Catalina Devandas serves on the Ford Foundation Board of Trustees. She is the executive director of the Disability Rights Fund.
Devandas has a long, distinguished history advocating for disability rights and inclusive development around the world. Born with spina bifida, she has drawn from her personal experience to tackle the injustices facing the disability community for more than 20 years. She served as the first United Nations special rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities from 2014-2020. Prior to that, she worked as a program officer for strategic partnerships at the Disability Rights Advocacy Fund after serving as the fund’s program officer for Latin America, the Middle East, and North Africa. She also worked as an associate officer for social affairs at the Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at the UN’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs in New York. Earlier, she was part of the equality program at the International Centre for the Legal Protection of Human Rights in London and a disability and inclusive development consultant on Latin America and the Caribbean for the World Bank.
Devandas began her career as an attorney in 1993, and holds a bachelor of law from the University of Costa Rica. She was also in the master’s program for fundamental rights at the University Carlos III in Madrid and the master’s program for interdisciplinary disability studies at the University of Costa Rica.