Our Team

José Viera,  Chief Executive Officer, WBU

Photo: José Viera,  Chief Executive Officer, WBU

José Viera is the Chief Executive Officer of the WBU since April 2018. He is also the Permanent Representative of the Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities. Previously, he was the WBU Human Rights Policy Advisor for two years, supporting more than 100 different national associations of the blind in advocacy work to promote inclusive and productive lives of blind people.

Jose has a Master’s degree in Management of Development from Torino University, Italy and a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations. Prior to joining the WBU, he worked as the Regional Director of the Latin America Centre for Disability Rights Promotion International, a global initiative funded by the Swedish government that aims at monitoring economic, social and political rights of persons with disabilities. In addition, Jose has served as a consultant for the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) Committee Secretariat. For the past 10 years, he has also worked part-time as Associate Professor of the International Relations Department at the Siglo 21 University, in Cordoba Argentina. Jose is based in the WBU Global office, Toronto, Canada. Email: jose.viera@wbu.ngo

Hannes Juhlin Lagrelius, Program Officer│Bilateral Associate Expert, Global Program for Inclusive and Accessible Urban Development 

Hannes Juhlin Lagrelius joined WBU in 2019. He is responsible for coordinating our Global Program for Inclusive and Accessible Urban Development aiming to promote and ensure that urban development strategies, policies and practices are integral of disability inclusion, accessibility, and universal design to leave no one behind in the implementation of the New Urban Agenda. He ensures strategic leadership of and development of the program, coordinates provision of technical expertise to key partners, networks, and allies to optimize the impact of WBU’s work in this area. Hannes currently co-chairs the Partner Constituent Group of Persons with Disabilities within the General Assembly of Partners (entity recognised within the New Urban Agenda) intending to collectively engage Organisations of Persons with Disabilities in relevant policy processes, events, and joint advocacy efforts. He is also WBU’s focal point for UN-HABITAT, and the Global Network for Disability-Inclusive and Accessible Urban Development (DIAUD) behind the Cities 4 All campaign.Hannes has two BA degrees, in Peace and Development Studies along Political Science and has been an intern at Sida in Stockholm and Embassy of Sweden to Rwanda. He has a professional background in the Swedish disability rights movement with focus on international cooperation, including serving on multiple executive boards. Hannes is positioned at the office of the African Union of the Blind in Nairobi as a Bilateral Associate Expert seconded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). Key contributions include the WBU milestone agreement with UN-Habitat which he manages, the development of WUF10 Abu Dhabi Declared ActionsUCLG Policy Paper on Inclusive and Accessible Cities , and contributions towards the Accessibility GO! A Guide to Action. Email: Hannes.lagrelius@wbu.ngo

Benjamin Dard, Senior Advisor for Inclusive and Accessible Urban Development

Photo: Benjamin Dard, CBM’s Technical Advisor for Accessibility and Universal Design

Benjamin Dard, joined WBU in 2018 to support WBU’s Global Program for Inclusive and Accessible Urban Development – Engaging WBU members and OPD partners in the implementation of the New Urban Agenda. His main focus over the ten years has been to work with countries, cities, and communities around the world to achieve accessibility and universal design in line with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

Benjamin is actively engaged in global networks – such as the Disability Inclusive and Accessible Urban Development (DIAUD) Network – working with partners at all levels to promote implementation of the New Urban Agenda. Benjamin has a Master’s degree in Urban Planning from the Urban Planning Institute of Grenoble and the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. Key contributions include the development of Accessibility GO! A Guide to Action (WBU and CBM Global), The Inclusion Imperative: Key Recommendations for An Inclusive Urban Agenda (CBM and WE), CBM Digital Accessibility Toolkit (EN, SP, FR), the launch of the Cities For All global campaign and the Global Compact on Inclusive and Accessible Cities and the UCLG Policy Paper on Inclusive and Accessible Cities in collaboration with GAP PCG Persons with Disabilities and the DIAUD Network. He is based in Toronto, Canada. Email: Benjamin.Dard@wbu.ngo

Ianina Rodriguez, Administrative Assistant, WBU

Ianina Rodriguez joined WBU Global Office in Toronto, Canada, in 2008. She has over 20 years experience working in the not-for-profit sector at national and international level, as well as working with international development organizations. During her tenure at the global office, she has supported the work of the CEO, WBU leadership Board and WBU members, working closely with our regional presidents, regional secretariats and directly with our national member organizations. She also supports the administrative requirements of the global office operations, working closely with our finance team and liaising with our donors and partners.

Ianina is originally from Peru, she has a B.A. degree in Translation and Interpretation from Ricardo Palma University, Lima Peru; she also studied Business Administration and is trained in Community Mediation.
E-mail: ianina.rodriguez@wbu.ngo

Nqobani Dube, Fellow, WBU-NORAD Fellowship Program
Photo: Nqobani Dube, Fellow, WBU-NORAD Fellowship Program

Nqobani Dube, from Zimbabwe, is a WBU-NORAD fellow. Nqobani supports WBU- Norad program in advancing the rights of blind and partially sighted persons, mainly focusing on Sub-Saharan Africa. Prior to joining WBU he worked with Inclusive Humanity Institute as a diversity and inclusion specialist where he has been using various frameworks including the UNCRPD, SDGs, Sendai framework and many others to design and deploy innovative tools to contribute towards positive policy change, enhancing disability mainstreaming and the effectiveness of programs targeting people with disabilities.

Nqobani has contributed in various ways to the disability sector in Africa. At World Vision Zimbabwe, he facilitated disability inclusive development and humanitarian programs such as the protracted relief program to measurably improve lives for over 3000 households of people with disabilities. At Thuso Rehabilitation centre he spearheaded development of internal disability rights training system resulting in adoption of rights based approach to community based rehabilitation services and improved program outcomes for over 2000 people with disabilities in the Chobe district in Botswana.

Nqobani has Master’s degree in Development and Human Rights from Swansea University in Wales, UK as a Chevening scholar. He is committed to grassroots disability rights activism, research on disruptive social media and other digital rights issues. Email: Nqobani.Dube@wbu.ngo

Christine Kirungi, Fellow, WBU-NORAD Fellowship Program

Christine Kirungi from Uganda, living with cerebral palsy disability, is a WBU-NORAD fellow. She supports WBU- Norad program in advancing the rights of blind and partially sighted persons, mainly focusing on Sub-Saharan Africa.

Christine is the Executive Director of Uganda National Association of Cerebral Palsy (UNAC) since 2017 and  a “Bridge Alumni”. She’s also a Disability Inclusion Facilitator partly supporting Light for the World to implement the make 12.4% Work initiative. Christine has also worked with National Union of Disabled Persons of Uganda- (NUDIPU) as a Project Officer in charge of implementing a project aiming at empowerment and sensitization of people with Cerebral palsy, their families and other stakeholders in Uganda. Christine has bachelor’s degree in Community Based Rehabilitation from Kyambogo University. Email: info@wbu.ngo

Ishiyaku Adamu, Fellow, WBU-NORAD Fellowship Program

Ishiyaku Adamu, from Nigeria, is a WBU-NORAD fellow. Ishiyaku supports WBU- Norad program in advancing the rights of blind and partially sighted persons, mainly focusing on Sub-Saharan Africa. He has a Master’s degree in Political Economy from the University of Manchester, UK.

Ishiyaku is a dedicated disability rights activist and academic. From 2005 to date, he has held numerous positions on disability rights and advocacy in and outside Nigeria. He was also a 2016 Mandela Washington Fellow of the University of Indiana USA.  As President of the umbrella body of blind persons in Nigeria since 2015, Ishiyaku has worked with other stakeholders to successfully lobby for the ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty by Nigeria in 2017 and to advocate for the National Disability Act. Email: info@wbu.ngo

Yohannes Takele, Fellow, WBU-NORAD Fellowship Program

Yohannes Takele is a WBU-NORAD fellow. Yohannes supports WBU- Norad program in advancing the rights of blind and partially sighted persons, mainly focusing on Sub-Saharan Africa. He is also a Disability Inclusion Advisor for the Ethiopian Center for Disability and Development (ECDD), serves as board member, Pro Bono legal advisor and consultant for different organizations working on disability rights. He is extensively engaged in the Ethiopian disability rights movement, advocating for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the country’s socio-economic and political development.

Yohannes has a Master’s degree in Law with special focus to international human rights and comparative disability law from Syracuse University, USA and a Masters and Bachelor’s Degree in law from Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia. He is a certified expert of NVDA screen reader for the blind and visually impaired. As of 2019, he has been working part-time as lecturer of law Department at the Addis Ababa University, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Yohannes is based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Email: info@wbu.ngo

Yana Zayed, WBU Knowledge & Learning Platform Development Manager

Yana Zayed began collaborating with the WBU in 2020 when she supported the development of Accessibility GO! A Guide to Action, as well as the compilation of WBU member voices in the COVID-19 report, Amplifying Voices: Our Lives, Our Say. She is currently working with the WBU to develop an exciting new knowledge and learning platform for its members, and brings to this role a combined passion for equality, self-advocacy and accessible technology.

Over the 13 years prior to joining the WBU team, Yana has worked with CBM, Able Child Africa, Medical Aid for Palestinians and International Service – in collaboration with persons with disability – on community, national and international initiatives that promote sustainable, inclusive development. During her time in occupied Palestine, she sat on several national committees providing technical support on milestone initiatives, including the first Palestinian national disability survey, in addition to its first public inquiry on the rights of Palestinians with disability to decent work.

Before turning to the not-for-profit sector, Yana worked on the creation of an award-winning online accessibility guide to goods and services, followed by a short stint as a management consultant. She hopes to bring all these experiences to her role at the WBU, while also continuing to learn more. Yana is currently based in England. Email: yana.zayed@wbu.ngo

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