New York

02 April 2015

Secretary-General's message at a panel discussion on “Autism Awareness Day” (co-organized by the Permanent Missions of Bangladesh, India, Nigeria, Qatar, the Republic of Korea, the United States Mission and the Autism Speaks) [delivered by Mrs. Ban So

Thank you for joining us on this eighth World Autism Awareness Day!

I am pleased to be part of this High-Level Event on Autism.

This year, we are here to call for greater access and work opportunities for people with autism. With my husband, BAN ki-moon, we are delighted to launch an employment “Call to Action”.

There has been some progress -- but almost four out of five adults with autism are unemployed. Companies need to understand and appreciate their extraordinary skills. This large, untapped pool of talent deserves recognition. People with autism deserve all possible opportunities to contribute to our world.

We know what works: fighting discrimination, offering more vocational training and providing support for job placement.  This morning I attended a World Autism Awareness Day event focused on employment opportunities for persons with autism.  I was deeply moved by the amazing work of individual companies to create inclusive work environment.  People with autism can thrive and contribute to society through their work.

So, we want to invite businesses and other organisations to make concrete commitments to employ people on the autism spectrum. Public offices, corporations and small businesses can do so much more to create life-changing opportunities for people with autism.

All of us can help. Families, care-givers, service providers and friends can all support the integration of persons with autism into work.

Let us resolve to help people with autism realise their full potential – so they can help us realize a better future.

Thank you.