Photo used for illustration.
Expo 2020 Dubai marked International People with Disabilities Day (IDPD) with a flagship event in the Nexus for People and Planet that explored topics such as inclusive accessibility, education, decent work, innovation and technology, and sport.
This year’s theme for IDPD, which is celebrated annually on December 3rd, is “Leadership and Participation of People with Disabilities Towards an Inclusive, Accessible and Sustainable World Post COVID-19.” Co-curated with the UAE Department of Community Development and in In cooperation with the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations (UN DESA), the specialist event “Shaping an Inclusive Future for All” offered lectures by leading figures from government and business, artists and athletes to demonstrate the achievements of determined people and show how Individuals and organizations can work together to achieve inclusion.
Dina Storey, Head of Sustainability Operations at Expo 2020 Dubai, said, “With inclusion being one of the UAE’s key values, the team behind Expo 2020 is diverse, inclusive and dedicated to delivering an extraordinary expo for the world , with determined people playing an important role in preparing and running the event.
Expo 2020 is proud to host this event on International Day of People with Disabilities and looks forward to sharing its findings with the world. ”Speakers at the event included Hessa bint Essa Buhumaid, Minister for Community Development; Maria-Francesca Spatolisano, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs; Vladimir Cuk, Executive Director of the International Disability Alliance; Daniela Bas, Director of the Department for Inclusive Social Development, UN DESA and Dr. Victor Pineda, Founder and President of the Victor Pineda Foundation.
The multi-format event included lightning talks and moderated panels in which attendees shared success stories of bold approaches, partnerships and ecosystems that drive innovation and accelerate change by and for determined people. The topics range from the design of a barrier-free world for people with disabilities to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Disability is mentioned in all SDGs, particularly in the areas of education, growth and employment, inequality, accessibility to human settlements and data collection.
Expo 2020 Dubai is committed to creating opportunities for determined people. Determined people play an active role in shaping the overall Expo experience and are among the volunteers and staff of Expo 2020 while the entire site is open to all to ensure everyone is part of a global experience that embraces the diversity of the world celebrates and promotes an inclusive future for humanity.
IDPD is a worldwide celebration celebrated on December 3rd each year to promote the rights and well-being of people with disabilities in all sectors of society. According to the United Nations, nearly 1 billion people of the total population, or 7 billion or about 15 percent of the world’s population, live with some form of disability.
Israel Pavilion Marks IDPD: In recognition of Friday’s International People’s Resolve Day, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael – Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF), Access Israel NGO, Start-Up Nation Central and the Ministry of Regional Cooperation hosted a series of Startups in the Israeli pavilion led by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at Expo 2020 Dubai. The startups from Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) presented their most advanced accessibility technology to the participants.
As part of Access Israel’s unique presentation, visitors were invited to conduct an urban obstacle course that enabled disabled people to experience the kind of access challenges that disabled people with wheelchairs or the blind / visually impaired experience on a daily basis. This activity is part of an international collaboration supported by Google and Friends of Access Israel (FAISR). The aim of the partnership is to exchange know-how and accelerate the development of aids for people with disabilities, who make up 15% of the world’s population, while at the same time achieving one of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The company is working to raise awareness of the rights of people with disabilities, or people with determination as they are called in the UAE, to full equality. As a result of the activity, expo visitors had the opportunity to experience for themselves what it is like to live with disabilities, while also discovering unique and practical solutions that have been developed in Israel.
Israeli technologies on display at Expo 2020 Dubai include an Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) device developed by Voiceitt; Medical technology and innovative communication technologies from EyeControl; an AI-based motion control system that analyzes wheelchair seating positions developed by ReSymmetry; and a panoramic 3D photography system that identifies accessibility barriers in a range of terrains, including urban environments. Mahran Hamdan, the captain of the 2016 Israel Wheelchair Basketball World Cup, also attended the event.
Yuval Wagner, chairman of Access Israel, a leader in promoting the accessibility and social inclusion of people with disabilities, sees the expo as an excellent opportunity for regional collaboration of knowledge, models and technologies to improve the quality of life of 15% of the world’s population to improve population.
Merav Davidian, Accessibility Officer at JNF stated, “Accessibility is a guiding principle at JNF, which has 250 accessible websites in Israel. We will continue our efforts to make Israeli nature accessible to all while protecting the environment and the topography. “
Michal Seror, Director Ecosystem Development at Start-Up Nation Central, commented: “The Israeli innovation ecosystem offers multiple technological solutions to a global challenge with the hope of improving the lives of people with disabilities and achieving more precise side integration. The start-up Nation Central sees the presentation of Israeli technology in Dubai as a direct continuation of our long-term partnership with the UAE. “
JNF, Access Israel, Start-Up Nation Central, the Ministry of Regional Cooperation, Google and FAISR also launched a joint social event to raise awareness. One hundred people with and without disabilities jointly designed the logo of the International Disability Alliance on the Expo lawn by holding up blue umbrellas.
Accessible Hanukkah: An accessible candlelight event will take place on December 5th with an accessible Hanukkah menorah developed by Impact Labs and printed on a 3D printer. Product designers have developed a special lighter that enables people with arm and hand disabilities to light the candles without assistance. Simultaneously, Access Israel, JNF, Google and FAISR are hosting a sporting event featuring wheelchair basketball, blind soccer, a running race for the visually impaired, blind lawn bowling and more.
The Israeli pavilion is a project under the direction of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the pavilion is designed without walls, for maximum openness, visitors to Expo 2020 and beyond are invited to the Israeli pavilion.
Israel is a place of innovation that offers a vision and a horizon in dealing with the challenges of humanity.
The pavilion has an emphasis on topics such as; Agriculture, water, medicine, communication and cyber problems. The pavilion will showcase its open and diverse society that offers equal rights to all of its residents, is a society that respects different people and cultures, and is a recognized and respected state among the participating nations.
The pavilion is intended to serve as a platform for future business development – a first point of contact between Israelis and trading partners visiting the exhibition.