Former WEI Board Members

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Carrie Griffin Basas

Carrie Griffin Basas portrait

Carrie Griffin Basas was the Vice President of Women Enabled International through 2015. She is an accomplished law professor. She has taught at the University of North Carolina School of Law, Penn State University, Case Western Reserve University, the University of Tulsa College of Law, and Saint Joseph's College of Maine. Her research, teaching, and advocacy focus on disability rights law, criminal law, employment discrimination law, labor law, and professional responsibility. She is interested in the advancement of people with disabilities in the workplace, the role of disability in the courts, and the intersection of disability and health equity issues. She conducted the first qualitative empirical study of the work experiences of women attorneys with disabilities and is currently working on several empirical projects related to health stigma in criminal sentencing and disability diversity issues in unions. Professor Basas is a graduate of Swarthmore and Harvard Law School.

Maria Veronica Reina

photo of Maria Veronica Reina

Maria Veronica Reina is the Executive Director of the Global Partnership on Disability and Development (GPDD) at the World Bank. Before joining the GPDD, she served as the Director of International Programs at the Burton Blatt Institute. She was the President of the Center for International Rehabilitation (CIR). In this capacity, she oversaw the CIR's programs including Research, E-Learning and the International Disability Rights Monitor Project, a landmark international initiative that documents and assesses the situation of people with disabilities worldwide. She is an educational psychologist, a specialist in learning disabilities, and a renowned international disability rights advocate. Her advocacy work has focused on raising awareness and involvement of the international community on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Ms. Reina has organized Inter-American campaigns on the Convention aimed at the media, governments and other non-governmental organizations. In addition, she has chaired international disability rights meetings and conferences, moderated the International Disability Caucus communications during the negotiations of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and managed the Spanish translation and distribution of Disability Convention documents throughout Latin America. Other organizations with which Ms. Reina has worked include the Inter-American Institute on Disability, the Institute for International Disability Advocacy, the Institute for International Cooperation and Development, and University Institute "San Martin", where she was an adjunct professor. A graduate of the Catholic University of Santa Fe in Argentina, Ms. Reina received a specialization in Special Education for School Integration and a Master's degree in Open and Distance Learning and Teaching, at Uned University. Ms. Reina currently resides and works in Argentina.

Myra Kovary

Myra Kovary in front of the United nations in New York After Her Presentation at the Conference of States Parties on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on September 14, 2012

Myra Kovary is a long-time human rights activist committed to advocating for liberty and justice for all. She currently serves as the Moderator of the listserv for the International Network of Women With Disabilities. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Finger Lakes Independence Center in Ithaca, NY and of the Ithaca Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Task Force. As an international disability rights activist, a UN Representative of MindFreedom International, and as a user and survivor of psychiatry, she participated in the negotiations of the text of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and she continues to work to promote and protect the human rights of all persons with all disabilities wherever possible and has made numerous presentations at the United Nations. She also holds a Master's Degree in Landscape Architecture from Cornell University with a particular interest in promoting universal design concepts that will enable all persons with all disabilities to have access to the outdoors while providing safety and security for all, whether they are inside institutions or not. She is a world-renowned classical harpist and has performed for His Holiness the Dalai Lama as well as for the celebration for the Entry Into Force of the new UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, held in the General Assembly Hall at UN Headquarters in New York City in May 2008. She holds a black belt in Tae Kwon Do.

Carolyn Frohmader

photo of Carolyn Frohmader at her desk

Carolyn Frohmader is the Executive Director of Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA) and has held this position for more than fifteen years, working at national and international levels to promote and protect the human rights of women and girls with disabilities. Under Carolyn's leadership, WWDA has received a number of prestigious awards for its ground-breaking work including the National Human Rights Award and a number of national and state violence prevention awards.

Carolyn also has an extensive background in women's health, health policy, and community development. She has a Masters Degree from Flinders University where she won the inaugural Michael Crotty Award for an outstanding contribution in Primary Health Care. In 2001, Carolyn received the ACT Woman of the Year Award in recognition of her contribution to the promotion of women's rights in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). In 2009, in recognition of her human rights work, she was inducted into the Tasmanian Women's Honour Roll, joining her late mother Wendy, who was posthumously inducted into the Roll in 2008 for services to education. In late 2009, Carolyn was also selected as a Tasmanian finalist for the Australian of the Year Awards (Tasmania).


Andrea Parra, former Vice President

Andrea Parra portrait

Andrea Parra, of Bogotá, Colombia, is the Director of Global Programs for CREA. Previously, for academic year 2016 to 2017 she worked as a Practitioner In Residence at the Immigrant Justice Clinic in American University, Washington College of Law.  She was the Director of the Action Program for Equality and Social Inclusion (PAIIS), a human rights law clinic at the Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia, which focuses on the advancement of the rights of people discriminated against on the basis of disability, gender or sexuality. She holds a law degree from the Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá and an LLM in American Law from Boston University. She is a member of the New York Bar and licensed to practice in Colombia.

Andrea worked as a senior attorney at the international non-profit organization Women's Link Worldwide for five years, where she directed the Gender Justice Observatory and worked on projects related to the rights of migrant women and the implementation of international human rights standards.  Andrea also worked as a researcher at the Center for Socio-juridical Studies  (CIJUS) of the Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá in projects such as "Congress Watch," "Sex Crimes in Bogotá" and "Human Rights Discourses of the Armed Actors". While in Boston she volunteered at the Domestic Violence Advocacy Project of Northeastern University and Boston Medical Center, where she provided advocacy and support to women arriving at the Emergency room as a result of a domestic violence incident.

Between 2001 and 2006 she worked as a staff attorney and supervisor of the domestic violence unit at the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, in Seattle, Washington, where she provided representation and advocacy to immigrants with disabilities, survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking and other violent crimes. She conducted numerous trainings and spoke at local, regional and national conferences on immigrant rights and the rights of immigrant survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. In Seattle she also sat on the Washington Protection and Advocacy System's Mental Health Advisory Council and was a member of the Seattle Colombia Committee. She is a founding member of the Colombian non-profit organization Sinergias - Alianzas Estratégicas para la Salud y el Desarrollo Social, which focuses on issues related to public health and human rights. She is a member of the Board of Directors of Colombia Diversa, a leading LGBT rights organization in the country.

She worked as a translator for the Global Alliance Against Trafficking in Women and for Training for Change. Andrea translated the book by professors Rebecca Cook and Simone Cusack, Gender Stereotyping: Transnational Legal Perspectives and has translated documents related to social justice for the UN and grassroots organizations in Colombia.

Andrea is a training associate with the organization Training for Change, and has been an experiential trainer for over four years. Andrea has conducted trainings in the U.S., Spain, Mexico, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Guatemala, Peru, Argentina, Morocco, Switzerland, Turkey and various cities in Colombia.


Jagoda Risteska, Board Member

Photo of Jagoda Risteska

Jagoda Risteska is Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Mobility Challenge, an Organization which works for empowering women with disabilities in R. Macedonia. Ms. Risteska earned a Bachelor's Degree in Management from the University Sts. Cyril and Methodius in Skopje.  She has first-hand experience with a disability known as Muscular Dystrophy. She is highly motivated and dedicated to social change and empowering the lives of people with disabilities. She participated in the 4th Women's Institute on Leadership and Disability in Eugene, Oregon in 2008, organized by Mobility International USA (MIUSA). After this leadership program, together with other women from her country, she Registered a Non-Profit Organization called Mobility Challenge, in 2009. During 2013, Ms. Risteska spent 4 months in Washington DC as a Community Solutions Fellow by the US State Department, where she enriched her knowledge to work on issues connected with women with disabilities.

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