NEW YORK (June 15, 2022) – The Ford Foundation announced today the election of Catalina Devandas Aguilar, Permanent Representative of Costa Rica to the United Nations at Geneva, to its board of trustees.
Devandas Aguilar brings 20 years experience across human rights advocacy and law and her perspective will be powerfully important as Ford continues its sustained commitment to the disability community. She has worked extensively on disability inclusion, having served most recently as the first United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Prior to that, Devandas Aguilar worked at organizations such as the World Bank, the Disability Rights Advocacy Fund, and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. She was also instrumental in the work to implement the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Devandas Aguilar has spina bifida and uses a wheelchair.
“Catalina is a fierce champion for equality and change who has been a formidable leader in the fight for disability rights, and we are thrilled to have her join our board,” said Darren Walker, Ford Foundation President. “Her voice is a welcome addition to our talented and diverse group of trustees and her commitment to justice for underrepresented communities will be critical in our mission to tackle inequality in all its forms.”
“The board is honored to welcome Catalina Devandas Aguilar, a dedicated and trusted advocate for social justice, equality and human dignity, to our board of trustees,” said Francisco G. Cigarroa, Ford Foundation Board of Trustees Chair. “I look forward to partnering with her and our existing board members to advance Ford’s vision of social justice and continue our work to prioritize disability inclusion in all of our operations and grantmaking. Our entire organization will benefit from her experience and leadership.”
“It is a privilege to join this dedicated, passionate and impactful group of leaders,” said Catalina Devandas Aguilar. “Joining the Ford Foundation efforts to support communities and voices that have too often gone unheard, it’s a unique opportunity. I am excited to get to work with my fellow trustees as we continue to strive for a more equal world.”
Devandas Aguilar began her career as an attorney. She was in the master’s program for fundamental rights at the University of Carlos III in Madrid and the master’s program for interdisciplinary disability studies at the University of Costa Rica. She earned a Bachelor of Law from the University of Costa Rica.
Ford Foundation trustees are elected to the full board and serve six-year terms. Trustees set broad policies relating to grantmaking, geographic focus, investments, governance, and professional standards, and they oversee independent audits. The foundation’s trustees come from around the world and have extensive experience in the worlds of higher education, business and finance, technology, law, government, and the nonprofit sector.