The 17th Inclusion International World Congress is taking place from 30th May – 1st June at the ICC in Birmingham, UK.

Bringing together around 900 delegates from more than 60 countries, opinion formers, MPs and policy makers, the ICC in Birmingham will host the first Inclusion International World Congress in eight years, and feature talks from the UN, Human Rights Watch and UNICEF as well as Minister of State for Development, Lord Bates.

What is believed to be the largest gathering of learning disability campaigners in the world, the Congress is organised by Inclusion International – the international network of people with intellectual disabilities and their families – and sponsored by UK-based learning disability charity Mencap.

The three-day event offers a rare chance for people with a learning disability across the globe to share experiences and have their voices heard by MPs and policy makers who can drive change. It also aims to equip people with the skills to improve the inclusivity of their own communities.

During the World Congress, there will be a Global Self-Advocate Summit. Self-advocates are people with a learning disability who speak up for themselves on their rights and work for inclusion. At the Global Self-Advocate Summit, 400 self-advocates from every region of the world will come together to share their International Big Issues and launch calls to action – demands on what needs to change to make an inclusive world a reality.

Jan Tregelles Chief Executive of Mencap who are sponsoring the event, said:

“Despite years of active campaigning, people with a learning disability are still some of the most marginalised citizens in the world. The World Congress seeks to change this by offering a powerful platform for people with a learning disability to not only learn more about how they can change their local communities but share their experiences to inspire others. At Mencap, we are committed to transforming society’s attitudes to people with a learning disability and we are looking forward to coming together with other international disability groups to learn from each other.”

The World Congress programme includes presentations and workshops on inclusivity in all areas of life, from education to employment and advice for families and supporters on how to become a self-advocate and highlight issues in your local community. This year the congress also includes a cyber-inclusion lab, which will support people in using social media for advocacy and campaigning as well as workshops on cyber safety.

Self-advocate Senada Halilčević, Vice-President of Inclusion Europe,

“The World Congress is such a fantastic and important event when it comes to raising awareness of people with a learning disability. There are still so many areas that need improving, and the World Congress is a powerful place where things can happen. People with a learning disability have the same rights just like anyone else, the right to education, the right to live independently and be included in the community, to have a job, to take part in social activities and develop friendships and relationships.”

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