RI works in collaboration on all of its projects striving to combine international expertise, best practices and lessons learned with local knowledge and experience.
Susan Parker has more than 30 years of executive experience in the field of worldwide disabilities. The former Secretary-General of RI (1993-1998), Parker’s experiences as a New England ski racer and instructor pointed her toward a career in disability advocacy. Parker has served as the Disability Commissioner of the U.S. Social Security Administration, opening up disability benefits to 465,000 U.S. children. From 2002-2011, she joined in the U.S. Department of Labor as the Disability Policy Director and helped create the national Disability Unemployment Statistic. Prior to the federal level, Parker held top leadership posts in two state governments: the State of Maine, Commissioner, Department of Mental Health & Mental Retardation; and the State of New Hampshire, Executive Director of the Developmental Disabilities Council. From 1998 to 2001, Parker was the Senior Policy Officer, Disability at the International Labour Organization in Geneva. She holds the Master of Social Work and Master of Social Planning degrees from Boston College School of Social Work and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Hashem Taqi is the General Manager of the Kuwait Society for the Handicapped and the first Kuwaiti to assume a key post in RI Global. Taqi, who has been working for the Kuwait Society for the Handicapped for nearly 35 years, previously served as RI Global’s Middle East Chair. Established in 1971, the Kuwait Society for the Handicapped offers various free services, such as medical care, rehabilitation and education to persons with disabilities. The Society started with the caring for 30 children with disabilities, and now it owns a modern purposed designed centre for 250 multiply disabled children, as well as day care centers in Hawally, Jahra and Ahmadi.
In 2015 the 23rd World Congress elected Ye-Ja Lee as the vice president of Rehabilitation International’s Asia-Pacific division. She is currently serving during the third part of the Asian and Pacific Decade for Persons with Disabilities, 2013-2022. For her entire career, Lee has worked for the right of women and people with disabilities in both the public and private sectors. She has been a member of Seoul Metropolitan Council, as well as several government committees, helping to oversee policies. Lee has also worked with the World Council of Churches on operating international disability programs. She currently affiliated with the Korean Society for Rehabilitation of Persons with Disabilities (KSRPD).
Joseph Kwan is an Architect and Consultant in Universal Accessibility who received his architectural training in Australia, and later in Environmental Psychology from the United Kingdom. He is awarded the degree of Doctor of the University by the Queensland University of Technology Council in 2020. He has more than 40 years of experience in international architectural practice having worked in Australia, United Kingdom, France and now over 30 years in Hong Kong. Joseph has been the Director of a Hong Kong NGO for 18 years that focused on making Hong Kong more accessible for the elderly and people with disabilities, to the built environment and public transportation. He is the Founding Director of UDA Consultants Ltd. (Universal Design and Accessibility Consultants) in Hong Kong since 2005. Joseph was a Consultant to the UN-ESCAP, on the preparation of a Technical Guideline on the “Promotion of Non-Handicapping Environments for Disabled and Elderly Persons in the Asia – Pacific Region”, and also a Resource Person for the UN-ESCAP on “The Regional Training of Trainers Course on the Promotion of Non-Handicapping Environments for People with Disabilities”. He is their current Expert/Consultant on the promotion of Barrier-Free Tourism in Asia and the Pacific. He was a Consultant to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) on the preparation of a Technical Guideline on “Universal Access to ADB Transport Projects”, in addition to advising on accessibility to the proposed MRT Systems in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Joseph was a Member of the ISO (International Standards Organization) Working Group on the drafting of the Standard entitled: “Accessibility and Usability of the Built Environment” 2011, and is currently serving in the Working Group on the Review of this Standard. He is a Member of the Hong Kong Government Rehabilitation Advisory Committee (RAC), a Member of the Working Group on Hong Kong Rehabilitation Programme Plan (RPP) 2020-30 Review, a Convenor of the RPP Task Force on Accessibility and the Chairman of RAC Sub-committee on Access. Since 1987, Joseph Kwan has prepared over 300 Personal Injury legal reports, for people who sustained personal injuries, for the Legal Aid Department, private Solicitors and Lawyers in Hong Kong, the United Kingdom and Canada. He has extensive lecture experiences in the field of access and universal design at the local, regional and international level having lectured in 33 countries.
Mathieu Simard has been working in the physical rehabilitation area for the past 19 years and has been involved in a large number of international health projects since 2000. This mixed background has led to a number of different positions to strengthen disability inclusion in high and low-income settings alike. These range from clinical service provision to providing teachings and trainings in various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and universities in Canada and abroad. In addition to serving as Deputy-Vice President North-America and Vice-Chair on the International Commission on Accessibility and Technology, Simard chairs RI Rehabilitation International’s Task Force on Disability, Armed Conflict, and Natural Disasters. He is currently pursuing a PhD candidate in Rehabilitation Sciences at McGill University.
I have worked and been a leader and Director in different companies in the Welfare Sector for more than 35 years, both in Norway and in the Nordic countries. I am educated and have a Master degree from Copenhagen Business School. I also have a degree in psychology from the University in Oslo, Norway.
For the moment I am a Freelancer as Specialist consultant in the field of welfare, working as a manager for international projects and as a Board member in different institutions. These institutions work for and with persons with a disability.
During my period as a Chair of Education Commission some of the following topics has been on the agenda:
- Responsible for a Side event during COSP – 2018 with the theme “Inclusive education for people with a disability – From special schools to inclusive education”
- Presentation about inclusive education on II Congress on Mental Health in Moscow in 2018
- Responsible for a parallel event at the 62 nd Session of Commission on the Status of Women in New York in 2018. The theme was “Rural girls with disability – their access to education.
- Presentation about Inclusive Education on a Regional Conference in Africa in 2017
- Responsible for a side event during COSP 2019 meeting in New York. The topic for the side event was “Technology as a tool for inclusive education – Digital empowerment through inclusive education”
- Producing the paper: “Challenges to achieving equality between disabled persons and persons without a disability” 2019
Prof. Asha Hans is Executive Vice President of SMRC an OPD in India and Associate member RI. Academic Council Member Indian Association of Women’s Studies. Former Prof of Political Science and Founder Director School of Women’s Studies Utkal University. Member Board Women’s, Peace Humanitarian Fund, Editorial Board Member Journal of Peace Education and member Editorial Board Member Bloomsbury . Academic Publishers book series on Peace & Human Rights Education. Vice President Red Cross (Odisha) Founder Women with Disabilities India Network. An academic activist, she promotes girl child with disability education, security of girls in the education sector of climate change and school drop-out. The forthcoming book is disability inclusive climate change.
Professor Yueqin Huang has worked as the chair of Commission of Health and Function of Rehabilitation International since 2016 and committed herself mental health promotion and study on mental rehabilitation. She is psychiatric epidemiologist and director of the Division of Social Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine in Institute of Mental Health/Sixth Hospital of Peking University for teaching and research. Her concurrent posts include vice-president of China Disabled Persons’ Federation, and president of Society of Crisis Intervention of Chinese Association of Mental Health. She is principal investigator of a series of research projects and international collaborations including World Mental Health Survey and 10/66 Dementia Study. She have published 357 academic article in many journals and is editor-in-Chief of eight books.
Hiroshi Kawamura is a long-term board member of the DAISY Consortium, a global partnership of organizations committed to creating the best methods of publishing for people who are blind or print disabled. He has also served DAISY in several other positions, including as an ambassador for DAISY in the Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction (DiDRR) sector. Kawamura helped coordinate the Global Forum on Disability in the Information Society in Geneva and in Tunis, which has been followed by international conferences on DiDRR and on-site collaborative research. Under Kawamura, the forum focused on empowering all community residents by providing accessible and easy to understand in in order too inform scientific knowledge on DiDRR in DAISY multimedia format. Kawamura arranged the Asia-Pacific Meeting on DiDRR in Sendai, Japan in April 2014 in collaboration with UN ESCAP, Nippon Foundation and Rehabilitation International. He has worked as a professional librarian at the University of Tokyo Library since 1970.
I’ve always wanted to work for a greater good. At my current position as the director of Supporting Foundation of children and youth with disabilities I have had the opportunity to promote equal rights, inclusion and diversity in both working life and education. My expertise lies within the fields of employment, education and rehabilitation policies and services. I’ve worked in national and international expert groups implementing projects, research and training. Currently I am the president of RI Finland and the chair of Policies and Services commission of RI Global.
I have a master’s degree in sociology, and I’ve published several articles on the employment of young people with disabilities.
After having studied law at the universities of Bonn (Germany), Lausanne and Geneva (Switzerland) Dr. Gregor Kemper wrote his doctoral thesis in Public International Law. He accepted various legal assignments in post conflict countries followed by practising as a lawyer in Germany. Since 2002 Dr. Gregor Kemper held several managerial positions in the area of global mobility before being seconded by the German Government to the European Union’s External Action Service for state capacity building related projects.
In 2011 Dr. Gregor Kemper joined the DGUV as Head of International Relations. He chairs several international commissions and serves as Secretary of the ISSA Technical Commission on Insurance against Employment Accidents and Occupational Diseases. Dr. Kemper is President of the International Association of Industrial Accident Boards and Commissions (IAIABC) and Member io the Executive Committee of Rehabilitation International (RI).
Khaled El Mohtar is a founding member and chair of the Rehabilitation International — Middle East/North Africa (MENA) Region organization. Under this office, he has organized and co-organized many conferences, seminars and workshops in the fields of disability, rehabilitation and development throughout the Middle East. El Mohtar started his career as teacher of Mathematics. In 1980 he founded and served as Chairman of the National Rehabilitation and Development Center, which works in the treatment, rehabilitation and inclusion of disabled persons in Lebanon, mainly children with special needs — a position he held until 2016. Before joining the Executive Committee, El Mohtar served on the board as the Rehabilitation International Deputy Vice President for the Middle East/North Africa Region from 2000 to 2013.
Dr. jur. Friedrich Mehrhoff acted as director of strategic rehabilitation issues in the German Federation of Insurers against Work Accidents (DGUV) in Berlin (Germany) until October 2018 (retirement). Many stakeholders still ask for his recommendations nationally and internationally in strategies how to increase the employment rate of persons with disabilities and to retain their employability. He chaired the group who prepared the ISSA-Guidelines (Geneva) on return to work and he acted as father of the Disability Management in Germany and promotes this program as an economic and social investment worldwide. He is member of the Executive Board of Rehabilitation International (RI) and chairs the Commission on Work and Employment in this World Organization (New York). He is looking for strategic partners worldwide to find efficient strategies for an inclusive labour market. Recently (10/2019) he finished a study on behalf of the German Labour Ministry for identifying good examples of barrier-free private enterprises all over the world.
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