Country Representative Program
Smart Cities for All benefits from a global network of expert country representatives. These Country Representatives collaborate with local and national governments, civil society, and private sector stakeholders in making global cities more inclusive in the context of the UN SDGs (#11), the UN Habitat III New Urban Agenda, and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The Country Representatives bring to their countries the global work of Smart Cities for All, a broad understanding of accessibility and universal design for technologies and environments, the UN CRPD, and the perspectives of a variety of disabilities.
Abdul Khaliq Zazai
Abdul Khaliq Zazai is a founder and President of the Accessibility Organization for Afghan Disabled (AOAD) located in Kabul (Afghanistan). As Director of AOAD, he is involved in advocacy for disability mainstreaming in government structures, UN, and NGOs since 2003. Mr. Zazai was the first to promote the physical accessibility of the built environment with the idea of Universal Design. He is a national advocate for addressing disability as cross-cutting issue both in Afghanistan and at the international level.
Michael Galea is a tertiary qualified Access Consultant, Architectural Building Designer and Project Manager. His career, spanning over 40 years, has specialised in UD, “Accessible Living” and advocating against Disability Discrimination. He advises to all levels of government and large corporations Australia wide. He also lectures on Disability Discrimination and Disability Awareness. He has lived with Multiple Sclerosis for 33 years causing him to be legally blind.
Lateefa Khalid Mohammad
Lateefa Khalid Mohammad is a Bachelor of Science in Architecture Engineering from Kingdom University – Bahrain. She is a Founder of Sahel, a specialized construction activities company that aims to create a better environment for wheelchair users through engineering and construction services. Lateefa has lectured on accessibility for people with disabilities at universities and community organizations throughout the Gulf Cooperation Council.
Vashkar Bhattacharjee is currently working as the National Consultant for Accessibility in the a2i Program of Bangladesh Government. He is also the focal person for DAISY, ABC, Bookshare, Federation of DPO’s Sitakund. He has received UNESCO Prize, Henry Viskardi Achievement Award, and Prime Minister’s award of Bangladesh for his contribution towards the accessibility and inclusion. He is an expert on DIDRM, disability & development, ICTs for development, and e-Accessibility for persons with disability.
Regina Cohen is an architect, an associated researcher and a specialist on accessibility. She is the Coordinator of the Accessibility Commission of the Architecture Council (CAU RJ, 2018-2020) and of the Commission of the Municipality of Rio de Janeiro. Ms. Cohen worked in the Project “Accessibility for the Brazilian World Cup 2014” (CNPq), in the Accessibility Manual of the Paralympic Games – RIO 2016 and was also Consultant of Accessibility for the Conference of Sustainability RIO+20.
Kristine France Zúñiga
Kristine France Zúñiga is an architect with 17 years of experience in accessibility. She is the Head of Diploma “Architecture and Universal Accessibility” at PUC University, Vice-president of Accessibility Committee of National College of Architects, consultant and member of commissions for accessibility-related laws for national institutions like MINVU, SENADIS, INE, INN. She advised architectural projects and existing buildings for applications of accessibility standards and development of accessible plans.
Katherine Michelle Chacón Martínez
Katherine Michelle Chacón Martínez is a PhD candidate on Urban Regeneration. She has been working on different scopes from Inclusive Urban Development. She advises stakeholders in terms of universal design for built environments and trains municipal and political leaders about regulations of constructions and inclusive urban strategies under the CRPD, the Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda approach.
Yahya Muhammed Bah
Yahya Muhammed Bah is an experienced social worker and economist. While being a full-time lecturer at the University of Gambia, he is a part-time sociology lecturer at the American International University, West Africa, Banjul Campus; Real estate studies lecturer at the Gambia Technical Training Institute (GTTI), and Tourism for All lecturer at Gambia Hospitality Institute. He is an author of multiple articles on the topics of accessibility published both in academic journals, local and international newspapers.
Grant Anim has his Professional Certificate in Building and Civil Engineering from the Institute of Incorporated Engineers (IIE) and Construction Technician Certificate Part I and II(CTCII) of City and Guilds of London Institute (UK). Anim is the Africa Director for the International Vocational Development, Skill Development for Disability Unit under the International Abilympic Federation. He is the Managing Director of Buildex Professional Services Limited (BPSL) - a building and civil engineering company.
Parul Sharma is an urban and transport planner highly experienced in Management Consulting, Project & Program Management. He was working on Urban Management projects on Accessibility, Universal Design, Environment, Urban Planning, Sanitation, Solid Waste Management and Urban Infrastructure across India. He is also a member of The Global Network on Disability Inclusive and Accessible Urban Development (DIAUD) and contributes to UN Habitat III on Disability related issues.
Peter Bodo Ong'aro
Peter Bodo Ong'aro has a lot of experience in the disability field and is an advocate for accessibility and disability rights and age-friendly initiatives. As a web designer, he advocates for accessible web design and inclusive ICTs especially in eLearning. He is currently conducting accessibility audits of hotels, educational institutions and other public utilities in major cities of Kenya (Nairobi, Kisumu, Mombasa, Nakuru, Naivasha, and Kericho).
Ahmed El-Rida is an architect and urban planner who had a keen interest in the area of accessibility for the past 36 years. He is graduate of the University of Benghazi and has focused his work on creating an understanding of a Design for All approach through his private firm ATTYSEER. ATTAYSEER is one of the very few companies in the North African and Arab regions, which specializes in accessibility consulting and was the first to promote accessibility and Design for All in Libya.
Andres Balcazar is an architect and accessibility and disability consultant for national and international organizations from the private, public and civil society sectors. He currently works for the Mexican Human Rights Commission as Director of Disability Affairs. His latest international assignments include participation in the development of the Kuwait Universal Design Code in 2017 and coordinating GAATES team for developing the Dubai Universal Accessibility Strategy and Action Plan in 2016.
Deepak Khatri Chhetri
Deepak Khatri Chhetri is an architect and an active leader in the disability movement and a founding member of Independent Living Center Kathmandu, which leads Nepal’s efforts for the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability. He is a registered life member of the Society of Nepalese Architects and the Nepal Engineering Association. In addition, he is an active member of National Paralympic Committee and currently serves as its deputy secretary-general.
Charles Uchenna Ani
Charles Uchenna Ani has Bachelor of Engineering in Chemical Engineering from Enugu State University of Science and technology, Enugu, Nigeria. He also received certificates in Climate Change from United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), in Principles and guidelines for UN Peacekeeping Operations, and in Implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution on the Women, Peace and Security Agenda in Africa, both from Peace Operations Training Institute, New York, USA.
Muhammad Atif Sheikh
Muhammad Atif Sheikh is the Executive Director of STEP (Special Talent Exchange Program), a cross-disability national organization based in Pakistan striving for the rights of persons with disabilities. He has served as the first Chairperson of the South Asian Disability Forum (SADF), a network of DPOs from seven countries from the South Asian region. He has been proclaimed as Promoter for the Incheon Strategy for the Asia Pacific Decade of Persons with Disabilities 2013-22 by UNESCAP.
José Guillermo Pinto Olivares
José Guillermo Pinto Olivares’ professional experience is related to management and consultancy in the area of decentralization and regional development, and formulation, coordination, implementation, systematization and evaluation of national policies on disability. As part of his duties in the National Council for the Integration of Persons with Disabilities, he coordinates the Research Sub-Directorate and the technical team of the National Observatory of Disability.
Pedro Homem de Gouveia
Pedro Homem de Gouveia is a Founding Partner of Include Ltd., a firm providing clients with technical expertise in the fields of accessibility, universal design and public participation, through planning and design, consulting, training, research and field work (from access audits to focus groups). He strongly believes that professionals who plan, design and manage the built environment have the power (and the duty) to help it become friendly, fair, sustainable and safe for all users.
Murrukkuwadura Charles Mendis
Murrukkuwadura Charles Mendis is a Consultant Quantity Surveyor & Project Manager and Visiting Instructor for Vocational Training Authority of Sri Lanka. He has been working to eradicate discriminatory environmental barriers, converting those to disability friendly environments and enabling every citizen to access built environments. He contributed to the preparation of a construction guideline the Sri Lanka Parliament for the use of designers, planners, and builders.
Colette Fransolet works as a Universal Access Consultant, mainly to local government and large corporations, and her areas of proficiency includes Public Transport, Built Environments and Policy. She strives to be the driving force for UD to maintain the importance of social integration and diversity of people in South Africa, which has a unique context with an embedded history of segregation. She is passionate about research and training and is a regular guest lecturer at the University of Cape Town.
Nada Alksebati has a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Architecture from the Central Scientific Research and Designing Institute of the Model and Experimental Design of Dwelling, Moscow, USSR and has a B.S. in Architectural Engineering from Damascus University, Syria. She is an author of a book titled: “Design Spaces for the Disabled” published by Damascus University and is a Professor in the University of Damascus, Faculty of Architectural Engineering.
María José Bagnato
María José Bagnato has extensive experience working on disability issues and accessibility for people with disabilities. Throughout the years and in the different positions, María José has provided draft policies, contributions and presentations on key issues of accessibility, especially in education and employment. In 2013-2015, she was the Director of the "National Disability Program" under the Ministry of Social Development of Uruguay.
In 2019, GAATES, the Global Alliance for Accessible Technologies and Environments, and G3ict, the Global Initiative for Inclusive ICTs, announced a definitive agreement under which GAATES chose to redeploy its activities under the Smart Cities for All global initiative.