Brasilia: The government of Brazil has invited G3ict and World Enabled – two nonprofits with extensive global leadership in inclusive cities and accessible technology – to assist it with its efforts to guarantee the rights of persons with disabilities in the country. The two international nonprofit organizations will participate in an international seminar, Accessibility and Inclusion: Expression of Citizenship, on September 20-21. The purpose of the conference is to promote equal opportunities and social inclusion of persons with disabilities in Brazil. The event is being led by the Tribunal de Contas da União (TCU) in cooperation with other agencies of the government, including the National Secretariat for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (Secretaria Nacional de Promoção dos Direitos da Pessoa com Deficiência – SNPD).
At the international seminar, James Thurston, Vice President of strategy and development, at G3ict will inform a discussion about global trends in digital inclusion laws and policies and how good international practices can be applied in Brazil. “This event is very timely and poised to have a real impact in Brazil,” said Thurston. “The government of Brazil has been committed to making progress on digital inclusion and ICT accessibility for some time now. The leadership of the TCU and SNDPD is incredibly valuable.”
Dr. Victor Pineda, Executive Director of World Enabled, will be contributing to a discussion of universal design in cities in Brazil. “Through our Smart Cities for All global initiative in partnership with G3ict, we have created a unique and needed set of digital inclusion tools for cities.” Said Pineda. “We are confident they can be applied effectively Brazil.”
While in Brazil, both Pineda and Thurston will be meeting with leaders from Brazilian government, industry, and civil society to share best practices on accessibility policy and standards.
According to the G3ict 2016 Global Progress Report, only 40 percent of countries have accessible government websites. Additionally, a Smart Cities for All survey, which polled experts about the digital inclusion of persons with disabilities and older persons in smart cities, revealed that 60 percent of global experts believe that smart cities are failing people with disabilities. The same study revealed fewer than half of experts know of a smart city project with an explicit focus on accessible ICT.
Marco Antonio Pellegrini, Adjunct Secretary of the National Secretariat for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (SNDP), applauded the participation of Thurston and Pineda in the upcoming international seminar. “We are fortunate to have joining us here in Brazil two global experts of the caliber of Dr. Pineda and Mr. Thurston.” said Pellegrini. “We look forward to enlightening and productive exchanges with them over the next few days.”
Dr. Victor Santiago Pineda is the President of World Enabled. He also serves as president the Global Alliance on Accessible Technologies and Environments (GAATES). Dr. Pineda is a recognized leader in international disability rights and was appointed by US President Barak Obama to the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board. He teaches city planning at University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Pineda has received numerous awards, including a National Science Foundation (NSF) Innovation research grant, a Fulbright Hays Scholarship, and the AAPD Paul G. Hearne Leadership Award. Mr. Pineda received a B.A., B.S. and M.C.P. from the University of California, Berkeley and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles.
James Thurston is an internationally recognized technology policy leader. As G3ict’s Vice President for Global Strategy and Development, he leads the design and implementation of new programs to scale up G3ict’s global impact. He has served as advisor to high-ranking government leaders in the US and abroad on technology policy, human rights, and digital inclusion. He has experience applying both technology and public policy to important social and economic challenges. He holds broad policy and management experience in both the private and public sectors and at the federal, state, and international levels of government. Prior to joining G3ict, Mr. Thurston was Director of International Accessibility Policy at Microsoft, where he developed and executed a worldwide strategy to expand the company’s outreach on disability and technology issues. Mr. Thurston holds both a Master of Public Administration and an M.A. in East European Studies from the University of Washington, as well as a B.A. in International Affairs from the University of Maine.