Miyerkules, Pebrero 8, 2017

#IAmYou - Opening Minds, Opening Hearts

An International Leadership Summit in Inclusive Education

QUEZON CITY, PHILIPPINES – February 6, 2017. For the first time, educators, legislators, service providers, support groups/associations, international organizations, disabled people organizations, international and local students and parents will gather together at the SMX Convention Center Manila on February 22-24, 2017 to set the cornerstone for building an intentional and proactive community for inclusive education. The theme of this event is I Am You – Opening Minds, Opening Hearts: Putting Values into Action.

Given the broad scope of inclusive education that encompasses people with disabilities, indigenous people, Muslims and other marginalized communities, most of the topics and discussion at this February Summit will focus on people with disabilities. The end goal is to build on this Summit, the beginning of a series of conferences, the greater essence of inclusive education – education for all. 
Vice President Leni Robredo will grace the event in providing welcome remarks together with Australian Ambassador Amanda Gorely, UNICEF Country Representative Lotta Sylwander and SM Supermalls President Anna Maria Garcia. Senator Bam Aquino and Congressman Alfred Vargas are expected to present the joint bill to serve the people with disabilities worked on by the organizing committee spearheaded by the Fully Abled Nation. They will be joined by Engineer Bien Mateo of SM Cares, Rhodora Palomar-Fresnedi of Unilab Foundation, Carmen Reyes-Zubiaga of the National Council on Disability Affairs and Atty. Adel Tamano to share their programs and messages of inspiration. 

Renowned international experts in inclusive education are expected to provide the keynotes at the Summit, namely Professor Tony Booth from the University of Cambridge, celebrated author of the Index for Inclusion (translated into 40 languages),  and David Hoff of the Boston based Institute for Community Inclusion. 

We also have extraordinary people sharing their overcoming-disability-to succeed success stories - Sarah Jane Dela Rosa, a 22 year old student with cerebral palsy fully included in a regular class; Erick Marco Ramos, the first blind person to qualify for the Global Undergraduate Exchange Program administered by the US Fulbright Commission and currently a faculty member at Philippine Normal University;  Dr. Rex Bernardo from the University of Sydney, currently a professor of Mabini Colleges; and Joy Garcia, Chief Executive Officer of Tahanan ng Walang Hagdan. Finally, Mr. Tony Llanes, the blind founder of ATRIEV (Adaptive Technology for the Rehabilitation, Integration and Empowerment of Visually Impaired) will be demonstrating digital resources for the blind. 

Schools, both public and private, parents, service providers and support groups will share best practices/perspectives on how inclusion works for their children. They will also be joined by highly respected developmental and behavioral pediatricians namely Dr. Francis Dimalanta and Dr. Stella Manalo and the Harvard graduates from the International Education Policy program.

One of the program highlights will include the showing of the powerfully moving documentary “Yakap”, which follows the lives of three families of children with special needs, produced by Dolores Cheng of the Center of Possibilities.  Along with this is the exhibition of #DrawDisability, a global art campaign launched by the United Nations Secretary General’s Global Education First Initiative (GEFI), in partnership with the Global Observatory for Inclusion (GLOBI) and the United Nations Global Education First Initiative Youth Advocacy Group (GEFI-YAG).

The Summit aims to call for a unified response – #YesToInclusion and to spearhead a movement that will advocate for the right of the individual with a disability to be educated along with his/her peers in the regular classroom. 

For registrations to the summit and corporate sponsorships, please visit www.theteachersgallery.com, www.iamyouinclusion.net or contact Mai Roble at 0977-8095110 or 0998-554-8522 or 02-352-2675.

About the Organizers:
The Summit is co-presented by The Teacher’s Gallery and SMX/SM Cares and is supported in planning by Basic Education Transformation Sector (BEST), the Unilab Project Inclusion, The Asia Foundation/Fully Abled Nation, Best Buddies, Save the Children, ATRIEV, Norfil Foundation, Center for Possibilities Foundation Inc., Leonard Cheshire Disability, CEU Inclusion Program, Reach International, UP College of Education, and the Philippine Association for Teachers Educators (PAFTE).

The main organizer, The Teacher’s Gallery (TTG), is a social enterprise formed out of an advocacy for inclusive education and a drive to  empower  teachers in their role of nation building. TTG offers transformational educational programs that include Global Study Tours (US, Canada, UK and Southeast Asia) where participants observe several US inclusive classrooms, and engage with their peers. TTG co-founder, Ms. Lilibeth Aristorenas, was inspired to form this organization from the challenges observed at Precious Gem Academy, Another Home to Grow and Creative Learner’s Home, small schools she also co-founded nestled in Fairview, Quezon City, focused on continuously improving their inclusive practice.

The summit is held in partnership with SM Cares, the corporate social responsibility of SM Prime Holdings, Inc., and the SMX Convention Center. SM Cares advocacies include programs on persons with disabilities, senior citizens, children and youth, women and breastfeeding, OFWs (SM Global Pinoy), environment and sustainability and social entrepreneurship. SM Cares’ program on persons with disabilities has instituted key programs to address the needs of PWDs which earned its reputation of being the most PWD-friendly mall in the country. 

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