relating to open-source and other collaborative software development, and for Netscape Communications Corporation and then for America Online, Inc., as Director of Systems Engineering for the Sun/Netscape Alliance government sales group (previously the Netscape government sales group) in Bethesda, Maryland. At Netscape he was sales technical lead for the Netscape/DoD worldwide site license, the FORTEZZA, FIPS 140-1, and Netscape Security Services projects, and many other sales activities; he was also a key contributor to Netscape's decision to release source code for Netscape Communicator, and was appointed one of three Netscape Fellows. His professional interests include the technical, business, and public policy aspects of open-source software, information systems security, and cryptography; he is author of the Mozilla Crypto FAQ (which discusses how U.S. encryption export controls affect an open-source project) and the paper Setting Up Shop: The Business of Open-Source Software.
Hendrietta Ipeleng Bogopane-Zulu
South African Parliament at the National Assembly
Currently the Chairperson of the South African Parliament at the National Assembly, Mrs. Bogopane-Zulu has significant experience in the South African Parliament and abroad with regards to adopting and implementing policies for the benefit and protection of persons with disabilities. She holds a diploma in Word Processing and Public Relations as well as certificates in Introduction to Microcomputer, Practical Journalism, Organizational Development, Policy Analysis and Development and Direct Marketing from Technikon Pretoria., University of Pretoria, Development Resource Center as well as the Valeur Institute. Mrs. Bogopane-Zulu has previously been employed by the by Disabled People South Africa (DPSA) as the National Coordinator for the Disabled Women's Development Programme (DWDP) from January 1996 until June 1999 as well as serving on the South African National Aids council representing the disability sector.
Visually impaired herself, Mrs. Bogopane-Zulu is married with three girls, two of which are also visually impaired. She is known worldwide for her work as a disability rights, gender, and HIV & AIDS activist as well as a renowned writer and researcher on disability.
City of Cali, Columbia
At the age of 7, Mayor Salcedo lost his sight in an unfortunate accident. He went to Cali, Colombia to study for nine years in the Institute for Blind and Deaf Children. He received his Bachelor's Degree from the Colegio Departamental Eustaquio Palacios in 1974 and then directly entered the Faculty of Law at the Universidad Libre Seccional Cali. Wanting to strengthen and deepen his knowledge even more, Mayor Salcedo then pursued postgraduate studies in Public Administration at the Universidad del Valle from 1987 to 1989.
Helping and being in contact with people is Mayor Salcedo's largest priority and passion in life. As a trained lawyer and humanist, Mayor Salcedo strongly advocates for the provision of legal services to those who do not have the economic means by which to hire council. Mayor Salcedo has received numerous prestigious awards for his social service contributions and leadership, including the Order of Alférez Real of the Junior Chamber of Colombia and a Gold Medallion from the Civil Colombian Defense.
Mayor Salcedo has worked as head of the Civil Labor department in the Justice Office at the Universidad Libre and in the Secretariat of Housing of the Valle Government as Income Supervisor, Head Judge of Income and Fiscal Implementation, and Substantiate Attorney. In addition to these positions, Mayor Salcedo has also held a number of other positions for the Valle Government in the areas of education, finance, and legal services. Furthermore, he is an active member and fellow of several associations.
Mr. Salcedo first became Mayor of Cali, Colombia in 1994. In 1997, he was reelected as a Councilor for the City of Cali, and in 1998 and 2000 he was elected as the President of the City Council of Cali. He was then reelected as Mayor of Cali in 2003.
CORA - Creating Opportunities by Recognizing Abilities
Ms. Morris-Sambur is a former Director and Senior Turnaround Consultant for one of the top ten national turnaround consulting firms. Possessing over 20 years hands-on executive financial management experience, she has delivered record-setting gains in increased profits for companies in over 35 industries. Serving as interim management as CEO, CFO and Controller for 100's of financially distressed businesses she has helped return them to profitable operations with her strong leadership and training skills.
Recently, her focus was enhanced with a new purpose. Ms. Morris-Sambur realized there was a critical need for a company focused on training and connecting people with disabilities with telework opportunities. In incorporating the proven methodologies that enabled her to become a successful business woman, CORA offers supervised telework outsourcing services for accounting, business-to-business collections, customer service and administrative functions, by providing training and placement opportunities in telework for individuals with disabilities, disabled veterans, their families and spouses. Ms. Morris-Sambur was the recipient of the United States Secretary of Labor's 2006 New Freedom Initiative Award, which annually recognizes non-profits, small businesses, corporations and individuals from a cross-section of industries that have demonstrated exemplary and innovative efforts to enhance the employment of people with disabilities.
The Secretariat is the lead program on disability within the United Nations System. It has served as secretariat for the negotiations that led to the adoption of the Convention on 13 December 2006. The Secretariat has been mandated by the Chief Executive Board of the United Nations to facilitate the development of a system-wide strategy for the implantation of the Convention.
The major objectives of the Secretariat are the following: (i) to support the full and effective participation of persons with disabilities in social life and development; (ii) to advance the rights and protect the dignity of persons with disabilities and; (iii) to promote equal access to employment, education, information, goods and services.
Mr. Gonnot has over 25 years of experience in the field of social policy and development, with a special emphasis on policy formulation, programs monitoring and analysis. A former research scholar at the International Institute for Applied System Analysis (IIASA) in Laxenburg, Austria, he holds graduate degrees in economics and theology as well as a Ph. D. in history and a post-graduate degree in demography.
National Council on Disability
John R. Vaughn lives in Fort Myers, Florida. He was appointed chairperson of the National Council on Disability by President Bush and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in August, 2006. The National Council on Disability is an independent federal agency consisting of 15 Members. The purpose of the National Council is to promote policies, programs, practices, and procedures that- empower individuals with disabilities to achieve economic self-sufficiency, independent living, and inclusion and integration into all aspects of society.
Mr. Vaughn retired in 1991 after 23 years as an investment banker in the financial services industry where he held senior, executive and board of director positions. He has been blind since age 32 from retinitis pigmentosa. Assistive technology has enabled Mr. Vaughn to have a successful and rewarding professional life. Governor George Allen appointed Mr. Vaughn commissioner of the Virginia Department of Rehabilitative Services and Commissioner of the Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired in 1994 where he served until 1999, when he retired for the second time. He then he operated his own Training and Evaluation consulting business in Florida training blind people how to use access technology for the Florida Division of Blind Services from 2000 to 2005. Mr. Vaughn was appointed to the Florida Rehabilitation Advisory Council for Blind Services in 2001 by Governor Jeb Bush. Mr. Vaughn has been involved in state and national advocacy organizations for the blind since 1980.
Web Accessibility Initiative, W3C-WAI
The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) works with organizations around the world to develop strategies, guidelines, and resources to help make the Web accessible to people with disabilities. The World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) commitment to lead the Web to its full potential includes promoting a high degree of usability for people with disabilities. The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) develops its work through W3C's consensus-based process, involving different stakeholders in Web accessibility. These include industry, disability organizations, government, accessibility research organizations, and more.
WAI, in partnership with organizations around the world, pursues accessibility of the Web through five primary activities:
1/ ensuring that core technologies of the Web support accessibility
2/ developing guidelines for Web content, user agents, and authoring tools
3/ facilitating development of evaluation and repair tools for accessibility
4/ conducting education and outreach
5/ coordinating with research and development that can affect future accessibility of the Web
Technology and Trade Policy, Information Technology Industrial Council
The Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) is a non-profit industry association that represents global leaders in information and communications technology (ITC) and innovation. As a recognized expert on some of the most critical issues affecting the ITC industry, Mr. Salaets has been instrumental in positioning ITI as the leading global industry voice on accessibility and energy policy.
An accomplished public speaker and industry strategist, Mr. Salaets is often called upon by government and industry to present the ITC business perspective on emerging legislative and regulatory issues, and to help advance negotiations on critical policy initiatives with global impact. Prior to joining ITI, Mr. Salaets served on the professional staff of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Government Operations, where he managed oversight investigations and congressional hearings on a wide range of issues, including international aviation security, government procurement policy, and small and disadvantaged business subcontracting.
Mr. Salaets is a member of the U.S. Telecommunications and Electronic and Information Technology Advisory Committee and leads ITI's delegation to the JTC1 Special Working Group on Accessibility. He also serves as Executive Director of the association's Access Star web portal initiative. A native of Santa Ana, California, Mr. Salaets earned a political science degree from Brigham Young University. He and his wife Nancy have four children and live in Germantown, Maryland.
Director of Media Access
Larry Goldberg is the Director of Media Access at WGBH, Boston's public broadcaster. He directs an 80-person department which produces captioning and video description for all media and leads the 13-person research and development department - the WGBH National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM).
Mr. Goldberg is a pioneer and recognized world expert in the technology, policy and business aspects of making media and technology accessible to all. He has traveled to Israel, England, Brazil, Japan and throughout the United States to advise businesses, governments, academics and non-governmental organizations on how to improve their media and telecommunications technologies.
Mr. Goldberg helped develop the recently implemented captioning system for digital television in the U.S. He was awarded a patent for "Rear WindowTM," the first closed captioning system for movie theaters and theme parks, now available throughout the U.S. and Canada. He served on the U.S. Access Board committee which established the Section 508 rules and in July of 2006 was appointed to the new Access Board committee that is rewriting the telecommunications access and Section 508 rules. Among many other advisory boards within industry, consumer organizations and academia, he has served on two Federal Communications Commission committees and is a board member of the Alliance for Public Technology and of Adaptive Environments of Boston.
Mr. Goldberg graduated from the University of Southern California with a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism.
Former Assistant Secretary-General & Former Executive Director
United Nations, UNITAR
Born in Geneva and a Swiss citizen, Marcel A. Boisard completed his university studies in Switzerland, Germany, and the United States. He obtained his PhD from the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, where he was appointed Fellow and lectured on the "Cultural Relations between Countries with Different Socio-Political Systems" and conducted a research and training program funded by the Ford Foundation
Marcel A. Boisard started his international career as a civil servant in the then Directorate for Technical Cooperation of the Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Later, he was recruited by the Government of Burundi as an economic adviser and was appointed Chairman of the African experts. At different times in his career, Marcel A. Boisard was a delegate of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). He has served as a delegate in Algeria, the head of the Delegation in Yemen, Chief of the ICRC delegation in the Arab Republic of Egypt, and he conducted negotiations and special missions to Syria, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. He was bestowed with the "Ordre du Merite" by late President Anwar Sadat.
Marcel A. Boisard jointly established the International Cultural Association "Islam and the West" of which he was Secretary-General for some years. During this period, he published over 30 articles and books dealing with international cross-cultural relations, Arab and Muslim worlds, multilateral negotiations, and inter-governmental organizations
Marcel A. Boisard joined the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) as "Special Fellow" from June 1980 to June 1983. He was then appointed Director of the UNITAR European Office and, from March 1992 to date, the Secretary-General of the United Nations has appointed Marcel A. Boisard as Executive Director of UNITAR. Later in 2001, the Secretary-General appointed Marcel A. Boisard Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations. He relinquished this latter function as of 28 February 2007 and is presently an international consultant.
Director of Research and Co-Executive Director
National Council on Disability (NCD)
Martin Gould is presently serving as the Acting Co-Executive Director and Director of Research and Technology at the National Council on Disability (NCD). He has worked at the NCD for 7.5 years. His most recent policy work at NCD includes: homeland security, educational outcomes, quality of life indicators and performance measurement, and electronic and information technology. He previously served as director of outcomes research for an international non-profit agency.
Martin took his doctorate in education and behavioral sciences research from The Johns Hopkins University.
Founder & President
The Paciello Group
Michael Paciello is Founder and President of The Paciello Group (TPG), a software accessibility consultancy limited liability company. For more than 20 years, Mr. Paciello has served as an international leader, technologist and lecturer in the areas of assistive technology, usability, and accessible interface design.
In 2006, Mike was appointed co-chair to the Federal Access Board Telecommunications and Electronic and Information Technology Advisory Committee (TEITAC).
In 1997, Mr. Paciello received recognition from President William Clinton for his work in the creation of World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI). Mike is author of the first book on web accessibility and usability, "Web Accessibility for People with Disabilities" and is chiefly responsible for founding the International Committee for Accessible Document Design (ICADD) and W3C's Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI).
Mr Nikolaos Floratos is the Business Development Director of the organisation e-ISOTIS (www.e-isotis.org ), initiating and monitoring the international business development of the organisation, the enhancement of its communication strategy, the design and implementation of innovative training practices and the establishment of new approaches in the area of disability. He coordinates the European and International Affairs Policy of the organisation by following up the developments of the European and International Legislation and Regulatory Framework related to disabilities. He also supervises the European projects of the organisation that deal with evaluations and accessibility conformance of ICT products and Services, the advancement of assistive devices and the adaptation of user centered design in the development of ICT products and services. Finally he supervises the eAccessibility team of the organisation.
Burton Blatt Institute (BBI)
Dr. Blanck is University Professor at Syracuse University, which is the highest faculty rank granted to only eight prior individuals in the history of the University. He is chair of the Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) at Syracuse University. Blanck holds appointments at the Syracuse University Colleges of Law, of Human Services and Health Professions, and of Arts and Sciences, School of Education, and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Prior to his appointment at Syracuse, Blanck was Kierscht Professor of Law and director of the Law, Health Policy, and Disability Center at the University of Iowa.
Blanck has written articles and books on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and related laws, received grants to study disability law and policy, represented clients before the U.S. Supreme Court in ADA cases, and testified before Congress. His work has received national and international attention. He is a board member of the National Organization on Disability (N.O.D.), Disability Rights Law Center (DRLC), and Disability Rights Advocates (DRA). He is a trustee of YAI/National Institute for People with Disabilities Network.
Blanck received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Rochester, a Juris Doctorate from Stanford University, where he was president of the Stanford Law Review, and a Ph.D. from Harvard University. Blanck is a former member of the President's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities, and a Senior Fellow of the Annenberg Washington Program, a Fellow at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School, and a Mary Switzer Scholar. Prior to teaching, Blanck practiced law at the Washington D.C. firm Covington & Burling, and served as law clerk to the late Honorable Carl McGowan of the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
Blanck's books in the area include: The Americans with Disabilities Act and the Emerging Workforce (AAMR, 1998); Employment, Disability, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (Northwestern U. Press 2000); and Disability Civil Rights Law and Policy (with Hill, Siegal & Waterstone) (West, 2003, 2005). In addition, Blanck and Robin Malloy are editors of the Cambridge University Press series Disability Law and Policy.
Associate Professor at Sam Nunn School of International Affairs
Georgia Institute of Technology
Peter Brecke is an Associate Professor at the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs of the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech). He got his Ph.D in Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Professor Brecke teaches classes such as Causes of War; Empirical Research Methods; International Institutional Design; and Science & Technology and International Affairs.
Dr. Brecke's research work focuses on society design and the capabilities needed to make that possible. Regarding the Global Initiative for Inclusive ICTs, Dr. Brecke possesses expertise in the design and construction of indices and wishes to work with others to assemble the Digital Inclusion Index. The Sam Nunn School of International Affairs has an abiding interest in ICTs and the well-being of people. In March 2006 the School held a major workshop on ICTs and Reconciliation in societies that have been through civil wars. Professor Brecke co-authored with William J. Long a book, Reconciliation and War, and has written a paper examining the ICTs that have been developed and deployed to contribute to reconciliation processes.
The Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) has a program specializing in Human Factors Engineering, which uses human factors engineering to document mental and physical characteristics, capabilities, and limitations among human users of emerging devices. Device design then can take these factors into account to facilitate the use of these devices. The goal of human factors engineering is to optimize efficiency and safety of new manned systems.
Coordinator & Development Manager of POETA
Organization of American States (OAS)
The Organization of American States (OAS) brings together the nations of the Western Hemisphere to strengthen cooperation on democratic values, defend common interests and debate the major issues facing the region and the world. The OAS is the region's principal multilateral forum for strengthening democracy, promoting human rights, and confronting shared problems such as poverty, terrorism, illegal drugs and corruption.
Rene Leon works for the Trust for the Americas, a not for profit organization affiliated with the OAS. Mr. Leon serves as the Coordinator & Development Manager of POETA (Partnership in Opportunities for Employment in Technology for the Americas), a Microsoft sponsored initiative that provides on-site training and support to persons with disabilities in the use of ICT, thereby enriching lives and democratizing connectivity for marginalized communities in the Americas. POETA is currently running in 12 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. Rene Leon is in charge of managing the initiative in Mexico and Central America, where there are currently 15 POETA centers.
Executive Coordinator, Global Alliance for ICT and Development
The Global Alliance for Information and Communication Technologies and Development (GAID) was launched by Secretary-General Kofi Annan to contribute to transforming the spirit and vision of the WSIS into action and promoting the use of ICTs for the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It does so by providing an inclusive, multi-stakeholder global forum and platform for cross-sectoral policy dialogue, by enabling and catalyzing multi-stakeholder partnerships for action under the GAID umbrella, and by promoting channels for smooth communications and collaboration.
In its programs GAID addresses marginalized groups, including the disabled, as a cross-cutting issue and, through its networks, will continue to develop and pursue advocacy, policy dialogue, capacity-building and other activities in support of these areas of focus and achievement of these goals. Please see http://www.un-gaid.org for more information.
Mr. Sarbuland Khan is the Executive Coordinator of GAID. Mr. Khan directed the preparation of the Ministerial meeting of the ECOSOC on ICT for development and has been responsible for its follow up and the establishment of the UN ICT Task Force. Mr. Khan has authored a number of publications and articles in economics and ICT for Development for books, journals, and magazines.
Steven M. Rothstein
Perkins School for the Blind
Mr. Rothstein is the ninth head of Perkins School for the Blind, the first school for the blind in the United States. Perkins, founded in 1829, is currently providing service to 87,000 children and adults in over 60 countries around the world. (www.perkins.org) Mr. Rothstein has the advantage of a broad experience in human services, government and non-profit programs. He was a co-founder of Citizens Energy Corporation, a non-profit organization that provided tens of millions of dollars in energy and medical benefits to low-income citizens nationally and internationally. At Perkins he is also deeply involved in a variety of organizations that serve individuals who are blind and deaf in the United States and internationally.
Mr. Rothstein graduated from Williams College and has an MBA from Northeastern University. Furthermore, he was Assistant Commissioner of the State of Massachusetts' Department of Mental Retardation. In addition, he has served on the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Board of Education and a variety of local and regional community, non-profit and education organizations. Mr. Rothstein's commitment to serving Perkins' mission at home and abroad is enriched by his understanding of the interlocking roles of private organizations, government agencies and charitable organizations.
Accessibility/Section 508 Consultant
Project Performance Corporation
Tamas Babinszki was born and raised in Hungary. Being blind himself, he has realized the difficulties which people with disabilities face in society early on in his life. Since his teenage years, he has been an active disability rights advocate. His goal is to contribute to a society where information, technology and opportunities are equally available to all people.
Mr. Babinszki worked in Hungary with a nation wide network of universities to make education accessible to people with disabilities. He has mainly worked to enforce the equal opportunity law. He has contributed to establishing computer education to people with disabilities as well as providing accessible educational materials in higher education. In 2001 Mr. Babinszki started working in the United States to provide accessible and Section 508 compliant solutions to corporations and government agencies. He has also done consulting work for the Overbrook School for the Blind to assess the situation of higher education for people with disabilities in China, where he helped several universities to include blind students into their student body.
Today Mr. Babinszki works at the United States Patent and Trademark Office as the technical lead of the Section 508 team, which has earned the reputation of one of the most effective Section 508 programs. He has trained over a thousand developers to create Section 508 products and implement related policies. Mr. Babinszki also provides assistance to other government agencies in providing Section 508 compliant solutions.
Ted Henter co-founded Henter-Joyce in1987, motivated by the desire to develop JAWS, Job Access with Speech, to provide access to computers for blind or visually impaired people. By the late 90's it was the most widely-used screen reader in the world, and today it is being used in 18 different languages. Ted always tried to recruit blind people to fill jobs, thus 40% of the 75 employees were blind or visually impaired.
Henter-Joyce merged with two other assistive technology companies in 2000, to form Freedom Scientific. The new company offers a broad line of products and services for people with disabilities. Their goal is to expand computer and opportunity access on an even wider scale. Ted serves on the Board of Directors and remains involved in an advisory role. He also serves on the Board of Directors at The Lighthouse of Pinellas and assists two Panamanian charities and their blind students.
Henter Math was founded in 2002 in order to make mathematics accessible to people who are pencil-impaired, i.e. can't operate a pencil effectively. This includes people who are blind, motor-impaired, or learning disabled.
Senior Accessibility Specialist
Technical and Information Services Access Board
Mr. Creagan is the Senior Accessibility Specialist with the U.S. Access Board. He serves as the Designated Federal Official for the Telecommunications and Electronic and Information Technology Advisory Committee (TEITAC). He was formerly the Director of Consumer Training for ITTATC, and before that he was the Director of Public Policy for Hearing Loss Association of America (formerly SHHH). Mr. Creagan is a nationally recognized expert on accessible electronic and information technology and telecommunications.
He has spoken and written extensively on disability rights, digital wireless telephones, Internet relay services, and IVR systems. Mr. Creagan has testified before state legislatures and multiple federal agencies on the importance of assistive technology to people with disabilities. Mr. Creagan received his J.D. from the Catholic University of America, and his undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame
Accessibility Program Manager
Yahoo! is one of the leading content providers on the Internet. In his current position Victor Tsaran oversees companywide accessibility activities (coding practices, policies and guidelines, training and raising awareness). Prior to this job, Victor worked as Accessibility Programmer at BART Group, McLean, Virginia on various consulting contracts ranging from Section 508 testing for federal agencies (USPTO, VA, EOP etc) to adapting proprietary software for businesses (AOL, T-mobile, Freedom Scientific etc).
Between 2000 and 2002, after having received Bachelors degree in computer science from Temple University, Philadelphia, Victor traveled extensively in South East Asia teaching computers to the visually impaired users of different ages in countries, such as Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam and Cambodia. This work was carried out for ON-NET, Overbrook Nippon Network on Educational Technology. Victor also taught courses on assistive technology in Eastern Europe and the Middle East.
Since 1998 Victor serves as a web master for ICEVI (International Council for Education of Visually Impaired). In 1996 Victor co-established one of the first computer centers for visually impaired in Ukraine. In addition to his job responsibilities, Victor has great passion for music and participates in various open source projects.
European Disability Forum
Yannis Vardakastanis is the current President of the European Disability Forum (EDF) and of the National Confederation of Disabled People in Greece (N.C.D.P.). He has played a leading role in the foundation and establishment both of the European Disability Forum and of the National Confederation of Disabled People in Greece. He is a member of the Board of European Blind Union (EBU) and of the Management Committee of the European Social Platform. He studied Political Sciences at the University of California in Berkley. He has extensive experience in the field of disability, and he has participated in and has chaired many different Commissions and Committees in several National, European, and International disability NGOs.
Yannis Vardakastanis has been heavily involved in advocacy work in human rights campaigns and in capacity building projects at national, European, and international level. Yannis Vardakastanis has led the EDF's participation and involvement during the negotiations at the AdHoc Committee of the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Deputy Head of Unit
Unit for Integration of Persons with Disabilities
Directorate General for Employment Social Affairs, and Equal Opportunities
Inmaculada Placencia is Deputy Head of Unit, is deputy Head of Unit for Integration of people with disabilities within the Directorate General for Employment social affairs and equal opportunities. The unit is in charge of the coordination of the European policies for people with disabilities. She is graduated in Physics and Computer Science. Since 1991 she joined the European Commission and worked in several research programmes addressing accessibility and applications for older people and people with disabilities. The focus of the recent work in the "e-Inclusion" of the Directorate General Information Society and Media European Commission addressed policy related activities in the area of eAccessibility and eInclusion in particular work related to Design for All and Assistive technologies and other European and international activities related to accessibility.