An Inspiring and Invigorating National Convention and International Forum

This past Saturday evening, The Arc and Inclusion International wrapped up an inspiring and invigorating National Convention & International Forum. If you weren’t able to join us in Washington, D.C. for the event, here are some photos and a video to give you a taste of what you missed.

Participants from across the U.S. and more than 25 countries including the U.K., Germany, China, Cambodia, Israel, New Zealand, Malwai, Spain, Panama and Kenya came together to promote the concept of inclusion for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. They discussed the tough issues, socialized and celebrated, and learned much from each other through informative sessions, meetings and fun events.

We heard from the former first lady of Panama who is a fierce advocate for people with I/DD along with Eve Hill from the U.S. Department of Justice speaking about her efforts to enforce laws which help people with I/DD live fuller lives in their communities with greater accessibility. Self-Advocate Ricardo Thornton and the chief of the UNICEF Disability Section shared their experiences with us and we were treated to a performance from the inclusive arts group, Artstream.

The Arc elected a new president of our Board of Directors, Nancy Webster, along with several new board members. And our out-going President, Mohan Mehra presented the President’s Award to Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue for his work in reducing the amount of time people with disabilities must wait to recieve benefits from his Administration. Also, we honored the amazing advocacy work of The Arc of Virginia and the efforts of Don and Laurie Istook of Istook’s Motorsports for helping create The Arc Audi Racing Program – a unique initiative to introduce professional race teams and fans and people with I/DD to each other.

We enjoyed a thought-provoking and entertaining The Arc & Sprout National Film Festival and we danced the night away with the National Hand Dance Association.

See all the highlights of The Arc and Inclusion International’s National Convention and International Forum in a video, produced by Jerry Smith of the Research & Training Center on Community Living, Institute on Community Integration, University of Minnesota.

Please check this post later in the week and watch our Facebook page for more photos.

We thank everyone who helped make this year’s event such as success and we hope you will consider joining us in Bellevue, Washington (near Seattle) in 2013 for The Arc’s National Convention and International Forum.