New York, NY, 9 July 2014—The International Disability Alliance (IDA) announced today the appointment of Ms. Maryanne Diamond as chair of the International Disability Alliance Board. Ms. Diamond has been a leading advocate for persons with disabilities, serving as president of IDA member organisation the World Blind Union from 2008 – 2012 and vice-chair of the Alliance from 2013 – 2014. Ms. Diamond succeeds Mr. Yannis Vardakastanis, president of the European Disability Forum and chair of IDA from 2013 – 2014.

 “IDA has elected, as its second elected Chair, a woman with a disability, of great quality and a capable leader, Maryanne Diamond,” said Mr. Vardakastanis. “I am sure she will lead IDA into the future with prudence, vision and determination. I am indeed happy to hand the position of chair to such a great woman with a disability”.

 In addition to Ms. Diamond, the following representatives of IDA members were elected by the IDA Board in the Board meeting on 3 March 2014 in Nairobi, Kenya: Mr. Colin Allen as first vice-chair (President, World Federation of the Deaf); Ms. Ruth Warick as second vice-chair (President, International Federation of the Hard of Hearing); Mr. Nawaf Kabbara as third vice-chair (President, Arab Organisation of Persons with Disabilities); Mr. Klaus Lachwitz as General Secretary (President, Inclusion International); and Mr. Yannis Vardakastanis as Treasurer. Their mandate runs from 1 July 2014 - 30 June 2016.

 “I look forward to the work ahead and to continue the excellent work of those who came before me,” said Ms. Diamond. “There are huge issues ahead where the disability community must continue to work together to ensure we persons with disabilities are recognised and our needs included in decisions and initiatives that impact on our lives.”

The International Disability Alliance was established in 1999 as an alliance of eight global and four regional organisations of persons with disabilities (DPOs) and their families, representing an estimated one billion persons with disabilities worldwide. IDA’s unique composition as a network of international DPOs allows it to act as an authoritative and representative voice of persons with disabilities in the United Nations system, both in New York and Geneva.




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