In keeping with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal 4 to educate the most vulnerable children around the world and to highlight its new initiative to train one million teachers by 2030, Perkins School for the Blind will host a panel at U.N. Headquarters on Tuesday, June 13, 2017 exploring best practices for educating children with multiple disabilities. The side-event, titled “Education is a human right: Global strategies for teaching the world’s most vulnerable children,” will take place during the 10th session of the Conference of States Parties to the U.N.’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).
Permanent Representative of Mexico to the U.N., H.E. Juan José Gómez Camacho will join a distinguished line-up of expert educators and advocates to address regional realities and the need to ensure that all children are afforded their right to a quality and inclusive education. The side event is co-sponsored by Antigua-Barbuda, Croatia, Kenya and Mexico.
The panel coincides with the launch of Perkins International Academy, an innovative training program that equips educators around the world with the knowledge and skills to effectively teach children who are visually impaired with multiple disabilities, including deafblindness. Currently, six million children and young adults (ages 0-24) around the world who have visual impairments with additional disabilities are in need of special education. In countries with scarce resources, educational programs for children with multiple disabilities are often insufficient or nonexistent.
H.E. Juan José Gómez Camacho is Permanent Representative of Mexico to the United Nations, and was formerly his country's Ambassador to the European Union, concurrently Head of Mission in Belgium and Luxembourg from December 2013 to February 2016. He represented Mexico at the U.N. in Geneva, Switzerland, and was ambassador to Singapore, Myanmar and Brunei-Darussalam. Ambassador Camacho was Director General for Human Rights and Democracy between 2000 and 2005 in Mexico's foreign ministry. He holds a master's in international law from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and a law degree from Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City.
Michael Delaney, Executive Director of Perkins International, oversees Perkins’ expanding work with global partners to improve educational opportunities for children and young adults with visual impairment including those with multiple disabilities. Delaney spent more than 15 years as Oxfam America’s Humanitarian Division director and brings that expertise to his innovative leadership in introducing the concept of Perkins International Academy. He teaches at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management of Brandeis University.
Maricar Marquez supervises the Independent Living Department at Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults (Sands Point, NY). Born in the Philippines and raised in Canada, Marquez is deafblind. She holds B.A. and M.A. degrees from Gallaudet University. Marquez has provided training and support to professionals, families and individuals who are deafblind throughout the U.S. and internationally. She is a role model, mentor and teacher, training people with deafblindness in self-determination, advocacy and independent living skill for 20 years.
Rosanne K. Silberman, Ed.D., is Professor Emeritus of Special Education at Hunter College, CUNY. She coordinated the Graduate Teacher Preparation Programs in Blindness and Visual Impairment and Severe Disabilities including Deafblindness. She is an experienced distance-learning educator. Dr. Silberman co-edited two key textbooks outlining proven strategies for teaching students who are visually impaired with severe and multiple disabilities, and has published numerous book chapters and journal articles. She received the 2015 Migel Medal, the highest award in the blindness field, from the American Foundation for the Blind.
Dave Power (moderator) is President and CEO of Perkins School for the Blind, founded in 1829 as the first school for the blind in the U.S. Perkins serves Ministries of Education around the world through its Perkins International division. A former business executive and parent of a Perkins graduate, Power is leading Perkins' mission to serve more children, train more teachers and leverage new technology to make the world more accessible. He earned the Lifetime Achievement Award from Tufts School of Engineering, graduated Stanford Business School as an Arjay Miller Scholar, and earned the Joanna Fussa Teaching Award from Harvard Extension School.