University of Regina President invited to provide expert advice in World Health Organization consultations

News Release Release Date: September 13, 2013 9:00 a.m.

University of Regina President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Vianne Timmons has been invited to provide expert advice later this month to the World Health Organization (WHO) in its consultations related to persons with disabilities.

Dr. Timmons will be in Geneva, Switzerland from September 16-18 to participate in consultations which are focused on developing an action plan for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Convention was negotiated during eight sessions of an ad hoc Committee of the United Nations General Assembly from 2002-06, following decades of work by the United Nations to change attitudes and approaches to persons with disabilities. Canada is one of more than 100 signatories to the Convention.

The consultations will bring in experts from around the world to identify priorities for action and effective strategies for enhancing opportunities worldwide for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities such as Autism Spectrum Disorders. Participants will identify challenges and opportunities, share solutions, and begin establishing a global network to monitor the implementation of an action plan.

“It is an honour to represent Canada and the University of Regina at these WHO consultations,” Dr. Timmons said. “I look forward to contributing to this dialogue and to learning from the world experts who will be participating. The situation for people with disabilities globally is horrific, and we all need to be concerned about the most vulnerable of our society both in Canada and abroad.”

Dr. Timmons is an international expert in the field of inclusive education. She spent eight years working in India training teachers and developing curriculum for the establishment of inclusive classrooms in that country, and has also worked with colleagues in Sri Lanka and South Africa to research services for children with disabilities. She currently serves as President of the International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IASSIDD).  IASSIDD is the premier research organization in the world in the field of intellectual disabilities.

Dr. Timmons researches, speaks about, and advocates nationally and internationally for the rights of persons with disabilities. She has delivered approximately 200 lectures about her work, and in 2010 was the recipient of the Canadian Association for Community Living’s National Inclusive Education Award in recognition of her lifelong commitment to the education of persons with disabilities.


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