VIENNA, AUSTRIA: From February 21st to the 23rd of February, GAATES was actively engaged in the Zero Project Conference. The Zero Project is an initiative of the ESSL Foundation, with the mission of supporting the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) for a world without barriers. Today, the Zero Project is composed of a network of 4,000 experts that represent over 150 countries.
Since 2010, the Zero Project Conference has brought together an expert Network, which includes representatives of International organizations, multinational companies, leading NGOs, and entrepreneurs — to highlight global innovative policies and practices that actively promote the principles enshrined in the CRPD. During each Conference, an Awards ceremony recognizes different international policies or practices that have improved the lives of persons with disabilities and lead to greater accessibility to the built and digital environment.
One of the policies recognized during this year’s Awards ceremony, was the Dubai Universal Accessibility Strategy and Action Plan (DUASAP)– a project in which GAATES was directly involved in the development of the policy. Stemming from the strategic goal of being full accessible by 2020, the Government of the Emirate of Dubai chose to collaborate with GAATES to develop the DUASAP that addressed the areas of legislation, governance and enforcement, retrofitting, capacity building and awareness-raising in the Emirate.
Dr Salem A. Alshafiei, of the General Secretariat of the Executive Council of Dubai, accepted the award on behalf of the Emirate of Dubai and GAATES. We would like to thank him and the Government of Dubai for their commitment to accessibility, universal design and inclusion.
GAATES additionally organized a Forum on Urban Development, presented the International Certified Accessibility Consultant – Built Environment (ICAC-BE) Program and held our Annual General Meeting (AGM).
We would also like to welcome our newest Board member, Alireza Darvishy, who accepted his nomination formally during the AGM. We are looking forward to collaborating with Alireza and our dynamic members of the Board and Country Representative Program to further our mission and reach in 2018.
The days in Vienna went by fast but it was wonderful to connect with the GAATES family, share laughs, good food and plan our strategic objectives for our dynamic and impactful engagements this year!
Bis nächstes Jahr Zero Project
POKHARA, NEPAL: The upcoming 3-day International Conference on Accessible Adventure (ICAA 2018) to be held on March 29‐31, 2018 at the Shangri‐La Village Resort in Pokhara, Nepal. The conference will focus on international best practices in inclusive tourism for “slow‐walker” seniors and travelers with disabilities relative leading to improved tourism facilities, services, and marketing that will attract a new segment of visitors to Nepal and provide new opportunities for Nepal’s disabled for business, employment, connectivity and experiencing the country’s wonders.
The ICAA 2018 theme – “Inspiration and Perspiration” – relates to the awareness, planning, commitment and collaboration necessary to make Nepal “The Accessible Adventure Capital of Asia.” Our keynote inspirational speaker will be Corporal Hari Budha Magar, Nepal’s famous Gurkha war-hero injured by an IED in Afghanistan. Hari will lead his Conquering Dreams team to scale Mt. Everest the first week of April 2018 “to show the world that any disability, any hardship, can be overcome.” Hari will be the first double-amputee above the knees to scale Mt. Everest bringing worldwide media attention to his climb and Nepal’s accessible adventure opportunities.
Conference Day opens with a “Light the Light” cultural tourism presentation followed by VIP introductory remarks and an insightful discussion of the Nepal accessible adventure mission. As mentioned, Cpl Hari Budha Magar will provide the opening “Conquering Dreams” inspirational keynote, followed by a series of speakers and panels throughout the day:
Day Two the conference participants will inaugurate NEPAL’S FIRST ACCESSIBLE TREKKING TRAIL in the Pokhara /Sarangkot region, a project sponsored by DfID and the Nepal Tourism Bureau. Additional eco and adventure tours are scheduled with the participants engaged in rating their experience and providing solutions for product and service improvement.
Day Three, the ICAA executive committee and invited tourism experts will spend the day compiling the ICAA 2018 findings and recommendations to be presented in Kathmandu the following week. They are expecting about 50 international and 75 domestic participants at the conference.
Why ICAA 2018 Focuses on Accessible Adventure
Accessible adventure is a subset of accessible tourism focused on meeting the needs of “slow walker” seniors and the mobile disabled (this can include prosthetics, deaf, blind, cognitive, families, etc.). At this stage of development, Nepal’s resident and tourism infrastructure has very, very limited wheelchair transportation and general accessibility, so it would be irresponsible to promote to this segment until the necessary product and service improvements are made. IDI’s proposed strategic plan focuses first on assisting Pokhara to become the model accessible adventure destination for Nepal, then expanding this concept to other top Nepal tourism destinations.
The Long-Term Goal – Sustainable Tourism For All
Destinations throughout the world are making major commitments in planning, education and construction of inclusive infrastructure. The UNWTO recommends that accessibility for all to tourist facilities, products, and services should be a central part of any responsible and sustainable tourism policy. The US Forest Service example here for Washington State illustrates their commitment to accessible adventure, which includes statewide trail improvements and a detailed video information program. Through our pre-conference research, network of inclusive tourism experts, call for papers and conference presentations, ICAA 2018 will fine tune the world’s best practices for application to Nepal’s environment. ICAA 2018 will be the catalyst for funding and expertise to develop a practical, actionable and business-centric Nepal Accessible Adventure Strategic Plan.
AUSTRALIA: Australia’s third Universal Design Conference will be held from 4-5 September 2018, in Brisbane at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre and for the first time will officially have exhibition space to enable products and services to be showcased.
On the eve of the call for papers closing – closes 28 February, interested exhibitors are asked to contact Tannia Garces for information on participating.
The theme is “Home and Away: Creating Inclusion Everywhere”. In keeping with the theme we are seeking exhibitors with products relating to housing, home and neighbourhood, travel, tourism, destinations and events. As we are living in a digital world, ICT products are also encouraged, particularly if they relate to the theme. As universal design covers just about anything, all services are welcome including health and wellbeing.
The international conference is expected to attract more than 200 delegates and will be covering the principles and goals of universal design and goes beyond basic access compliance. Topics will include:
• Housing development and design
• Neighbourhood design
• Travel and transportation
• Tourism and destinations
• Inclusive events
• Community involvement in design processes
• Accessible digital communications
Take this opportunity to display your products & services to the leaders in Universal Design. Contact Tannia today on 02 8586 6193 or firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information phone 1300 789 845 or visitwww.universaldesignconference.
NEW DELHI, INDIA: In a path breaking initiative to empower Persons with Disabilities, 100 Accessible websites of various State Governments/UTs under Accessible India Campaign were launched by the Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Shri Thaawarchand Gehlot on the occasion of ‘National Conference on Improving Accessibility’ here today (January 19th, 2018). Ministers of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Shri Vijay Sampla and Shri Krishna Pal Gurjar were present. Secretary, DEPwD Shri Shakuntala D. Gamlin and the officials from Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Housing and Urban Development participated in the conference and submitted their valuable inputs on implementation of accessibility in various walks of life.
Accessible Websites are those websites into which Persons with Disabilities can perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with the Web, and that they can contribute to the Web. The Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan) initiated a “Website Accessibility Project” for State Government/Union Territories under Accessible India Campaign through ERNET India, an autonomous scientific society under the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY), to make total 917 websites accessible and providing funds for the same. Now 100 accessible websites are made accessible under the project.
The aim of the conference was to sensitize and bring awareness among different stakeholders including the officials of state government on accessibility in the context of recently enacted Rights of Persons with Disabilities, 2016. The Accessible India Campaign has three important components viz Built Environment; Transport and Information and Communication Eco-system accessibility.
In his address, Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment said that the Divyangjans are an integral part of our society and we have to play an active role for their welfare. He said that Accessible India Campaign is a nationwide flagship campaign of Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. The aim of the campaign is to make a barrier free environment for persons with disabilities all over the country for safe, dignified life of Persons with Disabilities. He said that around 5800 ADIP camps had been organised nationwide by his ministry for distribution of assistive device to Divyangjans. He opined that such Accessible websites will play an important role in proper dissemination of Governments policies and schemes for the welfare of Divyangjans.
Shri Vijay Sampla in his address said that today we have moved ahead are more step towards Accessible India campaign by launching 100 Accessible websites of various State Governments/UTs under Accessible India Campaign. He said that DEPwD is doing a commendable job in this regard.
In his address Shri Krishan Pal Gurjar said that during past three and a half years many revolutionary steps have been taken by DEPwD, Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment for the welfare of Divyangjans. He said that we need to empower the Divyangjans so that they can lead a normal life.
Addressing the gathering, Mrs. Shakuntala D Gamlin urged the Central and State Government Departments to adopt accessibility standards while providing any service be it physical, infrastructural and IT etc.
Mrs. Dolly Chakrabarty Joint Secretary, DEPwD emphasized on ensuring rural access as there is substantial difference in planning accessibility in rural areas and it is a less talked about topic in the growing era of urbanization.
ERNET India (MEITY) is executing the project which is funded by DEPwD under Accessibility India Campaign so far 917 websites across 27 States & UT have been chosen from the list of websites which have been provided by the State Social Welfare Departments through DEPwD.
Accessible Website Design Principles: – Provide appropriate alternative text, Caption video; Provide transcripts for audio; All documents (e.g., PDFs) to be accessible; Do not rely on color alone to convey meaning; and Make sure content is structured, clearly written and easy to read.
Current Status of Accessible Websites: –Total no. of websites: 917; Under Development: 244; Developed and Internally Audited: 208; and Live: 100
Web content accessibility guidelines –WCAG 2.0 :- Websites are made accessible by complying it as per Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) published by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the main international standard organisation for the World Wide Web.
The guideline establish three levels of accessibility on basis of which websites are designed, namely:
The founding principles of the guidelines state information and user interface components must be presentable to user in ways they can perceive, user interface components and navigation must be operable and information and the operation of user interface must be understandable. Moreover, content must be robust enough that it can be interpreted reliably by a wide variety of user agents, including assistive technologies.
Reposted with permission.
BANGKOK, THAILAND: Recognizing the importance of energy for sustainable development, the United Nations in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has devoted Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7) to energy – the first-ever universal goal on energy, with five targets on access, efficiency, renewables and means of implementation. SDG7 is inextricably interlinked to other SDGs and related targets, including those relating to poverty eradication, food security, clean water and sanitation, health, education, infrastructure, innovation, job creation, and the empowerment of youth and women. Access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all is fundamental to realizing the vision of the 2030 Agenda. A shift toward sustainable energy solutions is also essential to the achievement of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The ambition of the 2030 Agenda calls for equally ambitious means of implementation, including enabling environments, effective institutions, technology cooperation, capacity building, scaled-up financing and multi-stakeholder partnerships to achieve sustainable development.
In this context, the United Nations High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), serving as the central platform for follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, will undertake the first global review of SDG7 in July 2018, under the auspices of Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). To help provide a solid substantive foundation for the review of SDG7, a global preparatory meeting in support of the review of SDG7 at the 2018 High-Level Political Forum, jointly organized by United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) and United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), will be held on 21-23 February 2018 at the United Nations Conference Centre in Bangkok, Thailand. The global preparatory meeting will help facilitate exchange of lessons, insights and experiences among Member States, UN entities and other international organizations and all stakeholders, and consider challenges and opportunities for accelerating progress in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. This conference is supported by the Governments of Norway, the Republic of Korea (through DESA’s UN Office on Sustainable Development), the People’s Republic of China (through the UN Peace and Development Fund), Germany, The Netherlands, and the European Commission, among others.
The registration for the Global SDG 7 Conference is now open to participation from all stakeholders.
More information about the conference can be found at https://
Registration to the Conference (deadline: 15th January 2018) https://
Side Event and Exhibits Application (deadline: 31st December 2017) https://
Follow #SDG7Conference for updates on twitter.
We look forward to your participation in the conference and working with all of you in preparing for a successful 2018 meeting of the HLPF, under the auspices of ECOSOC.
Source: Global SDG7 Conference
MUSCAT, OMAN: In association with Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO), the Islamic Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organization (ISESCO), the Research Laboratory of Technologies of Information & Communication & Electrical Engineering (LaTICE) at the University of Tunis, and the Tunisian Association E-access, Sultan Qaboos University will host the 6th International Conference on Information and Communication Technology and Accessibility from 19-21 December. The opening ceremony of the event will be held under the patronage of H.E. Sheikh Saud bin Suliaman Al Nabhani, Advisor of the State.
The conference titled “Information and Communication Technology and Accessibility” will discuss the use of information and communication technologies for people with disabilities. The conference offers the opportunity to connect researchers, experts and educationalists to discuss and exchange experiences in Accessibility of people with disabilities and education with special focus on Technology Enhanced Education for people with disabilities at regional and international levels.
Dr. Suliaman Al Balushi, Dean of the College of Education at Sultan Qaboos University said that nearly 89 papers covering various themes would be presented at the conference in addition to 17 poster presentations. Participants of the conference come from outside and within Sultanate of Oman. The conference features expert speakers from the United Nations and the Commonwealth of Learning.
The Ministry of Education is sending 52 special education teachers to participate in the three-day conference.
Source: Muscat Daily
The ninth annual State of the Art Conference on Postsecondary Education and Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities runs Wednesday and Thursday, Nov. 15 and 16, at the Sheraton Syracuse University Hotel and Conference Center and the Schine Student Center.
Including a first-time parallel Student Leadership Conference, the event will draw more than 300 participants, providing opportunities for colleges and universities, researchers, program staff, parents and self-advocates to learn about the current state of research and practice in the field and to network with each other. Panels include faculty and staff from postsecondary education initiatives, parents, self-advocates and other experts sharing effective practices during breakout sessions with opportunities for group discussion. The student conference will bring high school and college students into the conversation.
For the first time, the conference—hosted by George Mason University’s Helen A. Kellar Institute for Human Disabilities and the Lawrence B. Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education at Syracuse University—takes place in Syracuse.
“We have professionals coming from universities and centers all over the world, including Austria, Ireland, Canada, Hawaii and Washington,” says Beth Myers, executive director of the Taishoff Center and Lawrence B. Taishoff Professor of Inclusive Education in the School of Education. “Tracks include academic supports, promoting policy and systemic change, campus life, innovations in higher education, independent living, family and community support, research and evaluation, program development and transition.”
Filmmaker Dan Habib from the University of New Hampshire Institute on Disability and Micah Fialka-Feldman ’15, a Taishoff Center staff member, will present the opening keynote, including clips from Habib’s forthcoming documentary “Intelligent Lives.” The film tells the stories of Fialka-Feldman and two other young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDDs).
“I’m sure they will talk about the construction of intelligence as a marker of success and show how some individuals with IDD are pioneers in inclusion, breaking stereotypes about intellectual disability,” says Myers.
Retired Navy Capt. Robert Taishoff, a Syracuse University Trustee, will speak Wednesday afternoon. He is chairman of the Taishoff Family Foundation, which created the Taishoff Center. It’s named for his grandfather, who made it his priority to aid in research and educating society about Down syndrome.
The State of the Art Conference will have 250 participants; 85 students are expected for the Student Leadership Conference. The latter event is open to all students, with an emphasis on young adults who are transitioning into college and current college students. The focus is on students with intellectual disabilities and their peers, including traditionally enrolled friends, classmates and mentors.
Sessions for the students will cover academic life, social connections, self-advocacy, self-representation and housing, along with a ropes course, yoga and a karaoke party.
“The SLC is a gathering of current and future college students with intellectual disabilities. This is so hugely significant because 30 years ago not only would these students not be attending college, many or most of them would be isolated or institutionalized,” says Cara Levine, a Ph.D. student in counseling and counselor education at the School of Education and coordinator of the student conference. “The conference will provide a space for participants to acquire self-advocacy skills and learn about the college experience from one another while making valuable social connections with peers from across the United States and Canada.”
For more information, visit www.sotaconference.com.
BALTIMORE: The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (Auto Alliance) hosted a conference titled “The Promise: Autonomous Vehicles and the Disability Community” on October 25. The event was hosted at NFB’s Jernigan Institute in Baltimore, Maryland.
The event brought together representatives from government, the automotive industry and advocates for persons with disabilities to discuss the advances, challenges, and path forward for autonomous vehicle development.
“Historically, accessibility has been a costly post-purchase vehicle modification for most people with disabilities, and nonexistent for the blind,” said Mark Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind. “The National Federation of the Blind was therefore pleased to co-host this first-of-its-kind gathering of disabled consumers, automotive industry representatives, ride-sharing providers, and policymakers, laying the groundwork for accessibility to be included in the development of promising new vehicle technologies rather than as an afterthought. Discussion between industry and disabled consumers has already had a positive impact on the Senate’s AV START legislation, and our continued work together will pave the way for autonomous vehicles to become tools that will truly enhance independence and opportunity for travelers who are blind and other disabled.”
“Automakers have been developing self-driving technologies for years. We are motivated by the tremendous potential for enhanced safety for everyone and the opportunity to provide greater mobility freedom to people with disabilities and the elderly,” said Mitch Bainwol, President and CEO of the Auto Alliance. “Given the enormity of the social benefits, we are anxious to work with stakeholders and government leaders to develop the policy framework to realize these benefits as soon as we can.”
The conference was a key step in the ongoing conversation about how autonomous vehicles can be developed and deployed safely, while considering the needs of those 57 million Americans with disabilities.
Autonomous vehicles offer disabled Americans opportunities for increased mobility and independence, as well as reliable transportation that could vastly increase employment opportunities.
The National Federation of the Blind and Auto Alliance urge Congress, the Administration, and original equipment manufacturers alike to consider the needs of the disabled as they continue to develop the laws, regulations, and technology that will bring autonomous vehicles to the masses.
The day’s speakers included representatives of the disability community (including the National Association of the Deaf, National Federation of the Blind, Paralyzed Veterans of America, American Association of People with Disabilities, United Spinal Association, American Council of the Blind, and National Down Syndrome Society); the automotive industry (including General Motors, Audi of America, Daimler North America, and Volvo Car Group); government (including representatives from the office of Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., the U.S. Department of Labor, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) and other stakeholders (including representatives from Uber and Securing America’s Future Energy).
The 20th annual Accessing Higher Ground Virtual Conference, a live, web-based conference focused on accessible media, web and technology, presented by the Association on Higher Education And Disability (AHEAD), will be held Wednesday-Friday, Nov. 15-17, and the virtual conference will be hosted in two locations on the University campus. Registration is free; please register online by Monday, Nov. 13, for the sessions you plan to attend.
Accessing Higher Ground (AHG) focuses on the implementation and benefits of accessible media, universal design and assistive technology in university, business and public settings. There is a strong focus on universal design, curriculum accessibility and ADA and Section 508 compliance. Other topic areas cover legal and policy issues, video captioning and creating accessible math content. Incorporating accessibility into the procurement process and accessibility evaluations is a particular focus of the event.
Presentation of the main conference on the University campus is jointly sponsored by the Equal Opportunity, Inclusion and Resolution Services office, the Center for Faculty Development and Institutional Transformation, the Office of Disability Services, the Disability Cultural Center, Syracuse University Libraries and Information Technology Services (ITS).
This conference is intended for individuals who need to design or provide accessible web, media, information resources and technology in the academic and business environment, including faculty and administrators interested in ADA & Section 508 compliance and faculty and other professionals who wish to ensure that their curriculum is accessible. In the past, audiences have included web designers, assistive technologists, ADA coordinators, human resource personnel, persons with disabilities, disability specialists, faculty, media specialists and programmers interested in accessibility and incorporating universal design into curriculum and information and communications technology.
AHG will stream sessions live from two tracks, all three days of the main conference. To register and see the schedule showing local times visit the conference session listing in answers.syr.edu, For complete information, including session abstracts and schedule (Mountain time zone), visit the virtual conference website.