The brain behind it all

Erich Kofmel is the Founder and President of Autistic Minority International. Like many, he was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome only as an adult, at age 38. A lifetime of struggle had finally found an explanation.

A national of Switzerland by birth, Erich Kofmel holds Masters degrees in Public and Development Management, with specialization in Governance and Public Policy (University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg), and Roman Catholic Theology (St Augustine College of South Africa) as well as a Postgraduate Certificate in Comparative and Cross-Cultural Research Methods (University of Sussex).

Following doctoral studies in Social and Political Thought at the University of Sussex and Sciences Po/The Institute of Political Studies in Paris, he has been invited to present his research at institutions as diverse as the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the University of Tehran, the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow, the London School of Economics, the European University Institute in Florence, the European Science Foundation, the European Consortium for Political Research, the American Political Science Association, and the World International Studies Committee, where he was an invited speaker in the opening plenary on "Global Values" at the triennial Global International Studies Conference in 2008.

The editor of a volume on "Anti-Democratic Thought" (Imprint Academic, 2008), he accepted invitations to serve as referee for the journals "Political Studies", "Philosophy and Rhetoric", "International Political Science Review", and "European Journal of Development Research".

Since 2012, Erich Kofmel has been accredited as a civil society observer and participant to more than thirty United Nations system conferences in Geneva, including the Forum on Minority Issues and the Social Forum of the Human Rights Council, the Human Rights Committee, the Committee on the Rights of the Child, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner for Refugees, expert seminars of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Programme Coordinating Board of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS at the World Health Organization, and the Commission on Science and Technology for Development of the Economic and Social Council.

Despite a biography as non-linear and beset by adversity as that of almost all autistics, Erich Kofmel brings to the task many years of professional experience in administration and finance, general and project management in the private, public and non-governmental sectors in Europe and Africa. Most recently, he was Managing Director of a research centre on the individual and society he co-founded in the UK in 2006.

Erich Kofmel is not only autistic, but also morbidly obese and gay. He has an IQ of 145. Politics has been a special interest of his for twenty-five years. He volunteered and was politically active in five countries and previously held office and leadership positions at the local, regional, national, European, and global level.