Equal Rights Trust announces appointment of Co-Directors

Today, the Equal Rights Trust announces that Dr Dimitrina Petrova, who co-founded the organisation and has served as its Executive Director for ten years has stepped down, and that Jim Fitzgerald (former Head of Advocacy) and Joanna Whiteman (former Head of Litigation) have been appointed as Co-Directors to lead the organisation in the next stage of its development.

Dimitrina led the Trust from its inception as a registered charity in 2006 to its present profile as a unique and highly successful organisation in the human rights movement and the Equal Rights Trust is very grateful to her for her inimitable contribution.

Speaking about the new leadership, Saphieh Ashtiany, Chair of the Board said:

“I am delighted that the Equal Rights Trust will have such a strong leadership team in Jim and Joanna, who succeed Dimitrina after her distinguished service as Executive Director.  Together, Jim and Joanna bring a very extensive range of experience and skills, coupled with huge enthusiasm for advancing the impact and success of the Trust in strengthening equality around the world.” 

Jim Fitzgerald joined the Equal Rights Trust in 2009. He has a background in political advocacy and communications. In his seven years with the organisation, Jim has, among other things, developed and led the Trust’s advocacy programme, helped to develop the Trust’s country report series, and led our work in supporting equality movements around the world.

Joanna Whiteman came to the Trust in 2012 as a qualified employment lawyer with a particular focus on discrimination cases. In addition to leading the growth of the Trust’s litigation programme, she has managed the Trust’s resource development programme and drafted a number of Trust publications, including Economic and Social Rights in the Courtroom: Using Equality Strategies to Advance Socio-Economic Rights.

Both Co-Directors have developed partnerships with dozens of organisations around the world committed to equality and non-discrimination. They share a commitment to developing the Trust’s collaborations further in future.

In a joint statement about their appointment, the Co-Directors said:

“It is a huge privilege to have been asked to lead the Equal Rights Trust, an organisation to which we have both been dedicated for some years. The Trust’s mission – to advance equality worldwide – is as important now as it has ever been. Dimitrina established the Trust and developed it to play a leading role in this field. We look forward to building on this work and - together with our partners - expanding the Trust’s reach and impact.”  


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