Conference discussed public inclusion policies and empowerment and rehabilitation of people with disabilities

The International Conference “Disability Policies: Challenges and Agenda-setting” was held on December 4 at the University of Minho (Auditorium B1 of the CPII), between 9.30 am and 5.30 pm. The event, aimed to mark the International Day of People with Disabilities (December 3), was organized by the CECS-Communication Sciences Research Cebter, in partnership with the Center for Research in Political Science of EEG-School of Economics and Management and the Office of Inclusion of University of Minho.

According to Carlos Veiga (CECS), one of the organizers of the event, “it is the purpose of this Conference to contribute to discuss the challenges of developing public inclusion policies and practices of habilitation and rehabilitation of people with disabilities”. The opportunity served to observe what is happening ten years after Portugal have signed the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

In this sense, the Conference was designed to provide contributions to address this concern and was divided into four panels, with a panoply of speakers considered important to discuss the issues of the event. Simon Prideaux, of the University of Leeds (Center for Disability Studies), spoke about “Disability politics and the rise of independent living”, and Demétrio Casado, director of the Seminário Intervención y Politicas Sociales [Intervention and Social Policy Seminar], which addressed the theme “Comunicación social em discapacidad. Cuestiones éticas y de estilo” [“Social communication in disability. Ethical and style issues”]. The morning closed with the second panel, where Carlos Barbosa, from the Gabinete para a Inclusão na Universidade do Minho [Office for Inclusion at the University of Minho] (“Práticas inclusivas na Universidade do Minho: reflexões e desafios” [“Inclusive practices at the University of Minho: reflections and challenges”]) and Lilia Pires and Alice Ribeiro from the Grupo de Trabalho para o Apoio a Estudantes com Deficiência no Ensino Superior [Working Group to Support Students with Disabilities in Higher Education]. In the afternoon, in the third panel, Jerónimo Sousa, director of the Centro de Reabilitaçãio Profissinal de Gaia [Center for Professional Rehabilitation of Gaia], addressed the “Agenda para a inclusão na vida ativa” [“Agenda for inclusion in active life”], and Carlos Veiga (CECS), the theme “Das políticas às práticas de inclusão profissional. O caso dos trabalhadores com deficiência intelectual” [“Professional inclusion: from policies to practices. The case of workers with intellectual disabilities”]. The last panel was filled with interventions by William de Melo (PhD student in Management Sciences), who spoke on “Movimentos sociais e políticas de diversidade funcional: o que estamos aprendendo neste processo” [“Social and political movements of functional diversity: what we are learning in this process”] and Fernando Fontes (Centro de Estudos Sociais da Universidade de Coimbra [Center for Social Studies of the University of Coimbra]), which spoke on “Políticas de deficiência em Portugal e os desafios à vida independente” [“Disability policies in Portugal and the challenges to independent living”].

The target audience includes UMinho’s faculty teachers, researchers, students and staff, in particular the undergraduate, masters and doctoral students of EEG and the Institute of Social Sciences. It also includes persons with disabilities, professionals and leaders of representative organizations and rehabilitation of persons with disabilities and, in general, all organizations of central, regional and local administration or of the social sector and other persons to whom the theme of the event might interest.