The new ENIL Board members were elected at the General Assembly which took place on 27 September 2017, during the Freedom Drive. There were twelve candidates from ten countries.
Following the approval of the proposed constitutional changes, 5 existing Board members were elected to serve one further term: Kapka Panayotova (President, Bulgaria), Tove Brandvik (Vice-President, Norway), Maria Dahl (Sweden), Nadia Hadad (Belgium) and Stelios Kympouropoulos (Greece). In addition, four new Board members were chosen to serve two terms: Armen Alaverdyan (Armenia), Tara Flood (UK), Anna Hallgren (Sweden) and Rados Keravica (Serbia). Below you can find brief information about each Board member:
Kapka Panayotova (President, Bulgaria):
Kapka Panayotova is a well-known disability leader and human rights advocate in Bulgaria. She is the founder of Center for Independent Living (CIL) – Sofia. She has been involved in much advocacy oriented research, as well as in different activities to empower disabled people in Bulgaria, in other Balkan countries. Her firm ideas about human rights and outspokenness have brought to light a lot of discrimination cases in Bulgaria, which resulted in denouncement of key legal provisions in Bulgaria and development of entirely new anti-discrimination legislation. Over the last twenty years Kapka has been a disability consultant, trainer and researcher in Bulgaria. She contributed to the International Disability Rights Monitor (2006) and the work of ANED on Disability Policies in Europe.
Tove Brandvik (Vice-President, Norway):
For the past 20 years, Tove Brandvik has been politically active and an independent living activist. At the moment, she serves as a political advisor for Uloba Independent Living Norway. In the past, Tove was a member of the Norwegian Parliament, as a representative for the Norwegian Labour Party and former Mayor of the municipality of Lindås. She also held several key positions in organizations for people with functional impairments.
Maria Dahl (Sweden):
Maria Dahl has been the Chairwoman of the Board of STIL since 2014. During the period 2002-2010, she sat as a member of STIL’s Board, only to re-enter the Board as Vice Chairman in 2013. Maria is interested in international affairs and has travelled a lot. She had the pleasure of meeting a lot of people from different countries with different interests and experiences through her work at STIL.
Nadia Hadad (Belgium):
Nadia Hadad was born in Belgium. She spent a part of her childhood in Morocco and returned to Belgium to complete her secondary education. She studied civil engineering and specialized in mechanical conception and water resourcing. She interned with several NGOs, for example in India, Ecuador and Morocco, and has worked for the Belgian Technical Cooperation. Nadia is a member of several DPOs and NGOs. As a result of her lobbying work, she became the Vice President of the Consulting Council for Persons with Disabilities. She is also a Board member of the NGO PHOS (Platform Disability and Development Cooperation), a member of IDDC (International Disability Development Consortium), of the Belgian Expertise Center Independent Living, and of Onafhankelijk Leven. She is also a member of GRIP (Equal Rights for Persons with Disabilities), where she is involved in the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This year, Nadia was elected to represent ENIL on the Board and the Executive Committee of the European Disability Forum (EDF), and represents EDF on the Advisory Panel of the EU FRA – Fundamental Rights Platform.
Stelios Kympouropoulos (Greece):
Stelios Kympouropoulos was born in Athens. In 2010, he received his medical degree with honors, graduating from the University of Athens. In early 2011, he started specialising in psychiatry and in 2016, he became a psychiatrist. He has an MA in the “Promotion of Mental Health Prevention of Psychiatric Disorder” and has completed a 2-year course on human sexuality. He is one of the co-founders of “i-Living – Independent Living Organization of Greece”. He is the author of publications covering topics such as the foundations and philosophy of Independent Living, and disability in general, and he has participated and spoken at many disability conferences in Greece.
Armen Alaverdyan (Armenia):
Amen Alaverdyan has been the lead disability activist in Armenia for 17 years. He is the head of Unison, the organization which was the first to promote independent living in Armenia. Unlike most other disability activists in Armenia, ha has an academic background in Human Rights – he holds a diploma on Human Rights from the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (Sweden). He has authored a number of publications on inclusion and was also the Armenia Country Researcher of the International Disability Rights Monitor Regional Report of Europe 2007. He has experience in advocating for the implementation of the rights of disabled people at the UN level.
Tara Flood (UK):
Tara Flood is a rights focused disabled person, who has used the Social Model of Disability to rewrite her own life experience and turn early life segregation and disempowerment into personal and professional success. She has worked in the non-governmental sector since 1997 for a range of disability focused organisations that include service providers, national and international campaigning networks, and a large non user-led charity. She has also been a trustee/Chairperson and Treasurer of a range of non-governmental organisations, including a training provider and a small international development agency. She has been the Director at ALLFIE – Alliance for Inclusive Education since April 2006, so has more than 10 years of experience of leading a grassroots disabled person-led organisation.
Anna Hallgren (Sweden):
Both Anna Hallgren and her 8-year-old daughter have a very rare muscle disease. Anna comes from a family that has been very involved in Swedish politics and also Swedish disability organisations. Today, she works as a sexual educator, travelling around Sweden and the United States. She is a mentor on human rights, disability rights and sexual rights for all people, with or without disabilities. Her biggest goal is to try to make a better world for her and other disabled children in Sweden, Europe and the rest of the world.
Rados Keravica (Serbia):
Rados Keravica has been an advocate and a researcher in the field of disability rights for over 6 years and has knowledge and skills in human rights law, grant writing, program development and policy analysis. He was a Board member of ENIL’s Youth Network since 2015 and was re-elected at the Youth General Assembly in 2017. He was a Regional Officer for Europe at Disability Rights Promotion International (DRPI) – a global collaborative project, led by York University, Toronto, aimed to monitor disability rights using a holistic participatory human rights monitoring methodology. As a recipient of a scholarship of the Central European University (CEU) in Budapest and a CEU Alumni Scholarship, he is about to complete an MA in Human Rights in November 2017.
A new Nominating Committee was also elected at the General Assembly. Its members are Mari Siilsalu for the North, Gregor Fajida for the East, Mathilde Fuchs for the West and Vanya Pandieva for the South Region.