Oscar Ruiz

Management & Program Assistant
Department of Transportation, Civil Rights

Mr. Ruiz has more than ten years of experience in non-profit and international organizations, as well as the Federal government working on the topic of disabilities; diversity and inclusion in Latin America and the United States. Mr. Ruiz was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico and is the oldest of four brothers. When he was very little, Mr. Ruiz moved to San Diego, CA. After living there for four years, he moved back to Puerto Rico, where he grew up. After graduating from high school, Mr. Ruiz decided to expand his horizons and went to get his B.A. in Political Science at the University of Florida. After graduating from college in 2001, he decided to start his professional career at the Inter-American Foundation, working in grassroots development projects in Latin America. Most of the projects were in the topics of Afro-Latinos, micro-enterprise and disabilities. At the IAF he created the first disabilities outreach program at the agency. In only two years, the numbers of disabilities project proposals increased by 50%. Mr. Ruiz participated at the UN Second AdHoc Committee on the Convention for Persons with Disabilities. He also organized the first Afro-Latino panel at the Annual National Council of La Raza.
 
After several years working at the IAF, Mr. Ruiz went to pursuit to get a JD and returned back to Puerto Rico. After graduating from law school, he came back to the IAF for a short stint. At the IAF he was invited to collaborate with a Canadian think tank called FOCAL and in a disabilities oriented working group with the Inter-American Development Bank. Those experiences helped open the door to start a new endeavor at the IDB, working in the topic of diversity. At the IDB he helped establish the first Disability Accommodation Fund. Mr. Ruiz helped create awareness to include persons with disabilities into the sports and youth projects.  After his years at the IDB, he went back to the Federal government. Mr. Ruiz currently works at the Department of Transportation, Office of Civil Rights. He works with the topics of Americans with Disabilities Act and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.
 
Mr. Ruiz work includes several articles on the topic of disability for “Grassroots Development” journal and research document called "Reaching the 'cocobai': Addressing issues related to persons with disabilities in Canadian and multi-donor engagement in Haiti”.