Assistive Technology, World Wide

News release:

United Nations


UNITED NATIONS, 20 March 2007 — The many ways information and communication technologies (ICT) can improve the lives of persons with disabilities will be the topic of a meeting taking place at United Nations on Monday, 26 March.

At the first Global Forum of the UN Global Initiative for Inclusive ICT, disability advocates and leading experts from around the world will come together to assess the status of accessible and inclusive technologies for persons with disabilities. As the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities opens for signature on 30 March (see, participating corporations will showcase their latest innovations in the field of inclusive technologies.

Speakers include Laura Ruby, Director of Policy and Standards, Microsoft; Victor Tsaran, Accessibility Program Manager, Yahoo Corporation; David Dikter, Executive Director, Assistive Technology Industry Association; and Axel Leblois, the Global Initiative’s Executive Director.

Emilie McCabe, General Manager, IBM Global Public Sector, will deliver the keynote address. Prof. Peter Brecke, of Georgia Tech’s School of International Affairs , will present the Digital Inclusion Index for Disabled Persons, which measures countries’ level of inclusion from the standpoint of ICT.

“The forum will examine how best to support the development of accessible and assistive features for ICT products,” said Sarbuland Khan, Executive Coordinator of the UN Global Alliance for ICT and Development. “There are core areas of opportunities, as well as specific funding and research and development resources which industry could benefit from”.

Morning panels will examine the scope for ICT industry of developing inclusive products and services, the pervasive impact of ICT on the lives of persons with disabilities, current research to reduce accessibility gaps among common ICT products and successful applications regarding the workplace, home, media, e-government and public services.

Afternoon panels will address how to harmonize and standardize accessible and assistive technologies to make them work on a global scale, as well as the role of the public sector in fostering innovation and compliance through legislation, regulations and procurement rules.

The forum is organized by the UN Global Alliance for Technology and Development and the Boston-based Wireless Internet Institute in cooperation with the Secretariat of the Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

For information, please visit and or contact Enrica Murmura at the Global Alliance secretariat, tel: 212 963 5913, e-mail: or Edoardo Bellando, Tel. (212) 963-8275, e-mail:,. 


Author: skuusisto

Poet, Essayist, Blogger, Journalist, Memoirist, Disability Rights Advocate, Public Speaker, Professor, Syracuse University

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