NUI Galway Host World’s Largest Disability Summer School

Jun 14 2016 Posted: 09:11 IST

US Disability Visionaries will reflect on Ireland's programme for government in the area of disability at International Summer School

The world’s biggest Disability Law Summer School focusing on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities will take place in NUI Galway from 20-24 June. Hosted by the University’s Centre for Disability Law and Policy, this the eighth such Summer School to take place at the University, and this year’s theme is ‘Civil Society Impacting Change’.

The aim of the five-day Summer School is to equip participants with the insights and skills necessary to help them translate the generalities of the UN Convention into tangible reform for persons with disabilities. This School will look at some of the strategies that civil society has used to protect the rights and improve the lives of people with disabilities around the world.

Over 140 delegates from nearly 40 countries are expected to attend this year’s event, including persons with disabilities and their families, civil society groups, as well as advocates for disability law reform, lawyers, policy makers and policy analysts. The faculty will include senior academics, practitioners, advocates and policy makers from around the world. Many of the speakers have been directly and actively engaged in drafting and implementing the UN Convention. Others are advocates for change and reform.

This year it will be opened by Senator Tom Harkin and Judith Heumann of the US State Department. Senator Harkin was the lead sponsor of the famous Americans with Disabilities Act (1990) which triggered the disability rights movement around the world. Judith Heumann now acts as Assistant Secretary of State in the US State Department helping other countries develop their disability rights programmes.  

Also speaking will be John Wodatch, Former Director of the Disability Section of the Civil Rights Division in the US Department of Justice; and Catalina Devandas, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Though designed to be pan-national in its scope, this year will afford a unique learning opportunity on how disability-related innovations in the new Irish programme for government can be mapped onto innovations already taken place in the US.

The Summer School is in part supported by the Open Society Foundations.

Registration for the Summer School remains open until Friday, 17 June and will cost €330.

Further information is available at or contact or 086 8252612. Participant accessibility (physical or communicational) requests and enquiries are welcomed.


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