International Advisory Board to Provide Input for Global Disability Rights Library Project

June 3, 2010

International Advisory Board to Provide Input for Global Disability Rights Library Project

A newly-formed International Advisory Board (IAB) with 10 members and an additional nine ex-officio members will advise the Global Disability Rights Library project.  Advisors in the IAB will advise GDRL staff in what type of information is important to include in the electronic disability rights library.  The IAB also will assist in identifying partners around the world who can help gather content for the library, deploy the library in developing countries, and implement other related activities.  

Candidates share a commitment to information dissemination among disabled people’s organizations in developing countries.  Advisors reflect wide diversity in background, professional knowledge and expertise, and lived experience with disability and poverty.  IAB members come from both developed and developing countries.  These particularly include countries in Africa, Latin America, and Asia. 

Ex-officio members were selected from among members of the USICD Board of Directors and the faculty of the University of Iowa.  The chair of the IAB will be selected from among the members of the IAB; ex-officio members may not serve as chair.  Altogether, the advisors come from 12 countries: Argentina, Brazil, Guatemala, India, Ireland, Japan, Kenya, Pakistan, Peru, South Africa, Uganda, and the United States.  Most voting members grew up in a developing country and most of the advisors are people with disabilities.

The IAB members include:

  • Rosangela Berman-Bieler, Inter-American Institute on Disability and Development
  • Kudakwashe Dube, Secretariat of the African Decade on Persons with disabilities
  • Fredrick Ouko Alucheli, Action Network for the Disabled (ANDY)
  • Javier Diez Canseco, Society and Disability (SODIS); former congressman in Peru
  • Ambrose Murangira, Uganda National Association of the Deaf
  • Gerard Quinn, National University of Ireland (NUI)
  • Shoji Nakanishi, Disabled Peoples International—Asia Pacific
  • Silvia Judith Quan-Chan, Disability Rights Defense Unit at the Guatemalan Human Rights Procurator's Office
  • Bhargavi Davar, Bapu Trust
  • Mrs. Ghazala Hameed, The Pakistan Society for the Rehabilitation of the Disabled

The IAB ex-officio members include:

  • Robert Bacon, University of Iowa
  • David Baquis, Access Board’s Office of Technical and Information Services
  • Marca Bristo, Access Living of Metropolitan Chicago
  • Marcella David, University of Iowa
  • Lex Frieden, Texas Institute for Rehabilitation and Research
  • Barbara Leroy, Developmental Disabilities Institute at Wayne State University in Detroit
  • Maria Veronica Reina, Global Partnership on Disability and Development
  • Diana Samarasan, Disability Rights Fund
  • Glen White, Research and Training Center on Independent Living at the University of Kansas

To learn more about the IAB members and ex-officio members, read their biographies here

The United States International Council on Disabilities (USICD) and the University of Iowa’s WiderNet Project launched the GDRL project earlier this year.  The project will eventually bring a wealth of electronic library materials on disability rights to disabled people’s organizations (DPOs), individual advocates, and service providers in developing countries.  The initiative will particularly target organizations that do not have Internet access. Resources will cover topics such as independent living, advocacy, education, transportation, public policy, employment, vocational rehabilitation, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and other topics. 

The library will typically be stored either in a stand-alone, 2 terabyte USB drive or in a server.  The drive or server would be installed within existing local area (LAN) or wide area (WAN) networks so that users may share the library directly from the storage device without needing Internet access.  The information in the library would be easily searchable, using an interface similar to popular search engines and also via portals that organize selected materials by dozens of thematic topics.  People around the world who have web access will be able to use the Global Disability Rights Library via the web.  The first few electronic libraries will be disseminated about a year from now to DPOs, policymakers, individual advocates, and others.  The library will be designed to be accessible to users with disabilities.

For the first announcement about the launch of the GDRL project, consult the USICD website at  For more information about the project, or to suggest electronic materials for the library, please contact USICD’s Andrea Shettle, Program Manager, at or the University of Iowa WiderNet’s Cliff Missen, Project Director, at