Over the course of three days, October 25 – 28, 2012, more than 900 people from over 35 countries gathered in Washington DC to take part in Inclusion International and the Arc of the United States National Convention and Global Forum, Achieving Inclusion Across the Globe.
The forum launched on Thursday October 25 with a fantastic self-advocacy pre-conference day. More than 160 self-advocates from all regions of the world came together to share their experiences in building and promoting self-advocacy. Inclusion International’s Self Advocacy Committee members delivered an outstanding presentation on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and helped facilitate the day.
The conference formally opened on Thursday evening with an exciting plenary session that included the launch of Inclusion International’s Global Report on Living and Being included in the Community
Conference sessions brought families, self-advocates, professionals and allies together to explore a variety of exciting topics including: employment, housing, self-advocacy, supporting individuals and families to lead inclusive lives, lifelong learning – early childhood education through to inclusive post-secondary, decision making, and many more.
The World Health Organization hosted a consultation with self-advocates on WHO’s upcoming statement on involuntary sterilization. The session participants helped ensure that WHO’s global position is informed directly by people with intellectual disabilities.
Plenary sessions included powerful presentations from: Rosangela Berman-Bieler, UNICEF’s Senior Advisor on Disability, who commented that II’s Global Report will be a valuable contribution in building inclusive communities around the world; and, Eve Hill, Senior Counselor to the US Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights.
The closing plenary on Saturday October 27th began with an incredible performance by US inclusive arts group, Artstream and included exceptional presentations from: US self-advocate, Ricardo Thornton, International Past-President Diane Richler and former First Lady of Panama, and international advocate for people with intellectual disabilities, Vivian Torrijos.
Inclusion International is grateful to the Arc of the United States for their partnership and support in making the 2012 National Convention and Global Forum a huge success. Pictures and videos from the event can be found on the Arc website,www.thearc.org.
Inclusion International is looking forward to our next global gathering in 2014 for our World Congress in Nairobi, Kenya. Hope to see you there!