The General Secretariat of The Executive Council of Dubai, under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, Chairman of the Higher Committee for Protection of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, organized the first edition of the “Dubai Inclusive Development Forum”. The event aimed at raising awareness and promoting the integration of people with disabilities in society.
The Dubai Inclusive Development Forum will took place on the 11th and 12th of October, 2015 at the Jowharah Ballroom of Madinat Jumeirah and it brought together foreign academics, policymakers, researchers, technical experts, as well as government representatives and persons with disabilities. The debates inspired community members to join efforts and take leadership in their areas of specialty. The Forum was a platform for persons with disabilities and stakeholders to discuss methods to seize current opportunities and overcome existing barriers in society. Through this evaluation and the guidance of local and international experts, the necessary training programs will be developed to translate the principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities into local laws and policies.
Dr. Peyvand Khalegian, Executive Director of Amana Healthcare, addressed the audience on the second day of the event with his keynote speech that highlighted the message – “Its not about the cure, Its about the care”. At Amana Healthcare, this principle is upheld in high regard for its patients who tend to be on the extreme end of the disability spectrum. Illustrations of success in this area were provided by Dr. Peyvand, some of which were made possible with the help of technological innovation in healthcare and the rest were rooted in the enhancing the quality of life of the patients through simple communication techniques. One of the patients at Amana Healthcare, Maryam Khamis Al Ali, was invited to the stage to speak about her journey since having been moved to Amana Healthcare. She talked about how being a ventilated patient there, had not stopped her from pursuing her spiritual goals. She was even able to make visits to the Abu Dhabi Grand Mosque, and go on outdoor trips to the mall, all made possible with the support of the team at Amana Healthcare. She continued her profession of teaching, by holding Arabic lessons for the staff at the facility as well. These stories about re-integration of disabled people into society was the key message of the address by Dr. Peyvand. He concluded his address by inviting the people of Dubai, as a community to work together in recognising the challenges disabled people face and find solutions to help include and re-integrate them back to society.
The idea of the forum was born from “My Community” initiative; launched in November, 2013 under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai. “My community” is meant to unite governmental and non-governmental efforts in turning Dubai into a disability-friendly city by the year 2020.