Yannis Vardakastanis was born in Zakynthos (Greece) in 1957. In 1989, he graduated in Political Sciences at the University of California in Berkeley. He as an extensive experience in the field of disability, working as: Special Advisor for the education of students with disabilities to the Minister of Education (1982-84); Special advisor to the President of the Greek Manpower Employment Organisation and Delegate at the Greek Ministry of Labour on disability issues (1985-89); Managing Director of the National Institute for the Protection of Deaf and Hard of Hearing People (1986-89).
From 1983 to 1992 he has been Vice-President and then President of the Panhellenic Association of the Blind and since 1989 he has been actively involved in the National Confederation of Disabled People in Greece (N.C.D.P.), where he is the President since 1993.
Since 1999, Yannis Vardakastanis is the President of the European Disability Forum and chairs different Commission and Committees in several European and international disability NGOs.
From 2002 to 2007, he has been actively involved as EDF representative in the negotiations on the UN Convention on the right of disabled persons.
Since 2007, he is the EDF representative in the International Disability Alliance (IDA) and
since July 2012, he is the chair of IDA.