GAATES Board of Directors

Victor Pineda – President

Board member Victor Pineda

Dr. Victor Santiago Pineda is a social development scholar and disability rights advocate. He is also an international speaker and consultant on accessibility related issues. Victor earned a B.A. in Political Economy, a B.S. in Business Administration and, eventually, a Master’s Degree in City and Regional Planning (MCP) with a concentration in Regional Economic Development. Victor was recently named to the US Access Board.

Early in his career, he served as the youngest government delegate to participate in the drafting of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and thereafter launched the World Enabled Global Initiative, a disability affiliate program that combines the reach of the world’s most active disabled persons’ organizations (DPOs) and intergovernmental agencies. He also launched the Pineda Foundation, a voluntary non-profit that promotes the rights and dignities of young people with disabilities. Both were established in 2003.

Mukhtar Al Shibani – Past President – SAUDI ARABIA

Board member Mukhtar Al Shibani

Mr. Mukhtar AlShibani is Past President of GAATES, and is a member of the ISO Committee TC59/SC16 Accessibility and Usability of the Build Environment. Mr. Mukhtar Al Shibani established Almodon Consulting office for the disabled and elderly people, Jeddah, KSA in order to provide services in architectural design in the Arab Region.

He has served on the Board of Directors of the Saudi Umran Society, was a member of the Saudi National Consulting Committee for setting the national assembly for disabled, and a member of the consulting committee, Prince Salman Research Center for the Disabled.



Vacant 1st Vice President – UK

Vashkar Bhattacharjee – 2nd Vice President – BANGLADESH

Vashkar Bhattacharjee

Vashkar is primarily engaged as a Program Manager of Young Power in Social Action (YPSA), a social development organization directed towards assisting development initiatives to bring positive socio-economic change since 1985. Vashkar is the focal person for DAISY in Bangladesh, a Switzerland based International e-accessibility consortium pioneering research, development, production and distribution of disabled friendly technology solutions worldwide.

Vashkar is also the official Convener of the National ICT Thematic Group. This group has been established to advise the Peoples’ Republic of Bangladesh Government to ensure accessibility to ICT for people with disabilities.



Tim Springer – Treasurer – USA

Board member Tim Springer

A graduate of Stanford University, Tim is the CEO and one of the founders of the SSB Bart Group.

Since 1997, SSB BART Group (SSB) has supported the accessibility initiatives of more than 1,000 organizations by developing software, training and consulting solutions to address the specific business and technical needs of the organizations most affected by accessibility requirements. Clients include Fortune 500 companies throughout a broad range of industries, educational institutions and leading government agencies. The creators of Accessibility Management Platform (AMP), software which provides the infrastructure to manage accessibility across the enterprise development life cycle, SSB is known for its extensive and ongoing work across the government and industry.


Eoin O’Herlihy – Secretary – IRELAND

GAATES Secretary of the Board, and Country Rep. for Ireland

Eoin established O’Herlihy Access Consultancy in 2007 with the aim to make buildings and services accessible to all people. Eoin’s experience includes work with leading organizations and agencies, including the National Disability Authority, RKD Architects, the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government, Bus Eireann and many more, as well as some of the largest local authorities in Ireland. Eoin is currently: The chairperson for the National Standards Authority of Ireland, Access for All Consultative Committee Working Group 1 (Access to the Built Environment); An inspector for An Bord Pleanala in relation to Disability Access Certificates; A member of ISO TC 59/S16 which worked on producing the first international standard on access to the built environment.


Joseph Kwan – Board Member – Hong Kong/China

Board member Joseph Kwan

Joseph Kwan received his architectural training at the Queensland Institute of Technology (1976) Australia, and later obtained a M.Sc. in Environmental Psychology from the University of Surrey (1979) United Kingdom. He has more than 34 years of experience in international architectural practice having worked in Australia, United Kingdom, France and now 25 years in Hong Kong.

Joseph Kwan has been the Director of a Hong Kong NGO specializing in accessible built environments for 18 years. He is the Founding Director of UDA Consultants Ltd. (Universal Design and Accessibility Consultants) in Hong Kong.

Joseph Kwan was a Consultant to the United Nations – Economic and Social Commission for Asia and The Pacific (UN-ESCAP), Social Development Division, Bangkok, Thailand, on the preparation of a Technical Guideline on the “Promotion of Non-Handicapping Environments for Disabled and Elderly Persons in the Asia – Pacific Region”, and is also their current Expert/Consultant on the promotion of Barrier-Free Tourism in Asia and the Pacific.

Axel Leblois – Board Member – France

Board member Axel Leblois

Axel Leblois is the Founder and Executive Director of G3ict – the Global Initiative for Inclusive Technologies, an Advocacy Initiative of the United Nations Global Alliance for ICT and Development, launched in December 2006 in cooperation with the Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at UN DESA, organizations of persons with disabilities and the private sector (

Prior to founding G3ict, Axel Leblois spent over 20 years at the helm of information technology companies in the United States. Axel Leblois served as a Senior Fellow of UNITAR, the United Nations Institute for Training and Research, and is a founding trustee and treasurer of its North American affiliate CIFAL Atlanta. Axel Leblois holds an MBA from INSEAD and is a graduate of Sciences Po Paris.


John Archer – Board Member – CANADA

Board member - John Archer

John Archer has enjoyed a varied career in the architectural profession, housing research, building and fire code development, association management, and community service. His formal education is includes studies in Canadian history (McGill 1967), Architecture (Carleton 1976), and Housing (Institute for Canadian Studies 1980). In addition to private sector work in Architecture, he has held positions at the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, the Canadian Home Builders’ Association, the Institute for Research in Construction, the Canadian Codes Centre and the Cement Association of Canada. He has held Adjunct Professor positions at the Schools of Architecture of McGill and Carleton Universities, and Board positions at the Ottawa Childrens’ Treatment Centre (Audit Committee Chair, Capital Planning Committee Chair), the Ottawa Rotary Home (Chair and Vice Chair) and the Rotary Club of Ottawa (Chair and Vice Chair) and is a recipient of Rotary International’s Paul Harris Fellowship award for service in the community. John Archer is currently pursuing his passion for painting as a visual artist.

KC Deepak – Board Member – NEPAL

KC Deepak 2012 head shot crop web

KC Deepak of Nepal, is currently working for the Independent Living Centre-Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Nepal. He is actively involved in Nepal’s disability movement. As a freelance architect in Nepal, he is active in designing projects related to accessibility issues, writing proposals, composing reports and expanding relationships with organizations having similar interests, values and missions. He has a Bachelor Degree in Architecture Engineering from Kathmandu Engineering College, Kathmandu Engineering College – Tribhuvan University of Nepal and a Diploma in Architecture Engineering from the Institute of Engineering, Pulchowk Engineering College – Tribhuvan University of Nepal.



Jutta Treviranus – Board Member – CANADA

GAATES Board Member Jutta Treviranus

Jutta Treviranus is the Director of the Inclusive Design Research Centre (IDRC) and professor at OCAD University in Toronto, formerly the Adaptive Technology Resource Centre. The IDRC conducts proactive research and development in the inclusive design of emerging information and communication technology and practices. Jutta also heads the Inclusive Design Institute a multi-university regional centre of expertise on inclusive design. Jutta is the Co-Director of Raising the Floor International. She also established and directs an innovative graduate program in Inclusive Design. Jutta has led many international multi-partner research networks that have created broadly implemented technical innovations that support inclusion. These include the Fluid Project, Fluid Engage, CulturAll, Stretch, FLOE and many others. Jutta and her team have pioneered personalization as an approach to accessibility in the digital domain. She has played a leading role in developing accessibility legislation, standards and specifications internationally (including WAI ATAG, IMS AccessForAll, ISO 24751 , and AODA Information and Communication).

Anjlee Agarwal – Board Member – INDIA

Anjlee Agarwal

Anjlee Agarwal is Co-founder and Executive Director of Samarthyam, a national civil society and research organization, involved in disseminating Universal Accessibility awareness through a novel model which primarily focuses on enabling inclusion of persons with disabilities to access education, tourism, transportation and environment, devoid of any hindrance. Since 1998, she has been promoting Inclusive Environments through Universal Design in public spaces and transportation systems. She has presented more than 57 papers nationally & internationally, authored several manuals, guidelines and codes and published numerous articles in various publications.



Ms. Collinda Joseph

cj-photo-headshot-web-2016-11-08Ms. Collinda Joseph has been working in the area of disability advocacy and accessibility to the built environment for over 25 years. Collinda is currently sitting as a full voting member of the Canadian Standards Association B-651 Technical Committee on Accessibility of the Built Environment Standard. Collinda has served on a number of local and Nation committees, including participation on the Algonquin College Board of Governors, the Celebration of People Steering Committee, the City of Ottawa Accessibility Advisory Committee as well as several others. Collinda was awarded the Community Leader Award in Memory of Cathy Kerr in 2014 and in 2013 she was a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.




Dr. Michael Fembek

micfem-web-2016-11-08After graduating from the Vienna University of Economics, Michael Fembek joined GEWINN, an Austrian business magazine, serving between 2000 and 2007 as editor-in-chief. In 2009 he initiated “Sinnstifter”, a project by Austrian philanthropists, and started the Austrian CSR-Yearbook. In 2010 he joined the Essl Foundation as programme manager – with the Zero Project and the Essl Social Prize as its outstanding projects – and the bauMax group as its Head of Social Affairs.

In 2014, he initiated the Verband für Gemeinnütziges Stiften, the Austrian philanthropic association, where he serves as Vice President. In 2015, he became the Chair of the Thematic Group on Disabilities within the European Foundation Centre, where seven European foundations work together.

Ernie Tannis – GAATES Honourary Counsel – CANADA

Honourary Counsel

Ernest G. Tannis is a Solicitor and Mediator, and is the Hon. Legal Counsel for GAATES, since its incorporation as an NGO in 2007. He is a member of the Bar of the Law Society of Upper Canada in Ontario, a Chartered Mediator with the ADR Institute of Canada, and an Accredited Family Mediator with the Ontario Association for Family Mediation. Ernie has focused on social justice issues during his entire career.



 Her Highness Sheikha Jameela Bint Mohammed Al Qassimi – Honourary GAATES Chairperson

Her Highness Sheikha Jameela bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Vice President of Supreme Council for Family Affairs in Sharjah and Director General of Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services (SCHS) was made an honourary member and Chairperson of GAATES in recognition and appreciation of her support during GAATES’ founding period.