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Committee and staff

The Committee


Asunción Alvarez (Mexico)


Asunción Álvarez works at the Faculty of Medicine of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). She writes and lectures about the right to die with dignity. She has been committed to improve the way in which people die and to advance cultural and legal changes so that people can choose the best end of life including receiving assistance in dying when they decide. After being vice-president since 2019, she is President of the WFRtDS since 2021.


Jean-Jacques Bise (CH)


Jean-Jacques Bise studied law. Before he retired, he was teacher at a business school. For many years, he has been advocating for the respect of the freedom of choice and autonomy of the individual: people should, in any country, be free to choose a safe and peaceful death. Since 2018, he is the co-chairman of EXIT A.D.M.D. Suisse Romande (the French part of Switzerland). In 2012 he joined the WFRtDS Committee as Treasurer.

anne bunning

Anne Bunning (Australia)


Anne Bunning is an advocate with Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD) South Australia and a member of the national VAD network in Australia. Anne is an agricultural economist and has worked extensively in Australia, Asia and the Pacific, in the area of poverty alleviation, health, rural development and gender equality, with leadership roles in the public, private and community sectors. Anne uses her policy and political advisory experience as Vice President of VADSA and as strategist for the recent successful campaign to achieve a VAD law in SA. Anne joined the WFRtDS Committee in 2021.

Yoshihiro Kitamura (Japan)

General member

Yoshihiro Kitamura is Committee member of the WFRtDS since November 2022.

Sten Niklasson

Sten Niklasson (Sweden)

General member

Sten Niklasson, born 1939, is a Swedish economist and lawyer. During his career he chaired a UN Commission of 48 Member States. He was also representative of Sweden in the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO). In the period 1985-1991 he served as General Director of the Swedish Patent Office and as vice chairman of the European Patent Organisation (EPO). He was elected member of the board of the Swedish RTVD in 2020 and is a firm believer in its objectives as well as the international work being pursued by the WFRtDS.



Rob Jonquiere (NL)

Executive Director

As former general practitioner and CEO of the Dutch Right to Die Society the NVVE, Rob is familiar with the topic of assisted dying since a long time. He was CEO of the NVVE when the Dutch Law on Euthanasia came into force. Rob is Executive Director of the WFRtDS since January 2009. He is responsible for the availability of information about developments in the world and directs the staff of the WFRtDS. 


Laura De Vito (NL)

Webmaster & Legal

As legal advisor of the Dutch Right to Die Society NVVE, Laura is expert in the field of the prohibition of assisted suicide, the legal basis of advance directives and the history of the Dutch Law on Euthanasia. Since 2019, she is webmaster of the WFRtDS. With her legal background it is her job to follow legal developments around the world in the field of assisted dying and the self chosen death. 

Photo Jane Barrett

Jane Barrett (NL)

Media & Activities

Jane Barrett studied Economics and International Relations. Currently she teaches IB Economics and Business Management. She joined WFRtDS in January 2021 to help with media and advocacy activities.

Previous Committees

2020 – 2022


President: Asunción Alvarez (Mexico)
Secretary: Anne Bunning (Australia)
Treasurer: Jean-Jacques Bise (Switzerland)
General member:
Sten Niklasson (Sweden)
General member: Masahiro Nomoto (Japan)


Executive Director: Rob Jonquière (the Netherlands)
Website & Newsletter: Laura De Vito (the Netherlands)
Media & Activities: Jane Barrett (the Netherlands)

2010 – 2020


Vice president: 
Immediate Past President:
Newsletter editor: 

Other Directors

Rob Jonquière, Communications Director


2008 – 2010


President: Dr Juan Mendoza-Vega (Colombia)
Vice president: Ted Goodwin (USA)
Immediate Past President: Jacqueline Herremans (Belgium)
Secretary: Hugh Wynne (Scotland)
Treasurer: Dr. Michael Irwin (UK)
Newsletter editor: Faye Girsh (USA)

Other Directors

Ans Baars (Netherlands)
Dr. Aycke Smook (Netherlands)
Cynthia St.John (Canada)
Rodney Syme (Australia)
Rob Jonquière, Communications Director

2006 – 2008

Board of Directors 

President: Jacqueline Herremans (Belgium)
Vice president: Juan Mendoza-Vega (Colombia)
Secretary: Cynthia St John (Canada)
Treasurer: Ted Goodwin (USA)
Newsletter editor: Faye Girsh (USA)

Additional members

Karen Sanders (UK)
Chris Loker (USA)
Michio Arakawa (Japan)
Jean-Luc Roméro (France)

2004 – 2006

Left to right, standing: Dr. Richard MacDonald (USA), Derek Humphry (USA), Dr. Juan Mendoza-Vega (Colombia), Libby Drake (Australia), Annelies Plaisant (USA), Dr. Michio Arakawa (Japan).

Left to right, seated: Cynthia St. John (Canada), Jacqueline Herremans (Belgium), Faye Girsh (USA), Jacob Kohnstamm (Netherlands), Dr. Michael Irwin (UK).

Board of Directors

President: Jacob Kohnstamm (Netherlands)
Vice-President: Jacqueline Herremans (Belgium) 
Past-President: Dr. Michael Irwin (UK)
Treasurer: Annelies Plaisant (USA)
Secretary: Libby Drake (UK)
Newsletter Editor: Faye Girsh (USA)

Additional Board Members

Dr. Richard MacDonald (USA)
Derek Humphry (USA)
Dr. Juan Mendoza-Vega (Colombia)
Dr. Michio Arakawa (Japan)
Cynthia St. John (Canada)

2002 – 2004

Left to right, standing: Libby Drake (Australia), Jacob Kohnstamm (Netherlands), Annelies Plaisant (USA), Dr. Michio Arakawa (Japan), Jacqueline Herremans (Belgium), Dr. Michael Irwin (UK), and Dr. Richard MacDonald (USA).
Seated: Juana Betancor (Spain), Derek Humphry (USA), Dr. Libby Wilson (UK). Absent: Dr. Juan Mendoza-Vega (Colombia

Board of Directors

President: Dr. Michael Irwin (UK)
Vice-President: Juana Betancor (Spain) President-elect: (2004-2006)
Past-President: Dr. Richard MacDonald (USA, 2000-2002)
Treasurer: Annelies Plaisant (USA)
Secretary: Libby Drake (Australia)
Newsletter Editor: Derek Humphry (USA)

Additional Board Members

Dr. Michio Arakawa (Japan)
Jacqueline Herremans (Belgium)
Jacob Kohnstamm (Netherlands)
Dr. Libby Wilson (UK)
Dr. Juan Mendoza-Vega (Colombia)

2000 – 2002

Front left to right: Dr. Michio Arakawa (Japan), Dr. Richard MacDonald (USA). Libby Drake (Australia), Mary Gallnor (Australia), Derek Humphry (USA), Jacqueline Herremans (Belgium), and Juana Betancor (Spain).
Back left to right: Stephen Jamison (USA, partially hidden) Dr. Michael Irwin (UK), Hans Schraven (Nertherlands), Olli Penttila (Finland).

Board of Directors

President: Richard MacDonald (USA)
Vice-President: Dr. Michael Irwin (UK)
Past-President: Mary Gallnor (Australia)
Treasurer: Olli Penttila (Finland)
Secretary: Libby Drake (Australia)
Newsletter: Editor Derek Humphry (USA)

Additional Board Members

Michio Arakawa
Juana Betancor
Jacqueline Herremans (Belgium)
Hans Schraven

Executive Director

Stephen Jamison (USA)

1998 – 2000

Board of Directors

President: Mary Gallnor (Australia)
Vice-President: Richard MacDonald (USA)
Treasurer: Olli Penttila (Finland)
Secretary: Libby Drake (Australia)


Additional Board Members

Jacqueline Herremans (Belgium)
Derek Humphry (USA)
Malcolm Hurwitt (UK)
Ken Minami (Japan)
Aycke O A Smook (Netherlands)
Hugh Wynne (UK)

Past presidents from 1980 to now

1980 – 1984: Sidney Rosoff (USA) 
1984 – 1986: Minoo Masani (India) 
1986 – 1988: Prof. Patrick Nowell-Smith (Canada) 
1988 – 1990: Derek Humphry (USA) 
1990 – 1992: Jean Davies (England) 
1992 – 1994: Dr. Helga Kuhse (Australia) 
1994 – 1996: Dr. Aycke O A Smook (Netherlands) 
1996 – 1998: Dr. Hugh T. Wynne (UK) 
1998 – 2000: Mary Gallnor (Australia) 
2000 – 2002: Richard MacDonald (USA)
2002 – 2004: Dr. Michael Irwin (UK)
2004 – 2006: Jacob Kohnstamm (Netherlands)
2006 – 2008: Jacqueline Herremans (Belgium)
2008 – 2010: Juan Mendoza-Vega (Colombia)
2010 – 2012: Ted Goodwin (USA)
2012 – 2012: Neil Francis (Australia)
2012 – 2014: Faye Girsh (USA)
2014 – 2016: Ron Plummer (UK) 
2016 – 2021: Sean Davison (South Africa)

2021 – present:  Asunción Alvarez (Mexico)