Keynote 3

"People with disability – a global perspective"

Sara Minkara

Sara Minkara joins the U.S. Department of State as Special Advisor on International Disability Rights. The senior diplomat for disability rights, Special Advisor Minkara leads the U.S. comprehensive strategy to promote and protect the rights of persons with disabilities internationally and across our foreign policy.

As a Lebanese-American Muslim woman who acquired her disability at the age of 7, Minkara incorporates her personal experience with disability in all of her work. She has dedicated her life to promoting inclusion as a value, and to empowering others to reach their potential.

At college, Ms. Minkara founded a nonprofit service organization, Empowerment Through Integration (ETI), supporting children with disabilities through life skills training. She led and grew ETI while pursuing her undergraduate degree in math and economics at Wellesley College. Ms. Minkara continued her education at the Harvard Kennedy School, graduating with a Master’s in public policy. She went on to found a private consulting and advisory firm, Sara Minkara, LLC, that works across sectors to promote authentic leadership. Ms. Minkara developed a unique approach, her In the Dark Methodology, to introduce concepts of adaptive design, leadership, and inclusion, and to address workplace and social challenges.
Ms. Minkara has advised and addressed numerous academic, government, and policy groups on issues related to disability, inclusion, adaptive leadership and social entrepreneurship, United Nations in New York and Vienna, tours in Africa and Asia on behalf of the U.S. State Department and speaking engagements across 5 continents. She has been recognized for her many contributions through appointments and awards, including honors from the Clinton Global Initiative, MIT, Forbes 30 Under 30, Ashoka, Harvard, Halcyon, and the Vital Voices “100 Women Using Their Power to Empower” retrospective.