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Welcome to the Science Summit at UNGA76, a major contribution to advancing Science for the UN SDGs. Online from 14- September - 5 October 2021.
ISC will organise the second edition of the UNGA76 Science Summit around the 76th United Nations General Assembly (SSUNGA76) in September 2021. The objective of the virtual meeting will be to raise awareness of the role and contribution of science to the attainment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. It will demonstrate initiatives that provide models for global science mechanisms and activities in support of the SDGs, particularly in science infrastructure and capacity building. Science is and will enable sustainable economic, environmental, and societal development. Science is more than a funding prioritisation exercise: science is impacting all areas of policy-making and is playing a more critical role in how policy objectives are achieved and the consequent benefit to people everywhere, including responses to global challenges.
Engagement with policy leadership is more important than ever: UNGA76 is a unique forum for science to demonstrate how policy and political leadership can benefit from innovation. Central to this is the role of nonstate actors and the multilateral fora, which increasingly determine how priorities are set. Science needs to be part of this dialogue and inform outputs through thought leadership, evidence, insights, analysis, and innovation.

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Monday, October 4 • 3:30pm - 5:30pm
(REF AT04) Promoting transition to Employment among Individuals with Disabilities: Perspectives from Asia, Europe, Africa and America

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Promoting Transition to Employment and Independence among Individuals with Disabilities: Perspectives from Africa, America, Asia, and Europe 
 
 
One billion people, or 15% of the world’s population, experience forms of disabilities. Among those, one-fifth of the estimated global total, or between 110 million and 190 million people, experience significant disabilities. Disability prevalence is even higher for developing countries and those with disabilities are more likely to experience adverse socio-economic outcomes such as less education, poorer health and employment outcomes, and higher poverty rates. 
 
The European Commission’s European Disability Strategy 2010-2020 had identified social exclusion as one of the grand challenges that people with disabilities in Europe are facing. People with disabilities are the most disadvantaged in society exacerbating many inequity issues. For instance, people with disabilities may have limited access to basic education, which can largely reduce their chances to obtain meaningful and gainful employment as adults. Globally, the employment rates of people with disabilities is significantly lower than their peers without disabilities. In addition to the socio-economic implications, social exclusion impacts negatively on self-esteem, mental health and quality of life. Thus, social Inclusion is an important element of well-being for people with disabilities and a key component of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Research has highlighted that social inclusion can be promoted through access to education and employment. 
 
Research has also demonstrated that assistive technology (AT) can be a meaningful way to improve access to education, employment and independence among people with disabilities. While AT can be useful in improving the life of people with disabilities, the World Health Organization have identified that only 10% of the population in need of AT products have access to them. While AT provision varies across countries, the intent to support people with disabilities should be a global priority with a focus on removing barriers and providing facilitators to independent living, community participation, and transition from education to employment settings.  
 
We will highlight the critical role of partnerships between Africa, America, Asia, and Europe 
in increasing inclusion, promoting transition from education settings to employment and independence, and improving the quality of life for people with disabilities. Using international projects, we will describe the challenges faced by inclusive education programs for transition-age youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities. We will also share initiatives and innovative strategies that are in place in building capacity and developing guidelines and programming for improving the situations. Finally, we will discuss the importance of promoting interdisciplinary and intersectoral collaborations between all stakeholders and placing the person with disability at the centre of the program and resources development, deployment and dissemination. 
 
Panel Discussion Questions 
 
1. What is the current situation and challenges faced regarding transition to employment and independence among people with disabilities in your country? 
2. What existing initiatives and innovative strategies have been put in place to improve the transition to employment among people with disabilities in your country? 
3. What role do you see assistive technology can play in promoting the transition to employment among people with disabilities in your country? 
4. What are your recommendations for guidelines program development to improve the transition to employment among people with disabilities in your country? What should be the future directions for research and practice?


Speakers
avatar for Geraldine Leader

Geraldine Leader

Senior Lecturer at the School of Psychology & Irish Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Research, NUIG
Dr. Geraldine Leader is a Behavioural Psychologist and is an Associate Professor in the School of Psychology at the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG). With over 90 peer-reviewed publication, Geraldine’s research interests lie in the areas of Autism Spectrum Disorder... Read More →
avatar for Connie Sung

Connie Sung

Associate Professor, Michigan State University
Dr. Connie Sung is an Associate Professor of Rehabilitation Counselling, director of the master’s program in Rehabilitation Counseling, and director of MSU-DOCTRID Hegarty Fellows Postdoctoral Program at Michigan State University. She is also a certified rehabilitation counsellor... Read More →
avatar for Anna Podlesna

Anna Podlesna

Corporate Social Responsibility Manager, Profesia
Anna Podlesna is a Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at Profesia where she manages a program for people with special needs in the labor market which includes a wide network of partners from the public and nonprofit sectors. She has MBA level degree from the Comenius University... Read More →
avatar for Binta Koita

Binta Koita

Lecturer, University of Letters and Humanities of Bamako
Dr. Binta Koita is a Lecturer at the University of Letters and Humanities of Bamako, and she is currently a visiting scholar and postdoctoral researcher of the AAP (African Alliance Partnership program at Michigan State University. She holds a master's degree in communication studies... Read More →
avatar for Cynthia Lai

Cynthia Lai

Associate Professor of the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU)
Dr. Cynthia Lai is an Associate Professor of the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU). She is also the Coordinator of the Postgraduate Scheme in Rehabilitation Science of PolyU. She had been a practicing occupational therapist for around... Read More →
avatar for June L. Chen

June L. Chen

Associate Professor and the Deputy Director, Department of Special Education at East China Normal University (ECNU)
Dr. June L. Chen is an Associate Professor and the Deputy Director of the Department of Special Education at East China Normal University (ECNU).  Her primary research focusses on career education, transition program and employment readiness for students with disabilities, especially... Read More →
avatar for Marisa Fisher

Marisa Fisher

Associate Professor, Michigan State University
Dr. Marisa Fisher is an Associate Professor of Special Education at Michigan State University and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. As a scholar, she evaluates the social outcomes of adolescents and young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Within her... Read More →
avatar for Adrian Stewart

Adrian Stewart

Head of Employability, Rehab Group in Ireland
Adrian Stewart is Head of Employability with Rehab Group in Ireland with overall responsibility for employability strategy, policy and activities across its many services for people with disabilities. He is also a Director of Employability Midlands in Ireland providing supported employment... Read More →


Monday October 4, 2021 3:30pm - 5:30pm CEST