Changes to MDAC governance and management

These are exciting times at MDAC, as several planned developments are happening. Phillippa Kaufmann QC takes over from Dr Felicity Callard as Chair of the Board. Peter Chivers moves into a Vice Chair role. At staff level, Executive Director Oliver Lewis transitions to London to spearhead outreach and fundraising, and Advocacy and Communications Director Steven Allen steps into a newly-created Campaigns Director role, leading the office in Budapest.

Dr. Phillippa Kaufmann and Dr. Oliver Lewis at MDAC office. Photo @ MDAC

Dr Felicity Callard has stepped down after four years as Chair of MDAC’s Board and remains a Trustee. Felicity is a social scientist who has been open about her own experiences of mental health problems, and is now Director of “Hubbub” (the first interdisciplinary research residency of The Hub at Wellcome Collection in London). She said:

“I am proud to have led MDAC since 2011. As a Board, we have focused on extending networks of support for MDAC’s work across the disability, mental health, legal and psychiatric sectors and positioning MDAC as an international organisation. These are both challenging and exciting times for all of us keen to improve the lives of some of those most marginalised and abused by systems of law and healthcare. MDAC has, since its inception, played a key role in bringing those injustices to international visibility. I look forward to Phillippa’s leadership in ensuring that MDAC continues to redress these appalling violations of human rights in so many parts of the world.”

Phillippa Kaufmann QC takes over as MDAC Chair. Phillippa practises as a barrister from Matrix Chambers in London and last year she was awarded “Human Rights and Public Law Silk of the Year” at the Chambers Bar Awards. Phillippa has supported MDAC since 2002 when she delivered training for lawyers and NGOs with MDAC staff in Latvia. Since then she has specialised in prisoners’ rights, administrative law, inquests, and her international law practice includes liability of the UK government for actions in Kenya and Iraq. She said:

“I thank Felicity for her inspirational leadership over the last four years during which time MDAC has taken many ground-breaking human rights cases against governments which continue to violate the most basic rights of people with mental disabilities. I’m extremely proud to lead MDAC into its next phase and in particular to reach out to the UK and in its legal, corporate, human rights and philanthropic sectors to engage them in our mission and most urgent cause.”

Peter Chivers steps into a newly-created role of Vice Chair. Peter brings over 40 years’ experience in the corporate sector, and was Chief Knowledge Officer of KPMG before establishing his own strategic consultancy practice advising corporate and public sector organisations. In his role as Vice Chair, Peter will focus on governance development for our growing international organisation and broadening MDAC’s corporate engagement. Mike Bienenfeld, a partner at Linklaters LLP, joins as a Trustee. An American attorney in London, Mike brings commercial and legal experience to the Board, and his role at MDAC is to chair a newly-created Development Committee.

Oliver Lewis, who has been MDAC Executive Director since 2006, is relocating to London to cultivate broader UK and international leadership to support MDAC’s campaigns on inclusive education “Schools for All”; the right to legal capacity “I’m a Person”; and inclusion in the community “My Home, My Choice”. To support Oliver’s shift to London and focus on development and external stakeholder and partnership development, Steven Allen moves into a newly-created role of Campaigns Director. He will have enhanced management responsibilities for the MDAC Hungary Office which will continue to provide its stellar organisational support.

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