Judith Heumann

Judith (Judy) Heumann was the Special Advisor for International Disability Rights at the US Department of State from 2010-2017. This was a new position created by the Obama Administration. She had responsibility for advancing the human rights of disabled people around the world. In this capacity she and her team worked with State Department employees in the US and around the world helping them learn about the work of Disabled Persons Organizations (DPOs) and governments, and to look for opportunities to help advance knowledge to improve the rights of disabled people.

Judy served as the first Director of the District of Columbia’s Department of Disability Services and as the first Senior Adviser on Disability and Development at the World Bank. She was the Assistant Secretary for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services at the US Department of Education under the Clinton Administration from 1993-2001.

For more than 20 years Judy worked to help establish numerous DPOs including Disabled in Action in New York City, the first Center for Independent Living in Berkeley, California, and the World Institute on Disability in Oakland, California. She has served on numerous boards of directors and has received awards for her work to advance the rights of disabled people around the world. She is a frequent lecturer at universities and conferences and recently did a TEDx talk in the US.