Alison Hillman is a senior program officer with the Open Society Human Rights Initiative, where she manages a global grantmaking and advocacy program focused on implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Previously, Hillman directed the Americas Programs at Disability Rights International (DRI), where she advocated for the rights of persons with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities, monitoring conditions and treatment in psychiatric institutions, orphanages, social care homes, and forensic penal units. In collaboration with attorneys from the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), she presented the first petition to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) challenging on-going abuses in a psychiatric institution. She is the primary author of two DRI reports, Ruined Lives: Segregation in Argentina’s Psychiatric Asylums (2007) and Human Rights & Mental Health in Peru (2004).
Hillman is the recipient of awards from international disability film festivals in Canada (2005) and Italy (2007) for her documentary depicting abuses in a psychiatric institution. In 2003, she received the Paul G. Hearne/AAPD Leadership Award as an emerging leader in the disability field. In 2011, U.S. President Barack Obama appointed Hillman to the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities, where she served until 2014.
Hillman holds a JD from the Washington College of Law, American University, in Washington, D.C. She received her BA in government with a concentration in U.S.–Latin American Relations from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.