Martina Fuga — Communications Advisor (Italy)
Writer, art consultant, advocate. She is delegate for communication for CoorDown. She collaborates with CoorDown for media campaign since 2013 and she coordinated the World Down Syndrome Day campaigns of the last 6 years. In 2014 she published the book Lo zaino di Emma (Emma’s Backpack) by Mondadori and in 2019 the book Giù per la salita by Erickson. Martina was one of the speakers at the World Down Syndrome Day Conference on 2015 and 2016 at United Nations Headquarters, New York, USA. She gave a talk entitled “Embracing Diversity” at TEDx in Pescara in 2019.
Candace Cable (United States)
Paralympian who competed nine times at Winter and Summer Paralympics, winning 12 medals in three sports. She has been inducted into the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame. She also competed as a wheelchair racer in 84 marathons, including six Boston marathons. She is a writer & speaker who develops Understanding Disability education curriculum and advocates globally for human rights & opportunities for all people.
Flavia Cintra (Brazil)
Reporter at TV Globo, Brazil’s largest broadcast channel. Cintra worked as a consultant for the soap opera “Live Life,” in 2009/2010, that told the story of a model who becomes quadriplegic. Cintra was vice-president of the Paradigm Institute, which was created to promote inclusion through education, and value diversity.
Katie Ellis (Australia)
Associate Professor in Internet Studies and Director of the Centre for Culture and Technology at Curtin University (Australia). Six years after acquiring disability her skeptical interest in social constructions of disability was confirmed as a very real issue when she discovered the disability studies books on the top shelf at the library. She has worked with people with disabilities in government, academia and the community. She has authored and edited 15 books and numerous articles on disability and mass media, including two award-winning papers on digital access and social inclusion.
Anita Ghai (India)
Professor at the School of Human Studies, Ambedkar University, Delhi, with an interest in the intersection of disability, psychology and gender. Ghai has researched issues of care for disabled women and providers of care. Author of Disability in South Asia: Knowledge and Experience (Sage 2018), Rethinking disability in India (Routledge, New Delhi (2015), and (Dis)Embodied Form: Issues of Disabled Women (2003). A polio survivor, Ghai is also a renowned advocate and campaigner for disabled women’s rights in India.
Veronica Carolina Gonzalez (Argentina)
Journalist. She has a column on disabilities at TV Channel Visión 7, in Argentina. Press Representative of REDI (Network for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities).
Karen Jeynes (South Africa)
Writer for stage and screen, most recently as the writer, co-director and creative producer of the drama series Recipes for Love and Murder from Both Worlds Pictures. Other productions she has developed and overseen with creative partner Thierry Cassuto at Both Worlds are Point of Order, Comedy Central News, and Parlement Parlement, and the documentary Africa and I, as well as working as the head writer for ZANews: Puppet Nation. She is also in demand as a script consultant, editor and advisor for TV, film and theatre work, working with local and international production companies and broadcasters, as well as individual writers. She is currently busy with her Ph.D. on autistic representation on South African television through the University of Pretoria and lobbying for South Africa’s entertainment media industry to reimagine the way it views disability representation on and behind the screen.
Raúl Krauthausen (Germany)
An inclusion activist, social entrepreneur, and founder of the social justice organization Sozialhelden. Sozialhelden aims to make the world more accessible for disabled people. In 2010, it launched WheelMap.org, a crowd-sourced accessibility app for wheelchair users internationally. Sozialhelden also tries to educate journalists and writers through its Leidmedien.de project, an online platform about accurate portrayal of people with disabilities. Since 2015, he has moderated “KRAUTHAUSEN – face to face,” his own talk show on the topics of culture and inclusion on Sport1. The Federal Republic of Germany awarded Krauthausen the Order of Merit in 2013. He published his autobiography I didn’t want to be a roofer anyway – Life from a wheelchair perspective in 2014.
Jackline Lidubwi (Kenya)
Disability media activist, media trainer, and journalist who leads the Inclusive Media Project across Sub-Saharan Africa at Internews. In 2021, she created a guide for African journalists about reporting on disability, Disability Reporting in the Media (available in both English and French). She has more than 20 years of progressive experience in disability reporting in the media. Prior to joining Internews, she worked as a Head of Television at Y254 television, and a senior television producer at the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation in Kenya, where she advocated for the rights of people with disabilities by designing and implementing the first-ever disability program, “Abled Differently.” She has research interests in disability, media training, and feminism. She was an ADA International Fellow at the University of Massachusetts Boston School for Global Inclusion and Social Development in 2017 and a Global Change Leader at Coady International Institute in Canada. She holds an MA in Communication Studies from the University of Nairobi, a BA in Communication Studies from St Paul’s University, and a Diploma in Mass Communication from the Kenya Institute of Mass Communication. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Mass Communication at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in Kenya.
Josh Loebner (United States)
Global Head of Inclusive Design at Wunderman Thompson. A blind disability advocate, Loebner is the author of the Advertising & Disability blog, where he brings conviction, visibility and voice to a rarely discussed topic. He has 20+ years’ experience as an advertising professional and has a Ph.D. from Clemson University in Rhetorics, Communication and Information Design. Loebner collaborates on global projects with Airbnb, state-level efforts with Explore Georgia, and regional and community-based DMO initiatives across the country. He serves on boards including the Adweek DEI Council, American Advertising Federation Mosaic Council, TravelAbility and Dollywood’s disability advisory panel. He lectures at the University of Tennessee and mentors disabled students.
Izabel Maior (Brazil)
Professor of Medicine at UFRJ, was the first person with disability to lead the National Secretariat for the Promotion of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Brazil, and has been a leader for more than 30 years in the Disability Movement. She received an award for her “contribution to the development of a more inclusive continent” in 2010, from the Organization of American States (OAS). She launched a book and documentary about the History of the Political Movement of Persons with Disabilities in Brazil, in partnership with the Organization of Ibero-American States (OEI). She was actively involved in the process to create the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at the UN and numerous other legislation in Brazil.
Olusola John Ogundola (Nigeria)
Executive Director of Project Restoration International Initiative (PRIINT), a disability rights organization he founded in 2009 to advocate for the protection of the interests of people with disabilities. He runs a Center for Disability and Media Training and Research in Ibadan, Nigeria. He received his bachelor’s degree in Library and Information Studies (BLIS) from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria and then a master’s degree in media studies from Syracuse University, USA. He is an Alumnus of the International Fellowship Program (IFP) of the Ford Foundation. In February 2016, with collaboration from the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Oyo State Council, he trained about 150 journalists on “Guidelines for Reporting Disability in the News Media in Nigeria.” He is a recipient of the PeaceCon 2018 Scholarship of the Alliance for Peacebuilding, Washington DC, following his work in peacebuilding initiated to tackle group-based conflict among people with disabilities in Nigeria. Ogundola is currently a Ph.D. student in the Interdisciplinary and Inclusive Education (IIE) program at Rowan University in New Jersey, USA. His research interests center on media & diversity issues and intergroup communication perspectives in promoting inclusive education.
Lara Pozzobon da Costa (Brazil)
Cinema, theater, and film festival producer, and Ph.D. in Comparative Literature, Lara Pozzobon da Costa is Brazil’s International Disability Film Festival founder and curator, having run the festival since its first edition until 2017. She pioneered audio description in Brazil by introducing it in Brazilian movie theaters in 2003 and continues to advocate for accessibility in movies and theater. In 2016, she debuted the play, “Brain Pit Stop,” with a guest actor with cerebral palsy. In 2017, she was elected president of the newly created Brazilian Association of Audio Description.
Jeff Preston (Canada)
Assistant professor of Disability Studies at King’s University College at Western University (Canada), where he teaches classes on disability, popular culture and policy. A long-time advocate and public speaker, Preston’s work focuses on the intersection of disability, subjectivity, biopower and culture. His first book, The Fantasy of Disability, was published in 2016 by Routledge.
Milica Mima Ruzicic-Novkovic (Serbia)
Coordinator of the Programme for Equality of Persons with Disabilities in Public Speech; President and PR manager of the Centre Living Upright. Member of CIL Serbia, she has been its representative in the Board of European Network on Independent Living and also acts as a disability peer counsellor. M.A. thesis was published with the title Portraying Disabled People in Media Discourse. She is now in the Ph.D. program in gender studies at the University of Novi Sad. She published a glossary of disability and several papers in the area of equality of persons with disabilities in public speech.
Ana Clara Schneider (Brazil)
Founder of Sondery Acessibilidade Criativa, the first consumer-focused creative accessibility consultancy in the Brazilian market. She actively participates in collectives, projects and initiatives related to accessibility and inclusion. In addition to being a consultant, she is an activist for the rights of people with disabilities. She is a graduate in Social Communication from ESPM- São Paulo and did post-graduate work in Assistive Technology at CIEPH in Brazil. She has a specialization in Innovation and Strategy from the Professional Development Program at Harvard University and in Entrepreneurship in Action from Insper in Brazil. She has worked in the communication and accessibility areas for more than a decade.
Marissa Slaughter (United States)
Blind disability advocate and PR/marketing professional. She has worked for the American Printing House for the Blind as a grant writer and was in charge of the company’s social media presence. In addition, she worked on the successful crowdfunding campaign for a documentary, which tells the story of the Invalid Corps, a group of disabled soldiers in the U.S. Civil War. Slaughter is passionate about illuminating the stories of people with disabilities in history. She believes that social media and the digital world are powerful tools for advocacy and inclusion.
Monica Vasconcelos (Brazil/UK)
Part of the team of BBC News Brazil, for radio and internet, since 1993 she specialized in covering issues related to culture and the arts. Also a composer and singer, Vasconcelos produced the series “A Century of Jazz”, in which she interviewed great names such as Wynton Marsalis, Chic Corea and George Russell. In 2014, she won the international prize at New York Festivals, for the world’s best radio programs, with her documentary ” The Secret History of Bossa Nova”, about the political background of the Brazilian rhythm, broadcast by BBC Radio 4.
Laura Panetta, Youth adviser (Australia)
She is an advocate for disability inclusion in her home community and globally, having presented about disability inclusion to the United Nations when she was 7. She wants people’s attitudes towards disability to get better so her younger brother Julius, who has Down syndrome, will have equal opportunities to her. She co-founded Sa4i – Student Alliance for Inclusion, which asks schools to be welcoming and inclusive of every student. Her website is Laura 4 Inclusion.