Ones to watch at The 23rd RI World Congress!
Next week, three days of speeches, performances, questions and discussions among thousands of delegates will address ways to improve the lives of disabled people globally. It’s a landmark event eagerly anticipated every four years; and this year the 23rd RI World Congress will be hosted by The Shaw Trust in Edinburgh!
The RI organisation is the ‘world’s leading network for the rights and inclusion of disabled people’, founded in 1922 in the American Midwest. Today, the organisation operates on a global scale with hundreds of member groups carrying out the influential work of the network. This year’s Congress is extra-special for us, as Euan will be making an appearance at the opening ceremony on Tuesday!
What to expect
While there are numerous themes being explored from the 25th-27th October, inclusion is the key idea that will pull everything together. The programme is incredibly diverse, covering everything from independent living and sport to the world of work and leisure and tourism; but the ultimate objective is to address the challenges and strategies that will improve the lives of disabled people.
It isn’t all hard work – there is also a social programme and a series of exciting fringe events, including one we’re really looking forward to, Drake Music Scotland: Digital Orchestra. Look out for this happening on Thursday 27th October at 1.30pm to witness Scotland’s first digital orchestra deliver a sublime performance for this year’s delegates! The orchestra uses all kinds of musical technologies to allow disabled musicians to perform, including hand movements, jaw clicks and brainwaves.
Who’ll be there?
The Congress takes place at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre across the three days next week, and Euan will be speaking at the opening ceremony on day one! He’ll be introducing the RI World Congress alongside other key speakers including Nicola Sturgeon, HRH Princess Anne and a video welcome by Professor Stephen Hawking. What a line-up!
Speakers on the first day include Tressa Burke, the Chief Executive of Glasgow Disability Alliance. She’ll be speaking under the theme of Education and Training. On day two, the excitement grows as Mark Williams MBE, the Artistic Director of Heart n Soulappears; followed by a performance from singer Lizzie Emeh. Heart n Soul is an award-winning arts company and charity that works with talented and artistic people with learning disabilities.
The third and final day of the RI World Congress is particularly eventful, featuring ‘Question Time’ where speakers including those from the World Health Organisation and United Nations will answer pre-selected questions in front of an audience of 1000 delegates. Other featured speakers on day three include Colin Allen, President of the World Federation of Deaf People; and Graeme K Whippy MBE, Channel 4’s Disability Specialist.
It all wraps up with a special closing ceremony featuring official speeches and performances, including a video performance by solo percussionist, Dame Evelyn Glennie. Finally, we’ll be looking forward to a video from Denmark, host nation of the next RI World Congress in 2020! Who knows what the next four years will bring?