Events in 2015
The launch of a Call to Action inviting business to make concrete commitments to employ persons with autism took place at an event entitled “Employment: The Autism Advantage” in observance of World Autism Awareness Day on Thursday, 2 April 2015.
Speakers included Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Governor Jack Markell of Delaware, and business executives from Ernst & Young, Freddie Mac, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, SAP and more. Bill Blakemore, award winning correspondent with ABC News, moderated.
The 2015 observance of World Autism Awareness Day was organized by the United Nations Department of Public Information and the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, in cooperation with The Specialist People Foundation, with the support of the United Nations Global Compact. The event was co-sponsored by the Permanent Missions of Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Denmark, Israel, the Republic of Korea, Peru, Poland and Sri Lanka to the United Nations.
The event focused on measures required to support growth in employment opportunities for people on the autism spectrum. The intention was to demonstrate that people with autism can be valued employees for employers who understand their unique and often exceptional skills, as well as what it takes to create work environments where people with autism can excel.See webcast of the event or click on each speaker below to see a clip of their presentation.
10:00 a.m. Welcome and Opening
- Cristina Gallach, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, United Nations
- Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations
- H.E. Mr. Einar Gunnarsson, Vice President of the General Assembly
- Keynote: “A Better Bottom Line“ – Jack Markell, Governor of Delaware
- Moderator, Sessions 1 and 2 - Bill Blakemore, award-winning news correspondent
10:30 a.m. Session 1: Setting the Scene
- Thorkil Sonne, Founder, Specialist People Foundation
- Prof. Arlene S. Kanter, Syracuse University
- Merry Barua, Director, Action For Autism and National Centre for Autism, India
- Ronnie Goldberg, Senior Counsel, U.S. Council for International Business; U.S. employer representative on the International Labor Organization’s Governing Body
- Prof. Rob Austin, Copenhagen Business School
- Zsuzsanna Szilvasy, President, Autism Europe
Presentations from the floor
- Mitch Levy, GM, ICT and Cyber Security, Department of Human Services, Australia, and Michael Fieldhouse, Account Executive, Hewlett-Packard
11:15 a.m. Session 2: Autism at Work
- Emily Brooks, graduate student
- John Hartman, artist, employee at Metro Kosher Deli
- Randy Richardson, Assistant Paralegal, Mayerson & Associates
- John Haley, CEO and Chairman, Towers Watson
- Tanja Rueckert, EVP and COO, Products and Innovation Development, SAP
- Mary Ellen Smith, Corporate Vice President, Operations, Microsoft
Presentations from the floor
- Robert Lux, Executive VP and CIO, Freddie Mac
- Jeremy Badman, COO, Oliver Wyman
- Ernie Dianastasis, Managing Director, CAI
- Rajesh Anandan, Co-founder, ULTRA Testing; SVP UNICEF Venutres, UNICEF-USA
- Lori Golden, Abilities Strategy Leader, Ernst & Young
- Rosa Oyama Ganiko, Dir. of Projects and Research, Centro Ann Sullivan de Perú
- Patrick Viesti, employee, SAP
- Thomas D'Eri, Co-Founder, Rising Tide Car Wash
- Sean Cruse, Research and Communications, United Nations Global Compact
12:50 p.m. Wrap-up
- Thomas Gass, ASG, DESA, United Nations
Download the invitation
Download the concept note
Opening Remarks By:
1) H.E. Ambassador Abulkalam Abdul Momen: Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations.
2) H.E. Ambassador Alya Ahmed S. Al-Thani: Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar to the United Nations.
- H.E. Ambassador of Bangladesh to the United Nations will introduce Mrs. Ban Soon-Taek.
- Mrs. Ban Soon-Taek Remarks.
- H.E. Ambassador of Bangladesh to the United Nations will introduce the Permanent Representative of India.
- Permanent Representative of India Remarks.
- H.E. Ambassador of the State of Qatar to the United Nations will introduce the Permanent Representative/ Deputy Permanent Representative of Nigeria, (TBC).
- Permanent Representative/ DPR of Nigeria Remarks.
- H.E. Ambassador of the State of Qatar to the United Nations will introduce the Deputy Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea.
- DPR of the Republic of Korea Remarks.
- H.E. Ambassador of the State of Qatar to the United Nations will introduce Mr. & Mrs. Wright.
- Mrs. Wright Remarks.
- H.E. Ambassador of Bangladesh to the United Nations will introduce Ms. Amina Mohammed.
- Mrs. Amina Mohammed Remarks.
- H.E. Ambassador of the State of Qatar to the United Nations will conclude the Opening Session and introduce Ms. Rebecca Jarvis: Chief Business & Economics Correspondent, ABC News- (Moderator).
Panel Discussion: Ms. Rebecca Jarvis introduces panelists and begins Q&A with:
- Ms. Saima Wazed Hossain: Chairperson of the National Advisory Committee on Autism of Bangladesh.
- H.E. Mrs. Amal Al Mannai (TBD): CEO of Qatar Foundation for Social Action.
- Dr. Andy Shih remarks: Senior Vice President of Scientific Affairs, Autism Speaks. Introduces whip-around. Whip-around (countries to include Dubai, Mexico, Albania and Morocco).
- Mr. Mohammed Badr Al Sada: Executive Director of AlShafallah Center (Qatar).
- Mrs. Dévora Kestel: Unit Chief, Mental Health and Substance Use Pan American Health Organization, PAHO/WHO.
- H.E. Sheikha Hessa bin Khalifa Al Thani (TBD): Former Special Rapporteur of the United Nations for persons with disabilities
- Dr. Steve Scherer: (Hospital for Sick Children, MSSNG)
- Ms. Helen Tager Flusberg: (Former President, INSAR).
- Ms. Rebecca Jarvis thanks audience and concludes session
Musical Presentation By Ms. Talina Toscano.
Art Exhibition by AlShafallah Centre (QATAR).
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