2016 Observance

“Autism and the 2030 Agenda: Inclusion and Neurodiversity”

Friday, 1 April 2016, 10 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
United Nations Headquarters, Trusteeship Council Chamber

The 2016 observance of World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD) will look ahead to 2030 and reflect on the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their implications for improving the lives of people with autism, through a series of brief segments - compact panels and moderated discussions – centered around key SDGs.

The event is organized by the United Nations Department of Public Information and Department of Economic and Social Affairs, and co-sponsored by the Permanent Missions of Argentina, Armenia, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Denmark, Ecuador, Israel, Italy, Kazakhstan and Poland.

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

10:30 a.m. Substantive Programme Begins

  • Introduction by Maher Nasser, Director, Outreach Division, DPI

10:35 a.m. Inclusive Education (Goal 4)

  • Jackie Ceonzo, Executive Director, The Special Needs Activity Center (SNACK)
  • Dr. John Maina, Director of Program Research, Evaluation and Development, Boston Higashi School
  • Alexis Wineman, undergraduate student and Miss Montana 2012
  • Moderator: Deborah Blum, Principal Attorney, Deborah J. Blum, Esq.

10:55 a.m. Bridging the Inequality Gap (Goal 10)

  • Saima Wazed Hossain, Chairperson of the National Advisory Committee on Autism, Bangladesh
  • Adam Lieberman, Special Citizens Futures Unlimited (SCFU) resident, student
  • Molly Ola Pinney, Founder, Global Autism Project
  • Moderator: Kahraman Haliscelik, NY Correspondent, Turkish Radio and Television

11:15 a.m. Video: Benjamin’s Story

11:25 a.m. The Autism Advantage: Follow-up to Secretary-General’s 2015 Call to Action (Goal 8)

  • Michael Fieldhouse, Director, Emerging Businesses & Federal Government, Hewlett Packard Enterprise
  • Thorkil Sonne, Founder, Specialisterne
  • José Velasco, Head, Autism at Work Program - U.S., SAP
  • Moderator: Vinita Singla, News Reporter, The New York Post

11:45 a.m. Accessible Communities (Goal 11)

  • Nipa Gandhi Bhuptani, Founder, Autism Support Network, Abu Dhabi
  • Kleo J. King, Deputy Commissioner and General Counsel, New York Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities
  • Alex Plank, Founder, wrongplanet.net
  • Moderator: David Ariosto, Correspondent, Al Jazeera America

12:05 p.m. Partnerships for Change (Goal 17)

  • Thomas Gass, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs, United Nations
  • Jill Houghton, Executive Director, US Business Leadership Network
  • Ari Ne‘eman, President, Autism Self Advocacy Network
  • Moderator: Jay Dow, Correspondent, WPIX-TV News

12:25 p.m. Closing Remarks

“Addressing Autism: Strategies for the Global Community in Relation to the Sustainable Development Goals”

Date: April 1st, 2016,Time: 3pm to 6pm
Location: Trusteeship Council Chamber - United Nation

High Level Special Event on World Autism Awareness Day Co-hosted by Mission of Bangladesh and Mission of Qatar and Autism Speaks Co-sponsored by Mission of India, Republic of Korea and The USA

3:00- 3:45p.m. Welcome and Opening

  • H.E. Mr.Kairat Abdrakhmanov, Vice-President of the 70th Session of United NationsGeneral Assembly
  • H.E. Mrs. Ban, Spouse of the Secretary General of the United Nations
  • H.E. Ms. Alya Al-Thani, Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar to the United Nations
  • H.E. Mr. Masud Bin Momen, Permanent Representative of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh to the UN
  • H.E. Mr. Syed Akbaruddin, Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations
  • H.E. Mr. Oh Joon, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea, President of the Conference of States Parties to the CRPD
  • H.E. Ms. Sarah Mendelson, Ambassador, Representative to ECOSOC, United States Mission to the United Nations(TBD)
  • Mrs. Suzanne Wright, Co-Founder of Autism Speaks

3:45- 4:00p.m. PANEL DISCUSSION:Addressing Autism Strategies for the Global Community in Relation to the Sustainable Development Goals

  • Key note address: Ms. Saima Wazed Hossain: WHO’s Expert Advisory Panel on Mental Health and Chairperson of the National Advisory Committee on Autism of Bangladesh

4:00 – 5:00 p.m


  • Dr. David Nabarro, Assistant Secretary-General, Special Adviser on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
  • Dr. Paulyn Jean B. Rosell-Ubial, Assistant Secretary, Department of Health, the Philippines.
  • Mr. Werner Obermeyer, Deputy Executive Director, WHO office in New York.
  • Dr. Maureen Durkin, Public Population Health Expert, University of Wisconsin, School of Medicine and Public Health.
  • Moderated: Dr. Kimber Bogard, Director, Forum on Investing in Young Children Globally


  • Interactive Dialogue Among Member States

Closing Remarks

5:45 – 6:00 p.m.

  • H.E. Ambassador Alya Ahmed Saif Al-Thani, Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar to the UN
  • H.E. Ambassador Masud Bin Momen, Permanent Representative of the People Bangladesh to the UN
  • Concluding remarks from Ms. Sue Herera, Anchor, CNBC