A selection of UN TV programmes, webcasts and video clips on issues in the news

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

World Autism Awareness Day 2015, April 2nd

2015 Theme: Employment: The Autism Advantage.
Tema de 2015: «El empleo: la ventaja del autismo»
Thème 2015 : « Emploi : les avantages de l’autisme »
2015年主题: 职业:自闭症优势.
Тема Дня 2015 года «Профессиональная занятость: преимущества людей с аутизмом»
موضوع عام 2015: ميزات التوحد لمجال العمل

I am hugely encouraged by the growing public awareness of autism spectrum disorders and the increase of public services to many of those affected. World Autism Awareness Day not only fosters greater understanding, it empowers parents into seeking early intervention therapies and calls for the full integration of persons with autism into society. It also invites policy-makers to encourage schools to open their doors to students with autism. With adequate support, they can -- and should -- be educated in the heart of their communities. Now is the time for even greater access and work opportunities for persons with autism.
This year, I am pleased to launch an employment “Call to Action”, inviting businesses to make concrete commitments to employ people on the autism spectrum. We encourage public offices, corporations, and small businesses to have a closer look at the way they perceive people with autism, to take the time to learn about the condition and to create life-changing opportunities.
People with autism have enormous potential. Most have remarkable visual, artistic or academic skills. Thanks to the use of assistive technologies, non-verbal persons with autism can communicate and share their hidden capabilities. Recognizing the talents of persons on the autism spectrum, rather than focusing on their weaknesses, is essential to creating a society that is truly inclusive.
Yet even where autism awareness is most advanced, more than 80 per cent of adults with autism are unemployed. That is why it is so important for employers to understand their unique and often exceptional skills, and to enable work environments where they can excel.
This important mission can only be achieved with appropriate vocational training and adequate support alongside a recruitment process that can allow people to successfully integrate into workforces around the world.
The United Nations General Assembly has called for greater access and opportunities for persons with autism. In declaring 2 April as World Autism Awareness Day, the Assembly also called for training for public administrators, service providers, care-givers, families and non-professionals to support the integration of persons with autism into society, so that they can realize their full potential.
On World Autism Awareness Day, let us join forces to create the best possible conditions for those with autism, so that they can make their own contribution to a future that is fair and sustainable for all.

Ban Ki-moon

Events in 2015 : “Employment: The Autism Advantage”

Thursday, 2 April 2015, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., United Nations Headquarters, Conference Room 4
The launch of a Call to Action inviting business to make concrete commitments to employ persons with autism took place at an event entitled “Employment: The Autism Advantage” in observance of World Autism Awareness Day on Thursday, 2 April 2015.
Speakers included Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Governor Jack Markell of Delaware, and business executives from Ernst & Young, Freddie Mac, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, SAP and more. Bill Blakemore, award winning correspondent with ABC News, moderated.
The 2015 observance of World Autism Awareness Day was organized by the United Nations Department of Public Information and the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, in cooperation with The Specialist People Foundation, with the support of the United Nations Global Compact. The event was co-sponsored by the Permanent Missions of Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Denmark, Israel, the Republic of Korea, Peru, Poland and Sri Lanka to the United Nations.
The event focused on measures required to support growth in employment opportunities for people on the autism spectrum. The intention was to demonstrate that people with autism can be valued employees for employers who understand their unique and often exceptional skills, as well as what it takes to create work environments where people with autism can excel.

See webcast of the event

Panel discussion on "Employment: The Autism Advantage"
co-organized by the Permanent Missions of Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Denmark, Israel, Peru, Poland, the Republic of Korea and Sri Lanka, the Department of Public Information (DPI) and the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), Global Compact and the Specialist People Foundation.

See Secretary-General's opening remarks

Ban Ki-moon on World Autism Awareness Day 2015 event.
2 Apr 2015 - Remarks by H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary-General at the 2015 World Autism Awareness Day Event.

10:00 a.m. Welcome and Opening
  • Cristina Gallach, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, United Nations
  • Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations
  • H.E. Mr. Einar Gunnarsson, Vice President of the General Assembly
  • Keynote: “A Better Bottom Line“ – Jack Markell, Governor of Delaware
  • Moderator, Sessions 1 and 2 - Bill Blakemore, award-winning news correspondent
10:30 a.m. Session 1: Setting the Scene
  • Thorkil Sonne, Founder, Specialist People Foundation
  • Prof. Arlene S. Kanter, Syracuse University
  • Merry Barua, Director, Action For Autism and National Centre for Autism, India
  • Ronnie Goldberg, Senior Counsel, U.S. Council for International Business; U.S. employer representative on the International Labor Organization’s Governing Body
  • Prof. Rob Austin, Copenhagen Business School
  • Zsuzsanna Szilvasy, President, Autism Europe
Presentations from the floor
  • Mitch Levy, GM, ICT and Cyber Security, Department of Human Services, Australia, and Michael Fieldhouse, Account Executive, Hewlett-Packard
11:15 a.m. Session 2: Autism at Work
  • Emily Brooks, graduate student
  • John Hartman, artist, employee at Metro Kosher Deli
  • Randy Richardson, Assistant Paralegal, Mayerson & Associates
  • John Haley, CEO and Chairman, Towers Watson
  • Tanja Rueckert, EVP and COO, Products and Innovation Development, SAP
  • Mary Ellen Smith, Corporate Vice President, Operations, Microsoft
Presentations from the floor
  • Robert Lux, Executive VP and CIO, Freddie Mac
  • Jeremy Badman, COO, Oliver Wyman
  • Ernie Dianastasis, Managing Director, CAI
  • Rajesh Anandan, Co-founder, ULTRA Testing; SVP UNICEF Venutres, UNICEF-USA
  • Lori Golden, Abilities Strategy Leader, Ernst & Young
  • Rosa Oyama Ganiko, Dir. of Projects and Research, Centro Ann Sullivan de Perú
  • Patrick Viesti, employee, SAP
  • Thomas D'Eri, Co-Founder, Rising Tide Car Wash
  • Sean Cruse, Research and Communications, United Nations Global Compact
12:50 p.m. Wrap-up
  • Thomas Gass, ASG, DESA, United Nations
"Science, Collaboration & Answers for the Global Autism Community"
Panel discussion from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. in the ECOSOC Chamber organized by the Permanent Mission of the State of Qatar, The Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh
and Autism Speaks and co-sponsored by The Permanent Missions of India and Nigeria and the Republic of Korea
Followed by a reception at 6:00 p.m. in the East Lounge hosted by the Permanent Missions of Qatar and Bangladesh to the United Nations
Download the invitation PDF document
Download the concept note PDF document
Opening Session
Opening Remarks By:
1) H.E. Ambassador Abulkalam Abdul Momen: Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations.
2) H.E. Ambassador Alya Ahmed S. Al-Thani: Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar to the United Nations.
  • H.E. Ambassador of Bangladesh to the United Nations will introduce Mrs. Ban Soon-Taek.
  • Mrs. Ban Soon-Taek Remarks.
  • H.E. Ambassador of Bangladesh to the United Nations will introduce the Permanent Representative of India.
  • Permanent Representative of India Remarks.
  • H.E. Ambassador of the State of Qatar to the United Nations will introduce the Permanent Representative/ Deputy Permanent Representative of Nigeria, (TBC).
  • Permanent Representative/ DPR of Nigeria Remarks.
  • H.E. Ambassador of the State of Qatar to the United Nations will introduce the Deputy Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea.
  • DPR of the Republic of Korea Remarks.
  • H.E. Ambassador of the State of Qatar to the United Nations will introduce Mr. & Mrs. Wright.
  • Mrs. Wright Remarks.
  • H.E. Ambassador of Bangladesh to the United Nations will introduce Ms. Amina Mohammed.
  • Mrs. Amina Mohammed Remarks.
  • H.E. Ambassador of the State of Qatar to the United Nations will conclude the Opening Session and introduce Ms. Rebecca Jarvis: Chief Business & Economics Correspondent, ABC News- (Moderator).
Panel Discussion: Ms. Rebecca Jarvis introduces panelists and begins Q&A with:
  • Ms. Saima Wazed Hossain: Chairperson of the National Advisory Committee on Autism of Bangladesh.
  • H.E. Mrs. Amal Al Mannai (TBD): CEO of Qatar Foundation for Social Action.
  • Dr. Andy Shih remarks: Senior Vice President of Scientific Affairs, Autism Speaks. Introduces whip-around. Whip-around (countries to include Dubai, Mexico, Albania and Morocco).
  • Mr. Mohammed Badr Al Sada: Executive Director of AlShafallah Center (Qatar).
  • Mrs. Dévora Kestel: Unit Chief, Mental Health and Substance Use Pan American Health Organization, PAHO/WHO.
  • H.E. Sheikha Hessa bin Khalifa Al Thani (TBD): Former Special Rapporteur of the United Nations for persons with disabilities
  • Dr. Steve Scherer: (Hospital for Sick Children, MSSNG)
  • Ms. Helen Tager Flusberg: (Former President, INSAR).
  • Ms. Rebecca Jarvis thanks audience and concludes session

Post-Event Reception : Reception Programme:

Musical Presentation By Ms. Talina Toscano.
Art Exhibition by AlShafallah Centre (QATAR).
Please RSVP to

Blue in honor of Autism Speaks and World Autism Awareness
For the sixth year, New York’s most iconic landmark, the Empire State Building, will participate in Autism Speaks’ Light It Up Blue campaign. The Empire State Building has become an official symbol of Light It Up Blue and a source of inspiration for the global autism community.
On April 2, 2015 the tower will shine a bright blue light to commemorate World Autism Awareness Day.
Wherever you live, you can join in by lighting your work or home blue.

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