Country: United States

Created by: Jonathan Murray

Director: Laura Korkoian

Executive Producers: Jonathan Murray, Laura Korkoan

Lead Actor: Elena Ashmore


The Emmy Award-winning series Born This Way follows the daily lives of seven young adults with Down syndrome, as they pursue their passions, strive to achieve their goals, explore friendships, romantic relationships and employment. In March 2017, Elena Ashmore, one of the lead cast members in the series was invited to speak at the annual World Down Syndrome Day observance at UN Headquarters. The series filmed Ms. Ashmore's participation in the event to highlight her emergence as a strong advocate for the rights of persons with Down syndrome.

In 2011, the United Nations General Assembly declared 21 March as World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD). Global activities and events around WDSD each year, organised by persons with Down syndrome, their families, friends and advocates, work to raise awareness of what Down syndrome is, what it means to have Down syndrome, and how people with Down syndrome play a vital role in our lives and communities. The 2017 observance at the UN focused on the need to enable people with Down syndrome and those who advocate for them to speak up, be heard and influence government policy and action, to ensure that they can be included, on a full and equal basis with others, in all aspects of society, by 2030, the target date for implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

CCOI's Role:

CCOI secured permission for Born This Way to film at UN Headquarters, coordinated the negotiation of a location agreement between the UN and Bunim Murray Productions, and made all logistical arrangements for the filming on location on the day of the event.

UN Locations: 

Trusteeship Council Chamber and 2nd floor of Conference Building 

Related UN Issues:

The Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Down Syndrome Awareness

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) - #4 Quality Education, #8 Decent Work and Economic Growth, #10 Reduced Inequalities, #11 Sustainable Cities and Communities 

News Coverage: 

[UN News] At UN event, people with Downs Syndrome ‘speak up' to influence government policy and action