Conference participants were welcomed by a diverse roster of distinguished dignitaries and speakers whose inspirational speeches addressed the issue of inclusive approaches from different angles and journeys. Some of our featured speakers included Assistant Deputy Mayor Adriane Carr, Assistant Deputy Minster, Ron Allen and Department Head (ECPS), UBC, Dr. William Borgen.
As emphasized by the Assistant Deputy Minster Ron Allen, “I understand the need for inclusive practices and appreciate the work……. Inclusion reflects fundamental principles in society celebrating diversity while promoting development and learning for everyone, and providing for social participation in learning and caring environments, peer relations, and interactions."
Featured Keynotes included J.A. Tan, a Canadian Visual artist from the Philippines and Dr. Lilliana Mayo, Founder and Director of the Centro Ann Sullivan del Peru, who discussed their journeys and lived experiences with our conference delegates.
J.A. Tan described his life as being ‘a part and not apart’ as depicted by his original art work which was featured on our conference bags. Through my art “I had the opportunity to break out of the silence of autism. I believe I need to continually uninhabited this silence. I slowly unveiled the mystery of this condition for myself and others.”
Zhao Chun Li - Zhao Chun Li (known as Angel) is a young woman with brittle bone disease and dwarfism. She stands at only 36 inches tall but has goals that shoot for the moon. Angel's dream is to be a voice for those special need individuals who are not so fortunate in China, those who have not received an education, who are deemed unemployable, who suffer daily from discrimination and hardship. Her gifts are her positive attitude, her spirit of resilience, her fluency in English and her self-determination to be a change agent. Read more about Angel's incredible life journey and the mission that brings her to our conference here.
See a video here.
addition, participants discussed more extensive partnerships, networked, and developed
connections around the world (through our National Chairs) as well as benefiting
and learning from each others’ experiences.
Entertainment throughout the conference depicted unique talents of The Tempos a visually impaired singing group (Canadian based group of performers) as well as Theatre Terrific (Canadian based singing and acting group with varying disabilities). See photos highlights below.
Even our own delegates showcased their professional talents throughout the gala event. Dr. Ann Hughes taught us the steps to dance an Irish jig, while Dr. Giang serenated us with his original Vietnamese song, and Dr. Morgan Chitiyo and others lead us in a special African dance.
The children and young adult’s art work showcased artists from all over the world. Special thanks to Dr. Sal Zimmerman for his hard work and outstanding display of key items throughout our conference. The silent and live auctions were a big success. Dr. Marcel Lebrun chair of this committee helped to raise over $3,000 for the Marg Csapo Scholarship Fund.