Our Executive Committee etc
Executive Committees

Yannis Vardakastanis – President

Yannis Vardakastanis has been our President since 1999. He is a political scientist.

EDF representative at the International Disability Alliance (IDA) since 2007

  • Vice-Chair from 2010 to 2012
  • Chair from 2012 to 2014
  • Treasurer since 2014


Elected President of the Panhellenic Association of the Blind in 1986 and was their head of the international relations department from 1992 to 2013

He has been President of the National Confederation of Disabled People of Greece (N.C.D.P.), the umbrella organization of the Greek disability movement, since 1993

Member of

Ana Peláez – Vice President

Ana Peláez Narváez has been Vice-President since ????. She holds degrees inrn Science of Education, Psychology, and Special Needs for People with rnDisabilities and PhD courses in quality of life.


She is currently the Executive Councillor for International Relations and External Development at the Spanish National Organisation of the Blind (ONCE), executive Vice-President of the ONCE Foundation for Solidarity with Blind People in Latin America (FOAL) and Commissioner for Women’s Affairs at the Spanish Committee of Representatives of People with Disabilities (CERMI).

Ana has been active in our Women’s Committee since 2001 and currently chairs it.

Ana participated in the official Spanish delegation that took part inrn the final drafting phase of the UN Convention on the rights of Persons rnwith Disabilities, as well as in the Signing Ceremony, and official rndeposit of Spain’s ratification.

Ana served two terms on the Committee of the UN Committee on the rnRights of Persons with Disabilities. She was recently elected as an rnexpert to the UN Committee of Elimination of Discrimination against Women. She was the first woman with a disability to be elected.

In recognition of her contribution in this field, she was awarded the Order of Isabel the Catholic by His Majesty King Juan Carlos I of Spain.

Pat Clarke – Vice President

Pat Clarke has been our Vice President since ???

He retired rnas Chief Executive of Down Syndrome Ireland and Past- President of Down rnSyndrome International. His son, David, aged 37 has Down syndrome.


Pat is immediate past Chair of the Disability Federation of Ireland rnand has served on the boards of the Children Rights Alliance Ireland andrn on the governing body of the International Disability Alliance. He was arn member of the Council of Europe Committee which investigated the rninvolvement of persons with disabilities in political and public life. rnHis involvement with the Disability Federation of Ireland, European rnDisability Forum and the International Disability Alliance gives him a rnpan disability perspective on all the issues. rnHe has been a long-time advocate for the full inclusion of people with rnDown syndrome in particular and all people with disabilities in general rnin society at every level.


Gunta Anca – Secretary

Board member of EDF since 2005 and of the Women’s Committee.
Chair of the Latvian Umbrella Body for Disability Organisations (Sustento) since 2002
Member of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) since 2006
Advisor in the Disability Rights Fund since 2008
Board member of the European Women’s Lobby from ? to ?

Maureen Piggot
Board member and treasurer since 2017
President of Inclusion Europe
She has been involved with organisations of and for people with intellectual disability at national and international level since the early 1970’s. Director of Mencap from 1990 to 2014, an organisation with UK-wide impact where she led advocacy campaigns on deinstitutionalisation, the right to vote, equality of health care, the recognition of Hate Crime amongst others. During the periodic review of the EU she was part of the delegation that presented the alternative report and engaged in dialogue with the CRPD Committee.
Member of
Board of Inclusion Europe since 2004
Council of Inclusion International since 2011
In 2008 Maureen was awarded an Order of the British Empire for her advocacy work.

Rodolfo Cattani
Board member since 1997, on the Executive Committee since 2005. Secretary General from 2009 to 2017. He was an EDF representative on various European Union’s consultative bodies, currently on the European Multi-Stakeholder Platform on ICT Standardization. He was member, amongst others, of the following bodies:
•    Platform of European Social NGOs – Vice- President
•    Design for All Working Group of ANEC (European Association for the Co-ordination of Consumer Representation in Standardisation).
He worked as a schoolteacher for 13 years and for almost 20 years he was Managing Director of the Italian National Library for the Blind.
He is the Chairman of the Commission for Liaising with the EU of the European Blind Union, an organisation that he has been part of since its establishment in 1984. From that date up to 1996, Mr. Cattani also occupied various positions within the World Blind Union.

Humberto Insolera
On our Board of Directors and the Executive Committee since 2017. He is chairman of the EDF’s ICT email expert group, EDF Human Rights and Non-Discrimination Committee member, and EDF Youth Committee substitute.
European Union of the Deaf (EUD) vice-president from 2013 to 2017, Chair of their Accessibility Working Group since 2013
Dr Humberto Insolera was born to a Deaf family and has been a Consultant on foreign affairs of the Ente Nazionale Sordi (ENS), Lecturer of Deaf Studies, and independent consultant. He was a Member of the Expert Group on Human Rights for the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD).
He has been an Italian Youth Committee Member and coordinated the first and second Italian Deaf academic conference for deaf, deaf blind and hard of hearing delegates in 2011 and 2016.

Nadia Hadad
Board member since ?
Nadia is an Electromechanical engineer specialising in “Mechanical conception”, water resources engineering, human ecology, environment coordination, and philosophy who has worked for several NGOs and governments around the world. She has worked in different areas, from water related projects to training of craftsmen and young people excluded from education, to training and supporting local women’s groups in technical issues. She collaborated with the UNDP to co-produce “Multifunctional Plate-Form” with local people.
Nadia is an external thesis coordinator for students on “Adapted Technologies” and now also on disability issues. She does research in several areas. She gives lectures and trainings on inclusive cooperation, the UN CRPD and SDGs at universities, ministries, NGOs, DPOs and more.
Board member of
•    The European Network on Independent Living (ENIL)
•    The “Damiaan Foundation: inspiring and engaging” at the Catholic University of Leuven (KUL), where she works on inclusion of disabled persons.
•    GRIP (Equal Rights for each person with disabilities)
•    BROG (Brussels Healthcare Council)
•    DOP VBB
Member of
•    Academic Network of European Experts on Disability (ANED)
•    Advisory Panel of the EU Fundamental Rights Agency’s Fundamental Rights Platform since 2017
•    Brussels Region Advisory Panel.
•    Belgian Supervising Commission inside UNIA, the independent mechanism for the implementation and monitoring of the UN CRPD in Belgium, for GRIP
•    EU and UN Task groups at IDDC (International Disability Development Consortium)
•    Vice President of the Brussels City Advisory Council of Persons with Disabilities

Klaus Lachwitz
Board member of EDF since 2014
Secretary General of the International Disability Alliance (IDA) since 2016
Klaus is a human rights lawyer from Germany. For more than 30 years he worked for Bundesvereinigung Lebenshilfe, Berlin, (a DPO representing persons with intellectual disabilities and their families) as head of the legal department and executive director.
President of Inclusion International from 2010 to 2018
He published the first legal commentary on the CRPD in German language alongside colleagues in 2014

Pirkko Mahlamäki
Board member of EDF since 2013 and represents EDF as Board member of the European Women’s Lobby (EWL) since 2016, then elected to the Executive Committee in 2018
Secretary General of the Finnish Disability Forum since 2000
She served as an expert member of Finnish delegation to UN Ad hoc committee preparing the ICRPD (2003-2006). She has been active in Nordic co-operation as a member of the Nordic Co-operation organisation of disability organisations (since 2001) and vice member of The Council of Nordic Cooperation on Disability, advisory body to the Nordic Council of Ministers (2013-2017).
She trained as translator in English and French, specializing in judicial translations and disability terminology. She is member of the Non-discrimination and Equality Tribunal of Finland (since 2015)
•    The Order of Merit of the White Rose of Finland (2009)
•    Human Rights Award of the Finnish League of Human Rights (2009)

Albert Prevos
Board member since 2017, in the Executive Committee without a portfolio
President of the French Council of Disabled Persons for European Affairs (CFHE) since ?
Father of a 41-year-old adult with multiple severe disabilities, he is a member of the Federation of Associations for Adults and Young Persons with Disabilities (APAJH) for almost thirty years. He is the Vice-President since eight years of this association, which accompanies more than 15,000 people with all forms of disability. He is particularly involved in the conquest of autonomy for people with intellectual disabilities.
As a University professor, his professional life was articulated between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of National Education and led him to engage in continuous European and international affairs. For over ten years, he has assumed responsibility for France’s negotiation with the European Commission in the fields of research, higher education and education.
Member of

  • Follow-up Committee of the UN Convention to the Defender of Rights (French ombudsman)
  • National Advisory Council for People with Disabilities (CNCPH)
  • Board of Directors of the International Foundation for Applied Research on Disability (FIRAH)
  • National Consultative Commission on Human Rights (CNCDH), where he was the rapporteur in January 2017 of a recommendation on the right to vote of disabled people adopted unanimously.