Virginia Atkinson, Senior Global Advisor, Inclusion
Virginia Atkinson has more than a decade of international advocacy and capacity building experience focused on empowerment of marginalized groups. She is the senior global inclusion advisor 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 government stakeholders on inclusive democracy and governance. She spearheads IFES’ intersectional approach to program design, including initiatives to advance the human rights of women and youth who identify with multiple social identities.
Atkinson is lead author of the manual Equal Access: How to Include Persons with Disabilities in Elections and Political Processes and led the development of ElectionAccess.org, a global resource on the political rights of persons with disabilities. Her writing has been published in academic and practitioner journals, including the Nordic Journal of Human Rights, Journal of African Elections and Elections in Europe. Atkinson is actively involved in numerous regional and international human 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 and the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Expert Group on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
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.