* In alphabetical order
Erik W. Carter
Erik Carter, Ph.D., is Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Special Education at Vanderbilt University. His research and teaching focuses on evidence-based strategies for supporting inclusion and valued roles in school, work, community, and congregational settings for children and adults with intellectual disability, autism, and multiple disabilities.
Prior to receiving his doctorate, Dr. Carter worked as a high school teacher and transition specialist. He has published widely in the areas of educational and transition services for children and youth with disabilities, including nearly 200 articles and chapters as well as 6 books. He was the recipient of the Distinguished Early Career Research Award from the Council for Exceptional Children, the Early Career Award from the American Association for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, the Patricia L. Sitlington Research in Transition Award from the Division on Career Development and Transition, the Research Award from the Division on Autism and Developmental Disabilities, and the Young Professional Award from the Association of University Centers on Disabilities. He is co-Editor of Career Development and Transition for Exceptional Individuals and Associate Editor for Exceptional Children, Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities, and Journal of Religion and Disability.
Marian works to support the rights of all people, promoting inclusion, and coproducing sustainable support systems alongside people with disabilities, their families and allies. She has worked in direct support of people as well as a group home supervisor, service director, supports broker and executive director. These experiences have enabled her to collaborate with, and learn from people with disabilities and their families, and to apply those lessons across teams, organizations and systems. Marian serves as CEO of Values Into Action, a growing network of organizations she created with her husband, Paul Saulino in 2005. The organizations offer supports and services to people exclusively in their own homes and communities and partner with people, their families and other chosen allies to design, deliver and evaluate services. A leader in participant/self-directed system, Marian leads efforts to expand the scale and scope of services led by people themselves, with the support they identify and define. Marian currently serves as the Board Chair of the Collaborative for Citizen Directed Supports-New Jersey, a cause-based membership association, that like the Alliance, is dedicated to upholding the principles of self-agency and determination. She holds an MSW from Temple University, with a specialization in social administration and planning.
Gordon L. Porter
Dr. Gordon L. Porter, C.M., O.N.B., LL.D.
Director of Inclusive Education Canada
Gordon Porter is the director of Inclusive Education Canada, an initiative of the Canadian Association for Community Living. He is also a former chairperson of the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission. He was director of Student Services for a school district in New Brunswick after serving as a teacher and principal. He finished his teaching career as a professor of Education at the University of Maine at Presque Isle in the USA. He also was an adjunct professor at Ryerson University in Toronto, McGill University in Montreal, and at the University of Prince Edward Island.
Dr. Porter is an internationally known expert on inclusive education who has consulted, lectured, and conducted training in numerous countries around the world—most recently in Spain, Dubai, Portugal, Colombia and Peru. He was invited to make an ‘expert’ presentation on school inclusion to the United Nations Human Rights Committee in Geneva. In August 2009, Dr. Porter received an Honorary Doctorate from the National Pedagogical University of Peru in recognition of his work on inclusive education in that country.
Porter has guided the development of policy on inclusive education in Canada’s Northwest Territories, Dubai and Nova Scotia as well as New Brunswick. He has written numerous articles on inclusive education and edited two books on the topic, most recently, Exploring Inclusive Educational Practices Through Professional Inquiry (SENSE/Brill). In recognition of his long career of distinguished service, he was awarded the Order of Canada in 2010 and the Order of New Brunswick in 2013.
Diane Richler has supported people who have intellectual disabilities and their families for over 45 years. She has worked across Canada and around the world to recognize human rights and foster full inclusion in all aspects of life. She was president of Inclusion International, the global federation of associations of persons with intellectual disabilities and their families and chaired the International Disability Alliance, the coalition of the world’s major organizations of people who have a disability and their families. Diane has worked in over 60 countries and has served as a consultant to UNICEF, UNESCO, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the World Bank, and others. She is a Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation International Fellow and coordinates the Foundation’s Fellowship program. She also is president of Canadian Friends of AKIM, which supports projects operated by AKIM Israel, and a member of the Order of Canada and the Order of Manuel Amador Guerrero of Panamá. Diane firmly believes that including people with intellectual disabilities and their families in all aspects of community life makes communities stronger and more inclusive of all.
Bojana Rozman, PhD has over 20 years of experience in deinstitutionalization and developing services for people who are socially excluded in Central and East Europe. She has been working with organizations on developing a person-centered approach to community-based service provision for more than 15 years. She worked for the Association for Promoting Inclusion, a Croatian advocacy organization and service developer focused on the deinstitutionalization of people with intellectual disabilities. For the past eight years, she has been a consultant for the Open Society Foundations Mental Health Initiative working with grantees on developing inclusive and personal outcome-focused services for people with intellectual and/or psychosocial disabilities. Her fields of interest are person-centered thinking and personal outcome-based service quality assessment and institutional transformation. She has more than ten years of training experience on topics related to inclusion, person-centered planning, service development and operation, and service quality improvement. Dr. Rozman completed her PhD focusing on quality of community-based housing services for people with intellectual disabilities in 2011 at the Education and Rehabilitation Sciences Faculty, University of Zagreb, Croatia. Dr. Rozman is currently serving as the Deputy Director of INclude – The Mental Health Initiative, a newly established organization supporting the development of quality community-based alternatives to institutionalization.
Sue Swenson is the President of Inclusion International.
Sue got involved with disability advocacy because her middle son, Charlie, had profound disabilities.
Sue was very active in the Minneapolis schools as well as in State and federal advocacy while working as a professional services marketing director before being named a Kennedy Fellow in the US Senate in 1996. There she worked for the chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Disability Policy on both the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the Developmental Disabilities Services and Bill of Rights Act.
Sue served the Obama administration in the US Department of Education as deputy assistant secretary for special education and rehabilitative services. These two federal programs regulate and fund States to help them support people with disabilities in American schools and workplaces. She represented the US Department of Education on the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities. Sue previously served as the commissioner for developmental disabilities in the US Department of Health and Human Services in the Clinton administration, as executive director of the national chapter of The Arc, and as executive director of the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation.
She was educated at the University of Chicago (AB, AM) and earned an MBA at the University of Minnesota.
Admiral (ret.) Ami Ayalon is the Chairman of AKIM Israel, the National Organization for People with Intellectual Disabilities and their families.
Ayalon also serves as the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Haifa Research Center for Maritime & Strategy.
Admiral (ret.) Ayalon is a former Director of Israel Security Agency (the Shin Bet) and a former commander of Israel's Navy.
He has served as a cabinet minister and a member of the Knesset.
Along with Sari Nusseibeh, he has headed the People's Voice peace initiative in 2002.