Kathleen Martinez "has been executive director of the World Institute on Disability, based in Oakland, CA, since September 2005. Blind since birth, Martinez is an internationally recognized disability rights leader specializing in employment, asset building, independent living, international development, diversity, and gender issues. Currently, Kathy oversees Proyecto Visión, WID’s National Technical Assistance Center to increase employment opportunities for Latinos with disabilities in the U.S., funded by the Rehabilitation Services Administration and Access to Assets, an asset-building project to help reduce poverty among people with disabilities. At WID, she also headed up the team that produced the acclaimed webzine DisabilityWorld (www.disabilityworld.org) in English and Spanish. In spring 2005, Martinez carried out leadership development activities with disabled women in Ethiopia for the International Labour Organization. In 2000 she co-organized a training for young disabled women from developing countries supported by the United Nations, and in 1997 she led the International Leadership Forum for Women with Disabilities in Washington, D.C. Martinez also has participated in international training and development projects in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Americas. She co-authored articles including “Change from Within” (Development Outreach, World Bank), “The Road to Independent Living in the USA: an historical perspective and contemporary challenges” (DisabilityWorld webzine) and “Latinos with Disabilities in the United States: Understanding and Addressing Barriers to Work” (Ability magazine). In 2004–2005 Martinez testified at the U.S. Congress and addressed the United Nations Committee to draft a convention on human rights of disabled persons, national business leadership groups, chief diversity officers at Fortune 500 companies, NOW’s conference on women with disabilities, disabled students, asset development specialists and international conferences of independent living and disability rights leaders. In 2002 she was appointed by President George W. Bush as one of fifteen members of the National Council on Disability, an independent federal agency responsible for advising the President and Congress on disability policy. In 2005 she was appointed as one of eight public members on the State Department’s Committee on Disability and Foreign Policy. Earlier this year Martinez became a charter member of the AT&T Advisory Panel on Access and Aging, the group that advises the company about providing accessible communications. A resident of the San Francisco Bay Area, Martinez is a percussionist specializing in a wide variety of musical styles." 
- Director, USIP (September 2007 – September 2011)
Resources and articles
Related Sourcewatch articles
- Kathleen Martinez, USIP, accessed November 9, 2008.