The people

Meet the people behind EBU, including information about the elected leadership of EBU, board positions and EBU office staff.

Board

Composition

The EBU is led by a board consisting of 5 officers (President, first and second vice presidents, treasurer and secretary general) and up to 8 ordinary members. They are elected by the EBU membership at the General Assembly for the period of four years. Board members are accountable to the General Assembly. All board members are blind or partially sighted.

Detailed information about its composition, voting procedure, powers and functions can be found in the EBU Constitution.

Powers

The Board carries into effect the general policies and working objectives of EBU and prepares a strategic plan to that effect. It appoints project groups and committees and any other bodies as it deems necessary to assist in meeting the targets set in its strategic plan.

Officers

  • President: RIP - Prof. Rodolfo Cattani, Italy This morning, 08 September 2022, our office received the news about the sudden passing of our President Prof. Rodolfo Cattani. We feel deep grief and sadness about this loss.
  • First Vice-president: Wolfgang Angermann, Germany
    Wolfgang Angermann
    Wolfgang Angermann was elected First Vice-president in 2022, to replace Alexander Neumyvakin, who passed away unexpectedly.

  • Second Vice President: Bárbara Martín Muñoz, Spain
    Bárbara Martín Muñoz
    Bárbara was born in Granada, Spain, in 1974, she is partially sighted.

    She gained a law degree in 1997 at Granada University, and then went on to obtain a Politics and Administration Degree from the Spanish Open University in 2018.
    She worked in the legal Department of ONCISA Real Estate SL. from 2000 to 2007, and in 2007 became the Manager at the ONCE Technical Office for European Affairs, post which she held until January 2019. From February 2019 to the present time she has been employed as Head of the Resource Generation and External Partnerships Unit, at ONCE.
    She has been 2nd Vice-President of the European Blind Union from 2015 to the present day.

  • Treasurer: Philippe Chazal, France
    Philippe Chazal
    Age 66, blind

    After a master 2 in law, I worked during 33 years for one of the main french associations for blind and partially sighted as Director of the Vocational Training Center and as jurist in charge to follow the advancement in connection with our Government and Parliament of all texts for disabled people.

    I was chair of the Rehabilitation, Vocational Training and Employment Commission of EBU for12 years, and of the rights Commission during two mandatures. I was EBU Treasurer during the last work period 2015-2019.

    For 15 years, I was Secretary General then President of the French Confederation for the Welfare of Blind and Partially Sighted People.

  • Secretary General: Maria Thorstensson, Sweden
    Secretary General: Maria Thorstensson, Sweden
    Maria was elected Secretary General at an Extraordinary Board Meeting in November 2021, to replace Maria Kyriacou, who passed away unexpectedly.

Members

  • Mario Barbuto, Italy
    Mario Barbuto
  • Emin Demirci, Turkey
  • Tytti Matsinen, Finland
  • Vaclav Polasek, Czech Republic
    Vaclav Polasek
    Václav POLÁŠEK, M.A. was born on August 15, 1958. His primary education was in Opava School for partially-sighted; he acquired his A-Level Certificate from Prague grammar school for the visually-impaired. He graduated in culture theory & management from Prague Caroline University.
    Since his youth, Vaclav has been legally blind, which led him to both professional and voluntary involvement in working for the benefit of the disabled.

    Throughout his career he has worked for various organisations of the disabled in his country including head of the Department for Foreign Affairs & Culture, Czech Blind United from 1996-2008, head of Foreign Relations Department, Czech Disability Council from 2001-2, Vice President of Czech Blind United from2008-9 and President until the present day. He has also been a member of various EBU Commissions, has been an EBU board member since 1998, and was EBU General Secretary from 2003-2007.

  • Rodrigo Nuno Godinho Santos, Portugal

    Rodrigo Santos

    President of the National Board of ACAPO, Vice-President of the National Monitoring Mechanism of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, member of the Board of the European Blind Union and of the Executive Committee of the World Blind Union.

    Graduated in Law, with specialization in Administrative Law and Public Administration, and postgraduate in Rights of Persons with Disabilities. He authored numerous publications and articles on the rights of persons with disabilities, and was as well a keynote speaker and speaker at academic events on inclusion and disability.

    He has been a trainer on self-representation and the rights of persons with disabilities for Portuguese and international entities.

    Professionally, he belongs to the career of senior technician with legal advisory functions, currently being Head of the Scholarship Support Division of the Foundation for Science and Technology, I. P. since 2017.

  • Sinan Tafaj, Albania
    Sinan Tafaj
    Sinan Tafaj was born on 17.02.1956, he lost his sight in 1963 in a bomb accident and was re-educated as a blind man. He holds a University Degree from the University of Tirana, Albania (1978-1982), in Law and has a vast experience in judicial proceedings, civil and criminal procedures, communication strategies and has been part of international human rights networks. He holds a Doctor of Science Degree in international rights and is certified as a human rights expert. He established the Albanian Blind Association in 1991 and led it until 2018. He played and still plays a prominent role in protecting and furthering the human rights and freedoms of blind and partially sighted people in Albania, the Balkan region and in Europe at large.
    Mr. Tafaj has been a member of the EBU's Executive Board since 2007 and is an international expert on the rights enshrined in UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and participated in a number of debates as part of several activities in the Balkans and Europe at large. His solid expertise in the area of human rights has been beneficial not only to audiences, but also to many civil society actors.
    He is also able to establish good relations in a multicultural and national setting, with all team members, regardless of seniority. Dr. Av. Tafaj is currently president of the Albanian Disability Union and Chief Expert of the Institute of Expertise on PWD.
    He currently heads his own private law studio, which is one of the most prominent studios in the capital of Albania, Tirana.

EBU representatives to WBU Executive Committee

  • Wolfgang Angermann, Germany
  • Thorkild Olesen, Denmark
  • Rodrigo Santos, Portugal

EBU Office

The EBU Office is based in Paris, France. It supports the Board, commissions and steering groups in its work and is a central contact point for information to the EBU membership, partners, external parties and the general public.

The Executive Director of the EBU Central office is Lars Bosselmann - ebudirector at euroblind.org.

The other members of staff are : 

  • Romain Ferretti - Project Manager: ebuprojects at euroblind.org
    Romain supervises the implementation of most of EBU activities (except campaigns). He takes care of grant applications, management and reporting. He also deals with sponsoring.
  • Gary May - Information Officer: ebuinfocom at euroblind.org
    Gary takes care of internal communication at EBU, including web site updates, newsletters, and diffusion of documents.
  • Valérie Vivancos - Office Assistant: ebu at euroblind.org
    Valérie deals with general queries, office matters and EBU logistics. She also provides coordination between member associations, and is actively involved in specific EBU projects.
  • Antoine Fobe - Head of Campaigning: ebucampaigning at euroblind.org
    Antoine coordinates and gives impulse to EBU campaigning at EU and national level, acts as advocacy officer at EU level and liaises with EU institutions and other NGOs for that purpose. He also manages the EBU Twitter account.
  • Mariem SenePARVIS Project Coordinator: mariem.sene at euroblind.org
    Mariem coordinates the implementation of PARVIS - Promoting Awareness on the Rights of Visually Disabled People in an Inclusive Society.
  • Nacho Lopez -  External Communication Officer: nacho.lopez at euroblind.org
    Nacho coordinates EBU's communication aimed at decision makers, journalists and other organisations and will manage our social media accounts.