She is the president of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and a National Human Rights Award recipient. She has a law degree and a master’s degree in political science. She is a law professor (undergraduate and graduate) and a researcher. She is also the director of different legal and interdisciplinary projects, author of various publications, and a speaker at national and international conferences.
Her participations at the United Nations have been numerous: she is an expert before the Ad-hoc Committee that drafted the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), for which she is also a rapporteur for individual complaints, within the framework of its optional protocol. She is also a member of a variety of workgroups. She has been invited by UNICEF, UNESCO, UNDP, and WHO to various events, giving a speech in 2013 before the UN General Assembly at the High Level Meeting on Disability and Development.
Among the awards received by María Soledad Cisternas are the Latin American Star of Hope, Colombia (1999), the Prize for Equality and Non-Discrimination, Mexico (2008), the distinction of the Chamber of Deputies of Chile and the Senate of Chile (2008 – 2009, respectively), the Elena Caffarena Award on International Women’s Day (2009), the 100 Women Leaders Award 2012 – 2014 from El Mercurio, the Chamber of Deputies Medal (2013) and the National Award of Human Rights 2014, granted by the INDH.
Since 2014 she is part of the INDH Advisory Council.