Abdurazak Kedir Abdu: Orlando, FL

Abdurazak Kedir Abdu is an African born in Jimma, Ethiopia. At the age of seven, he joined a prestigious boarding school for the blind. In 2007, upon graduating from law school, Abdu served as a legal expert and prosecutor at the regional tax authority. From 2009-2011, he became a legal investigator for the Ethiopian Institution of the Ombudsman, where he worked on various aspects of disability rights such as access to housing, accessible education, and employment rights.

In 2011, Abdu received a scholarship to pursue his LL.M at the University of Pretoria to study Human Rights and Democratization in Africa. This opportunity advanced his career as a disability rights advocate; he helped draft the African protocol on disability rights and the disability rights database at the university. Furthermore, Abdu interned at the African Union headquarters, where he assisted in the development of the Continental Action Plan on Disability Rights and Policies. He also helped launch a project designed for disability inclusion in the Peace and Security Programs. In December 2011, Abdu completed his master’s degree and had written a senior essay, “The Need for the Political Representation of Persons with Disabilities in Ethiopia.” In 2012, Abdu rejoined the Ethiopian Institution of the Ombudsman as a legal expert on the freedom of access to information. Then, he obtained his federal attorney license to represent clients before all levels of the federal court system. In September 2014, he joined the Ethiopian Radiation and Nuclear Regulatory Authority as Director of Legal Services. Abdu made significant contributions to the drafting of the national nuclear energy regulation.

However, due to political persecution, Abdu fled the country in May 2015 and took refuge in India. There, Abdu began a project designed to increase the employability of persons with disabilities and drafted a diversity and disability inclusion strategy for the Allianz Insurance Captive Office.

In 2017, Abdu resettled in the United States, where he volunteered with various refugee and migrant organizations. He helped the Florida Immigration Coalition develop a curriculum for the project, University Without Walls. He is also assisting the works of African Community Outreach. In 2018, Abdu decided to focus his career on disability rights in the states.

As a Coelho Center Law Fellow, Abdu looks forward to connecting with like-minded professionals. He aspires to become a law lecturer at an American university. His vision is to see the full enfranchisement of the voiceless community of individuals with disabilities in politics and particularly in the formation of public policy.