Eric Rosenthal is Founder and Executive Director of Disability Rights International (DRI). In 1993, Rosenthal received an Echoing Green Fellowship to establish DRI as one of the first international human rights organizations for people with disabilities. Since then, Rosenthal has investigated abuses in 36 countries – bringing world attention to the concerns of children and adults segregated from society in orphanages, psychiatric facilities, and other institutions. Rosenthal has trained activists in 40 countries and helped establish new advocacy organizations and groups run by people with disabilities in Hungary, Kosovo, Mexico, Serbia, Turkey, and Ukraine.
In 2008, Rosenthal received the Henry A. Betts Award from the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) for “pioneering the field of international human rights advocacy for people with disabilities and bringing unprecedented international awareness to their concerns.” The adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is, according to AAPD, “in no small part due to Rosenthal’s role promoting disability rights as a human right.” In 2007 Rosenthal accepted the Thomas J. Dodd Prize in International Justice and Human Rights on behalf of Disability Rights International. He became an Ashoka Fellow in 2008 and received the Human Rights Award of the American Psychiatric Association in 2009. In 2013, Eric Rosenthal received the Charles Bronfman Prize for the global humanitarian impact of his work.
Rosenthal has served as a consultant to the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, and the US National Council on Disability (NCD). Rosenthal is a board member and former Vice-President of the US International Council on Disability (USICD).
Rosenthal received a law degree cum laude from Georgetown (1992) and a BA from the University of Chicago (1985). Rosenthal serves as an advisor in the Public Interest Law Scholar’s program of the Georgetown University Law Center and has been an adjunct professor of law in public interest advocacy.