Virginia Atkinson, Senior Access and Inclusion Specialist
Virginia Atkinson has over a decade of experience working on disability rights, advocacy and governance issues. She is the Senior Access and Inclusion Specialist at the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), where she is responsible for providing strategic leadership to IFES’ disability rights portfolio and technical assistance and training to civil society organizations and election management bodies. Atkinson is lead author of the manual Equal Access: How to Include Persons with Disabilities in Elections and Political Processes. She led the development of ElectionAccess.org, the world’s first and only free global resource on the political rights of persons with disabilities.
Atkinson is actively involved in numerous regional and international disability rights groups including as an adviser to the General Election Network for Disability Access in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and serves as a member of the Advisory Board for American University’s Institute on Disability and Public Policy. She was a member of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Experts tasked with increasing access to the political process for persons with disabilities in Europe and helped draft the Committee’s recommendation to member States on inclusion. Atkinson has conducted access monitoring during elections in Latin America and Asia.
Prior to joining IFES, she worked for Survivor Corps, an organization that advocated for the rights of conflict survivors. Atkinson holds a master’s degree in international relations from the University of Reading, England.