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The First-Ever Global Disability Summit

A photo shot from the audience of the first-ever global disability summit. Speakers present onstage .

The first-ever Global Disability Summit was held on 24 July in London at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London.

Co-hosted by the United Kingdom government through its Department for International Development, the International Disability Alliance and the Government of Kenya, the summit attracted over 800 high-level attendees. These included heads of governments from around the world, representatives of various international non-governmental organisations including the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT), Disabled Persons Organisations, the chief executive offices of corporations as well as representatives from intergovernmental organisations including various arms of the United Nations, the World Bank and others.

The summit was the first time both the global humanitarian and development sectors formally convened to both celebrate the many achievements of people with disabilities but to also plan as to how they might work together to ensure aid is used … sufficiently.

Realised after Secretary of State for International Development of the United Kingdom, The Rt Hon Penny Mordaunt MP, called on both governments and donors across the world to ‘stand alongside people with disabilities in their country, commit to ending stigma, and fully value the contribution they can make to the success of their nations’.

The summit was the first time both the global humanitarian and development sectors formally convened to both celebrate the many achievements of people with disabilities but to also plan as to how they might work together to ensure aid is used to sufficiently protect the rights of persons with disabilities across international, national and institutional levels; to create an enduring impact and lasting change for people with disabilities across the world.

A number of themes were explored as the summit progressed; these included addressing stigma; supporting inclusive education; economic empowerment; and technology and providing better access to assistive technologies including assistive and augmentative communication devices. The summit heard speeches from many high profile attendees including Penny Mordaunt MP, who delivered her speech in British sign language, President of Ecuador Lenín Moreno, CEO of the World Bank Kristalina Georgieva, Vice-President of Argentina Gabriella Michetti, UAE Minister of Community Hessa bint Essa Buhumaid, Director General of the International Labour Organisation Guy Ryder and many more.

One of the International Communication Projects founding members, the RCSLT was represented by Chief Executive Officer, Kamini Gadhok MBE, who used the opportunity to advocate for people with communication disability. Kamini was able to successfully engage various stakeholders (including the representatives of the UN) to further the ICP’s strategic aim for the recognition of communication as a fundamental human right.


Article provided by the London-based Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists.