Chief Executive Officer
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.
Senior Advisor for Inclusive and Accessible Urban Development
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.
Aurélien Daydé advises international organizations so they can communicate better. He has over 15 years of experience designing and implementing communication strategies and visibility projects.
Aurélien started his career as a journalist for Radio France Internationale and became a communication expert focusing on disability rights with the European Disability Forum. He was working as communication manager for the emergency response unit of CBM when he moved to Zambia in 2014 where he co-founded ecoZambia, an award-winning organization focusing on communication for development.
Since then he has been providing technical assistance to EU programs in Asia and Sub Saharan Africa as well as with other organizations: the African Union, ILO, the GIZ, UNICEF and USAID. Aurélien also provides communication trainings.
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.
Hannes Juhlin Lagrelius
Program Officer│Bilateral Associate Expert, Global Program for Inclusive and Accessible Urban Development
Hannes has been appointed by the Executive Director of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) to serve in its Stakeholder Advisory Group Enterprise (SAGE). Hannes currently co-chairs the Partner Constituent Group of Persons with Disabilities within the General Assembly of Partners, and 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 a double-degree bachelor in Peace and Development Studies along Political Science. He 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 Actions, UCLG Policy Paper on Inclusive and Accessible Cities, and contributions towards the Accessibility GO! A Guide to Action.
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.
Human Rights and Development Program Consultant
Vibhu Sharma leads on several projects related to the Sustainable Development Goals projects to enhance capacity building in African countries. She also collaborates with partner organizations on initiatives such as the Global Shelter Cluster Inclusion project, besides helping the organization with content development and writing and presentation of the project and other reports. Miss Sharma has a master’s degree in Inclusive Education from the University of Edinburgh. Previously, Vibhu has also worked with Theirworld, a UK – based, Global Children’s Charity. She is passionate for equality, advocacy and inclusion, and serves as a leading disability – inclusion member in several international partnerships such as UNICEF’s multi-million Dollar partnership, Generation Unlimited, and co-Chairs the Global Partnership for Children with Disabilities – Youth Council, hosted by UNICEF. Miss Sharma has been an ardent advocate of inclusion from a very young age. She has brought about significant policy change in India, enabling all students with visual impairment to have access to a computer with a screen reader to appear independently for their high school exams.
General Assembly Administrative Assistant
Tracy Yeager joined WBU in January as the General Assembly Administrative Assistant and will be with WBU through this year’s assembly. While only with WBU for a short time, disability advocacy is close to her heart as she is the daughter of two blind parents. Her main responsibilities are to work closely with Jose, WBU’s CEO, to get the word out and create a top notch online General Assembly that allows all participants to participate. Tracy Yeager is from the United States and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education. While teaching is her greatest passion, over the last several years she has developed a love for helping companies with those more administrative tasks to keep things running. She is based in the Washington DC area but yearns to travel.
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.