Delegation from Pakistan visits UO to discuss disability policy

Members of the Pakistani delegation

The UO Division of Equity and Inclusion and Mobility International USA will host a delegation of 10 Pakistani women and men with and without disabilities as part of a professional exchange program focused on disability policy.

Delegation members represent government agencies, disabled people’s organizations and private sector companies as well as other civil society organizations focused on education, employment and human rights. The event, Champions of Disability: Perspectives from Pakistan, will be April 20 from 6:30-8 p.m. in the Cedar and Spruce rooms (rooms 231-232) in the Erb Memorial Union.

The event will include presentations by Abia Akram, director of projects at the Special Talent Exchange Program and a group leader at the U.S.-Pakistan Exchange Program, and Shaista Pervaiz, a member of Pakistan’s Parliament. Following the presentations a moderated question-and-answer discussion will be held with all the Pakistani delegates. Susan Sygall, CEO of Mobility International USA, and Yvette Alex-Assensoh, the UO’s vice president for equity and inclusion, will also make brief remarks at the event. 

Alex-Assensoh said she is honored to be part of the event.

“The breadth and depth of the work the delegates engage in impacts so many arenas: government policies, education, sports, human rights and more in Pakistan and beyond,” she said. “We not only relish the opportunity to meet currently with the delegation but hope that we can foster additional collaborations to further our work in becoming an inclusive university community.”

Alex-Assensoh also praised the work of Mobility International USA.

“We are privileged to have such an internationally renowned organization right here in Eugene and be able to learn from and collaborate with them to help increase opportunities for international students with disabilities,” she said.

The delegation is in Eugene as part of a 13-day intensive U.S.-Pakistan Disability Policy Professional Exchange Program taking place in Eugene and Berkeley, California. The exchange program is designed to empower people with disabilities and their allies in government and civil society to implement and enforce the rights of persons with disabilities in Pakistan. Delegates have opportunities to gain first-hand knowledge of American implementation of disability protection laws.

In addition to Akram and Pervaiz, delegates include Haris Rauf Jaswal, ICM JAPAN and Special Talent Exchange Programs; Malik Haroon Munir, Voice Society for the Rehabilitation of Special Persons; Mian Asim Zafar, SAAYA Association of Persons with Disabilities; Syeda Munazza Gillani, SightSavers; Syed Muhammad Mustafain Kazmi, Development of Disabled People’s Organizations; Nasir Mahmood Dar, Pakistan Deaf Sports Association; Shahzad Ahmad Khan, Ministry of Human Rights; and Tahira Aurang Zeb, member of Parliament;

The event is free. RSVP is required to attend

 —By tova stabin, University Communications