WDSD Conference 2013


Download SPEAKER PRESENTATIONS and view biographies.

Watch the UN WEBCAST again. You can watch Parts 1 and 2 of the Conference in English, Spanish or Portugese. 


Down Syndrome International would like to thank everyone who took part in the World Down Syndrome Day "Right To Work" Conference on 21 March 2013 at the United Nations Headquarters, New York, USA.

Article 27 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) recognises the right of persons with disabilities to work, on an equal basis with others; this includes the right to the opportunity to gain a living by work freely chosen or accepted in a labour market and work environment that is open, inclusive and accessible to persons with disabilities.

The Conference will help to realise the right of persons with Down syndrome and other disabilities to work in open, inclusive and accessible environments. It will highlight the importance of early development and education, proper medical care, and support for employment, independent living and community participation in realising this right.

There were presentations from people with Down syndrome, disability organisations, employers, service providers and others from around the world including North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia.  


Speakers included:


Professor Eman Gaad – United Arab Emirates, "The experience of UAE Down Syndrome Association in the empowerment of people with Down syndrome at the work place: employ to empower" – Dean of the Faculty of Education and Full Professor of Special and Inclusive Education, British University, Dubai, UAE; Head of Educational Committee of United Arab Emirates Down Syndrome Association; UNESCO Consultant.

John Anton – United States, "John Anton on Capitol Hill: Keeping up with a Congresswoman" – Self Advocate, National Down Syndrome Society, who works in the office of US Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington.

Randy Lewis – United States, “No greatness without goodness” – SVP of Walgreens who spearheaded a programme across their distribution centres to employ people with disabilities and testified to its success before the US Senate on how its disability hiring initative is changing the company and spreading to others. Randy is a key person involved with People with Disabilities hiring network.

Sheri Brynard – South Africa, "Make the best of who you are" – Self-advocate who has a full life, working, motivating, travelling and changing perceptions of people with Down syndrome.

Veronica Mulenga – UK, "Connecting employers and employees with Down's syndrome" – Workfit, from the Down’s Syndrome Association, is a new tailored service training employers about the Down syndrome learning profile, moving away from the concept of 'giving people something to do' to an approach which progresses employees towards new outcomes, through training, confidence building and skills development.

Kazuki Kobayashi – Japan, "I want to be a taxpayer" – Self-advocate and earthquake survivor who works in a patisserie.

Professor Tony Holland – UK, “Growing older and the challenges ageing brings for people with Down syndrome” – Chair, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Group, University of Cambridge.

Brad Hennefer, Ruth Ann Virgil and Carl Curtiss – USA, NDSC self-advocate and Wegmans employee, Division Manager, Wegmans, NDSC Employer of the Year 2012, and Wegmans Store Manager – Roundtable discussion.

Jagdeep Thakral – Singapore, “Bridging gaps, touching lives” – General Manager, Holiday Inn Singapore and Member of Enabling Employers Network.

Chris McMurray – Australia, "Navigating the employment wilderness" - Self-advocate and Raytheon employee.

Professor Roy McConkey – Northern Ireland, “Making inclusion a reality:  Five steps to success” – Professor of Developmental Disabilities, University of Ulster.

Breno Viola – Brazil, "Work and accessibility" - Self-advocate, Judo black belt and actor, who works for Movimento Down on accessible communication for people with disabilities.

Lloyd Lewis – United States, “Employing people with Down syndrome” – President and CEO, Arc Thrift Stores will share ideas from the largest employer of people with disabilities in Colorado.

Kate Powell – UK, "My working life" - Self-advocate who works at the Down’s Syndrome Association, UK.

Setsuko Fujiyama – Japan, Jobs Experience Programme, "A job for now and the future"

Alex Snedden – New Zealand, “Having a good and ordinary life working, flatting and living in the community” – Self-advocate.

Vanessa dos Santos – South Africa, “Citizenship and living in the community” – President, Down Syndrome International, National Director, Down Syndrome South Africa

Penny Robertson – Australia, “Applying lessons from education to improve employment prospects” – Chair, Down Syndrome International, Founder, Australian International School, Indonesia


We look forward to meeting you all again on World Down Syndrome Day 2014!


For further information on the UN CRPD visit the UN Enable website.