Sunday, February 12, 2012

First official World Down Syndrome Day will be celebrated at UN Headquarters March 21, 2012, with the Conference “Building Our Future”.

From the organizers of WDSD:

The first official World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) will be celebrated at the UN Headquarters in NY, on March 21 2012 (3/21), with the Conference “Building Our Future”.

Inclusive education, human rights and political participation, independent living, how to work with the media and research are some of the topics that will be discussed.

Check the Program:

World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) – “Building Our Future”
3/21 – Conference Room 2 – UN – NY– 10 to 2:30
10h to 10:30h – Opening
Welcome and Introductions Penny Robertson OAM, Chair of Board, Down Syndrome International (DSi)
UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon – Message on WDSD (to be confirmed)
Head of Brazilian and Polish Missions
Co-sponsor Organizations

1) 10:30h to 11h – UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and Inclusion – The Importance of Global Coordination Effort to Socialize the Convention
Rosangela Berman-Bieler – Senior Adviser on Children with Disabilities, UNICEF
Penny Robertson – Promoting inclusion in schools in Indonesia
Shona Robertson – Australia – Self-advocate – Australia on her education experience
Beatriz Paiva – Brazil – Self-advocate – Carpe Diem Association – Co-author of book on communication accessibility

2) 11h to 11:30h – Human Rights and Political Participation of Self-Advocates
Daniela Bas – Director of Division for Social Policy and Development (DESA), UN
Maria Alejandra Villanueva Contreras– Peru – Self-advocate– Fighting for her right to vote
David Egan – US – Self-advocate – Lobbying for his rights at the US Congress
Ester Nadal Tarrago – Spain – Self-advocate who participated on book on the Convention

3) 11:30h to 12:30h – Changing Society Attitudes – From Neglect and Institutionalization to Protagonist and Living in the Community
Rose Mordi – Nigeria – President of Down Syndrome Association Nigeria
K.S. Sripathi – India – State Chief Information Commissioner, Tamil Nadu Government, Down Syndrome Association of Tamil Nadu
Jason Kingsley – USA – Self-advocate, co-author of book “Count Us In: Growing Up With Down Syndrome”
Emily Perl Kingsley – USA – Mother, writer activist, author of “Welcome to Holland” – NY
Tom Forester – USA – Director of Residential Services – Association for Children with Down Syndrome/ACDS, Long Island, NY
Michael Brennan – USA – ACDS Group Home Resident

4) 12:30h to 1:00h – The Power of Media – A Guide to Work with the Media to Promote Inclusion
Michelle Whitten – USA – Global Down Syndrome Foundation – How to get media’s attention In a positive, constructive way
Patricia Almeida – Brazil – MetaSocial Institute– Brazil’s experience with WDSD and inclusive actions in collaboration with the Media
Tatiana Heiderich – Brazil/Holland – Self-advocate on her experience as a TV reporter

5) 1:00h to 2:00h – Care, Treatment and Research – What’s new on the DS front
Dr. Jose Florez –Director, Mass General Hospital Down Syndrome Clinic; Director, NDSC; Clinical Advisory Board, NDSS
Dr. Brian Chicoine – Medical Director, Adult Down Syndrome Center, Lutheran General Hospital; Scientific Advisory Research Group, DSi
Dr. Dennis McGuire – Director of Psychosocial Services, Adult Down Syndrome Center, Lutheran General Hospital; Scientific Advisory Research Group, DSi
Dr. Edward McCabe – Executive Director, Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome
Margie Doyle – Down Syndrome Research and Treatment Foundation (DSRTF) – Latest on research and how to help studies move faster

2:00h to 2:30h – Launch:
1) DSi 2012 WDSD Global Video Event
2) New WDSD Website
3) DSi UN Convention Global Outreach Programme
4) Book “Change the way you speak and I will change my way of understanding”- By Carolina Yuki Fijihira, Ana Beatriz Pierre Paiva, Beatriz Ananias Giordano, Carolina de Vecchio Maia, Carolina Reis Costa Golebski, Claudio Aleoni Arruda, Thiago Rodrigues, from Carpe Diem Association, Brazil
5) Book “The United Nations International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities commented by its Protagonists” – By Down España

2:30 – Closing

Organizers – Patricia Almeida and Jessamy Tang, Members of the Board of Trustees – Down Syndrome International

The event is sponsored by the Missions of Brazil and Poland to the UN and organized by Down Syndrome International with the collaboration of the Brazilian Federation of Associations of Down Syndrome (FBASD), Down España, Down Syndrome Research and Treatment Foundation (DSRTF), National Down Syndrome Center (NDSC), National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) , Special Olympics and the UN Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.


Participants from all around the world are welcome, especially those with Down syndrome.

There is no cost for registration. Confirmation to attend the event can be made by the email

Please inform name, email, age, nationality, relation to Down syndrome (self, parent, relative, professional, teacher, student, friend or other-specify), document number (passport, driver’s license, student´s ID), whether you have a disability and what kind and if you need a disability-related accommodation or service.

Only participants with their names on the list and an ID will be allowed in the building. Space is limited.

About Down syndrome

Down syndrome is a naturally occurring chromosomal arrangement that has always been a part of the human condition, being universally present across racial, gender or socio-economic lines, and affecting approximately 1 in 800 live births, although there is considerable variation worldwide. Down syndrome usually causes varying degrees of intellectual and physical disability and associated medical issues.

About World Down Syndrome Day

World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) has been established by Down Syndrome International and celebrated since 2006 and observer in over 60 countries in the world. It is held on March 21st (21/3) to signify the uniqueness of the triplication (trisomy) of chromosome 21 which causes this genetic ocurrence.

The aim of the day is to raise awareness and understanding about Down syndrome, and to promote the inherent rights of persons with Down syndrome to enjoy full and dignified lives and be active and valuable participants in their communities and society.

A resolution to designate 21/3 as “World Down Syndrome Day”, to be observed every year beginning in 2012, was adopted by consensus by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2011. The resolution was proposed and promoted by Brazil, and co-sponsored by 78 UN Member States. From 2012 onwards, the date will be celebrated by all 192 UN countries.

For information on Down Syndrome:

For more information on WDSD, visit DSi website.

To know about the resolution process at the UN, visit:

3/21 – 10h – “Building our Future” – UN Headquarters in NY – Conference Room 2