By Wang Yanfang
Intro: Zhang Haidi, president of Rehabilitation International (RI), presided over the autumn meetings of the RI Executive Committee and the Governing Assembly of RI members from Dec. 3-5, 2023, in Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia.
Zhang Haidi, president of Rehabilitation International (RI), presided over the organization’s autumn meetings Dec. 3-5, 2023, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital. The meetings included sessions for both the Executive Committee and the Governing Assembly of RI members.
Zhang pointed out that this autumn’s Executive Committee meeting was the first since Beijing successfully hosted a series of events and forums in May to commemorate RI’s 100th anniversary. She emphasized the meeting’s significance for the organization’s development over the next century.
Additionally, she outlined work requirements for the Executive Committee, introduced the progress in building the University of Rehabilitation Sciences in China, and expressed gratitude for the committee’s suggestions and support for the university’s construction.
She noted that the University of Rehabilitation Sciences is a global institution. She proposed hosting RI’s spring meeting there next year, a suggestion warmly received by Executive Committee members.
Zhang called for the establishment of international institutions for people with disabilities and an administrative framework for related affairs within the United Nations system, aiming to benefit the world’s 1.3 billion people with disabilities.
The Executive Committee listened to and deliberated on the work reports from the chairpersons of RI’s regional branches, several special committees, the secretary-general, and the treasurer. They also examined preparations for the 2024 World Congress of RI and deliberated on the organization’s future development. The meeting concluded with positive outcomes.
At the Governing Assembly of RI members, the 2022 auditor’s report and the 2024 budget were approved. The assembly also discussed the follow-up work of the centennial celebration, approved the preparation plan for the World Congress, and clarified the organization’s future focus and tasks. These developments received positive and warm responses from RI members.
Zhang, Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia Zhao Zhiyuan, and RI Executive Committee members participated in a special ceremony marking the topping-out of Alpha School for the Deaf in Addis Ababa. They distributed gifts essential for living and studying to the students and visited a project exhibition themed on the employment of people with disabilities.
On the sidelines of the meetings, Zhang attended a youth book club hosted by the Chinese Embassy in Ethiopia at Ambassador Zhao’s invitation. She shared her experiences studying and working, offered positive messages to the youth, and expressed hope that they would adhere to their high ideals, maintain their passion, and work hard.
Zhang also met with the staff of the Ethiopian branch of China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), a Chinese construction company undertaking the renovation project of Alpha School for the Deaf. She was invited to a symposium to introduce the achievements of RI and the cause of disability, which was warmly received by the staff.
Zhang visited Addis Ababa University and delivered a speech. The two sides explored rehabilitation talent training. Afterward, she invited university employees to visit and exchange ideas with the University of Rehabilitation Sciences in China.
Zhang was also invited to survey the rehabilitation and assistance services for children with Down syndrome and cerebral palsy, and to discuss cooperation with RI.