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President Biden announces Sara Minkara as U.S. Special Advisor on International Disability Rights

Joe Biden
Photo: Dreamstime

President Joe Biden announced the appointment of Sara Minkara to be the U.S. Special Advisor on International Disability Rights – a role critical to ensuring that U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of persons with disabilities around the world.

The COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and political unrest disproportionately impact persons with disabilities, making the appointment of Sara Minkara more necessary than ever. Discrimination against persons with disabilities hinders economic development, limits democracy, and erodes societies. With Sara’s leadership, the United States can play an important role in meeting these challenges and mitigating their harmful impacts on persons with disabilities globally.

As the senior-level disability human rights position at the State Department, the Special Advisor leads the U.S. comprehensive strategy to promote and protect the rights of persons with disabilities internationally and across the Department.

This announcement comes today, during National Disability Employment Awareness Month, as we celebrate the progress made toward economic empowerment of persons with disabilities and refocus our efforts on the work yet to come.

Sara Minkara is an advocate, expert, and facilitator in the fields of disability, inclusion, authentic leadership, and social entrepreneurship. She is the founder and a Board Member of Empowerment Through Integration (ETI), a nonprofit organization she established while still an undergraduate student. ETI’s mission is to disrupt the narrative surrounding disability through both empowering youth with disabilities individually and accelerating authentic inclusion globally. More than a decade later, ETI and the programs Sara designed are still active in the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) region, providing social and life skills development for refugees and other children with disabilities. As an internationally recognized champion for disability inclusion, leadership, individual empowerment and social enterprise, Sara promotes adaptive approaches to social and workplace challenges.

Sara is a graduate of Wellesley College and the Harvard Kennedy School. She advises numerous academic, government, and policy groups on issues related to disability, gender, interpersonal dynamics, inclusion, and entrepreneurship, including the United Nations and the Harvard Kennedy School’s Executive Education program. She has been recognized for her many contributions through appointments and awards, including Forbes 30 Under 30, the Clinton Global Initiative, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology IDEAS Global Challenge, and the Vital Voices “100 Women Using Their Power to Empower” program.

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