Members of the Board of Trustees of the VFTC
The BoT is currently composed as follows:
Ms. Azita BERAR AWAD (Iran) – Chairperson
Ms. Azita BERAR AWAD (Iran), is an internationally renowned development economist/ human rights advocate and currently Policy Director of the Global Labour Organization (GLO). Ms. Berar Awad has extensive experience in international development cooperation and in the UN system. She has held several senior leadership positions at International Labour Organization (ILO) as Deputy Regional Director and Director of Multi-disciplinary Technical Team for Arab States (1999-2002), Director of National Policy Group in the Policy Integration Department (2002-2006) and Director of the Employment Policy Department (2006-2017). She has advised numerous governments and other stakeholders, across regions and in a variety of contexts of development, on the formulation and implementation of inclusive and rights-based policies for promoting full and decent employment. She led the ILO’s response to the youth employment crisis and founded the Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth in 2016, an inclusive multi-stakeholder partnership established under the Sustainable Development Goals Agenda 2030. She led the ILO teams that facilitated international tripartite negotiations on new international standards, namely Recommendation 204 on Transition from the Informal to the Formal Economy (adopted in 2015) and Recommendation 205 on Employment and Decent work for Peace and Resilience (adopted in 2017). She is also a Senior Fellow at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies building a programme on Globalization and Social Policy and teaches in various universities and executive education programmes on employment, international labour law and governance. Ms. Berar Awad holds post graduate degrees in Development Economics and Political Science. Ms. Berar was appointed as VFTC Board Member by the Secretary-General in March 2020.
Ms. Maggie NICHOLSON (United Kingdom)
Ms. Maggie NICHOLSON’s (United Kingdom) entire working life has been in international human rights. A lawyer by training, she began in 1975 in Amnesty International’s International Secretariat, London. She moved to New York in 1981 to assist in the consolidation of the organisation’s representation at UN HQ. From 1988 to 1992, she served as Director of Operations of the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights (now Human Rights First) before heading to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, where she worked for 14 years, chiefly on human rights cooperation programmes, and eventually headed the Organisation’s Division of Field and Information Offices. Ms Nicholson joined UN OHCHR in 2006, as Chief of the Europe and Central Asia Section in the Field Operations and Technical Cooperation Division. After four years in post, she was transferred to UN HQ as Deputy Director of the New York Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, from where she retired in March 2012. Since then, Ms Nicholson has drafted human rights-related reports for the United Nations and the Council of Europe, undertaken several election observation missions, including to Ukraine and North Macedonia, and worked with the Government of Georgia on the country’s National Plan for the Protection of Human Rights. She currently serves as Independent Person for Ribble Valley Borough Council (NW England) on issues relating to the Code of Conduct for councillors. Ms Nicholson, who is from the UK, studied law at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Mr. Dainius PŪRAS (Lithunia)
Mr. Dainius PŪRAS (Lithunia) is professor of child psychiatry and public mental health at Vilnius University, Lithuania. Since 2018 he is director of the Human rights monitoring institute – NGO based in Lithuania. Among positions he was holding, he was President of Lithuanian Psychiatric Association, Dean of Medical Faculty of Vilnius University, President of Baltic Association for Rehabilitation. During the years 2007-2011 Dainius Pūras was a member of the UN Committee on the rights of the child. During the years 2014 – 2020 he was serving as a UN Special Rapporteur on the right to physical and mental health. Prof. Pūras has been actively involved in national and international activities in the field of developing and implementing evidence-based and human rights based health-related policies and services, with special focus on children, persons with disabilities, persons with mental health conditions and other groups in vulnerable situations, as well as in issues related to promotion of mental health and prevention of all forms of violence. His main interest is management of change in the field of health-related services regionally and globally, with main focus on operationalization of human rights based approach through effective policies and services.
Mr. Santiago CORCUERA-CABEZUT (Mexico)
Mr. Santiago CORCUERA-CABEZUT (Mexico), is a lawyer specialist on human rights. He is a partner of international law firm Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle, based in the Mexico City office of that firm. A member of the National Civil Council for the search of disappeared persons of Mexico, he is a renowned human rights advocate with several membership positions in international human rights mechanisms, notably Chair of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances , Chair of the Coordination Committee of the Special Procedures of the UN Human Rights Council and recently Chair of the Committee on Enforced Disappearances. He also has litigation expertise within the Inter American Court of Human Rights. Master in Law from Cambridge, he has occupied several positions as law and human rights professor in various universities in Mexico, including Dean of the Law School of Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico City and founder and head of the Master on Human Rights of such University. He has developed sound expertise on the rights of migrants and refugees. Mr. Corcuera-Cabezut has a solid long experience in advising and supporting organisations of family members of disappeared persons as well as governments through technical cooperation on the fight against enforced disappearances. He has advised legislatures in the drafting, promotion and issuance of legislation and constitutional amendments in several areas of human rights in Mexico. His mother tongue is Spanish and he has a proficient level in English. M. Santiago Corcuera-Cabezut was appointed as VFTC Board Member by the Secretary-General in August 2019.
Ms. Nozipho JANUARY-BARDILL (South Africa)
Ms. Nozipho JANUARY-BARDILL is a human rights expert and activist in racial justice, gender equality and sustainable development. She has vast experience in the fields of corporate communications, stakeholder management, high level government relations and business and human rights. Her solid technical cooperation experience gained from her experience as an activist senior diplomat, as an advocate for renewable energy and on the development of policies related to climate change is well known. She served as a Member of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racism, Racial Discrimination, xenophobia and related Intolerance for twelve years. Her expertise supporting expansion of understanding of the key role of civil society meaningful participation in advocating for change and transformation has been acknowledged through numerous Governmental and non Governmental positions. Her mother tongue is English. Ms. Nozipho January-Bardill was appointed as VFTC Board Member by the Secretary-General in January 2021.