WDSD Conference

WATCH THIS SPACE for details of the 2016 WDSD Conference.


Down Syndrome International would like to thank everyone for your support for the 4th World Down Syndrome Day Conference:

"‘My Opportunities, My Choices’ – Enjoying Full and Equal Rights and the Role of Families"

United Nations Headquarters, New York, USA, Friday 20 March 2015 - 10am-4pm

Watch the conference again - Part 1 (English) - Part 2 (English)*

Speakers and moderators biographies and presentations

Download the conference programme

*Conference video will be available in more languages soon


Sean, Susan & Devon Adelman (self advocate) – United States “Raising Expectations, Imagine the Possibilities"

Julie Duff - United Kingdom Cheshire Down's Syndrome Support Group "The Journey to Empowerment"

Debendranath Sarangi – India Retired Chief Secretary and Advisor to the Government of Tamil Nadu, India “Role of Enablers – Family, Society, and the Government”

Mony Teri Pettit – Tanzania Penny Aika Pettit Down Syndrome Foundation.  “Families and Communities Positive Attitudes - Positive Results for Children with Down Syndrome - Tanzania's experience”

Professor Eman Gaad – United Arab Emirates Co-Founder, Emirates Down Syndrome Association, Dean, Faculty of Education British University, Dubai “Parents in Support of Educational and Social Inclusion of Children with Down Syndrome: a Perspective from the Emirates.”

Dr Rhonda Faragher & Ruth Faragher (self-advocate) - Australia Senior Lecturer, Australian Catholic University, Australia, "Inclusive Education for Learners with Down Syndrome: The Family's Role in Getting it Right."

Erdenechuluun Chultem & Byambadorj Dulguun (self advocate) – Mongolia Down Syndrome Association Mongolia Inspiration against Obstacles”

Andrzej Malec & Marcin Malec (self advocate) – Poland "How Families can Support a Person with Down Syndrome to Live a normal life as Best as Possible"

Mariella Castillo & Stephanie Boghen (self advocate) - Canada “Making Inclusion Work: Encouraging Adults with Down Syndrome Pursuing Higher Education”

Inés E. de Escallón  – Inclusion International, Colombia The Right to Decide: Making it Work for Families”

Gün Bulgin – Turkey President, Down Türkiye Down Sendromu Derneği “Where It All Starts; The Family”

Martina Fuga, CoorDown – Italy "What is the Future for People with Down Syndrome? The Importance of Becoming an Adult: the Experience of CoorDown and the Project “Casa al Sole."

Professor Monica Cuskelly – Australia Associate Professor, School of Education, The University of Queensland, “Constructing Futures: The Roles of Family”

Marcus Frank – Brazil Senior Expert, McKinsey & Co., Inclusion of People with Down Syndrome in the Workplace and the Role of Families in the Process”

Shunli Liu (self advocate), Yonghong Li, Amei Sun – China “One Day, One Change”

Julian Escallon (self advocate) – Canada A Passionate Life with Creative Supports”

Shoko Kanazawa (self advocate) – Japan nationally recognized Calligrapher “Live Together”

Sara Weir & Sara Wolff (self advocate) – United States President, National Down Syndrome Society, and NDSS self advocate, “ABLE Act is Now the Law of the Land – What Does This Mean for the Futures of All People with Down Syndrome in the United States”


People with Down syndrome, on an equal basis with other people, must be able to enjoy full and equal rights, both as children and adults with ‘opportunities’ and ‘choices’. Download our 'My Opportunities, My Choices' Information Leaflet.

People with Down syndrome face many challenges as children and adults which may prevent them enjoying their basic human rights. Many people often fail to understand that people with Down syndrome are people first, who may require additional support, but should be recognised by society on an equal basis with others, without discrimination on the basis of disability. 

Families have a deep personal interest in the well-being of their members with Down syndrome. Empowering families to promote the equal status of their members with Down syndrome in society and development is crucial, so that they can provide support, advocate for opportunities and choices and empower people with Down syndrome to express their own views and make their own decisions, as well as advocate for themselves.

For the 10th anniversary of World Down Syndrome Day and in the ‘21’st anniversary year of the ‘International Year of the Family’, this conference looked at the role of families and the positive contribution that they can make towards the enjoyment of full and equal rights for people with Down syndrome.


The World Down Syndrome Day Conference was sponsored by the Permanent Missions to the United Nations of Australia, Brazil, India, Iran, Japan, Republic of Korea, Poland, Qatar and Singapore, UNICEF, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), International Disability Alliance and Inclusion International.


If you have any queries please contact Down Syndrome International.

We look forward to meeting you all again for the 2016 World Down Syndrome Day Conference!


To learn more about the WDSD Conference and watch previous UN Webcasts, check out DSi's WDSD Conference pages.