Keynote

Dr Robbie Francis Watene is a disability advocate, scholar, author and leader from Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland.

Born with a physical disability, Robbie has dedicated her personal, professional and academic life to advocating for the rights of marginalised populations. Robbie has been an expert advisor to the New Zealand Government on various strategies and policies, and is a senior researcher at the Donald Beasley Institute, where she is Project Lead for the Disabled Person-Led Monitoring of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Aotearoa New Zealand. In 2018, Robbie completed her doctorate at the University of Otago National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, where her research investigated inclusive and accessible peace building and the experiences of disabled Colombian and Venezuelan refugees and asylum seekers in Ecuador. She is also the co-founder and Director of The Lucy Foundation, an international social enterprise advocating for disability inclusion, access and diversity within the global coffee industry.