On April 3, we were honored to co-host a United Nations panel discussion, “Delivering Answers through Inclusive International Collaboration,” together with the Permanent Mission of Bangladesh, the United States Mission, and the Permanent Mission of the State of Qatar to the United Nations. The event served as a platform to bring the international community together in an effort to shed light on autism’s effect on families around the world, and what measures are being taken by leaders to better facilitate resources and services.
The discussion was started by H.E. Dr. A.K. Abdul Momen, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the U.N., as well as remarks from H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary-General, who unveiled special United Nations Postal Administration “Autism Awareness” stamps. The selection of the artwork for the stamps was the result of a partnership between Autism Speaks and the U.N. Postal Administration to search for talented artists with autism from around the world. In recognition of their work, seven out of the eight winning artists were in attendance for the unveiling.
Remarks were also made by H.E. President Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, President of the 66th U.N. General Assembly, H.E. Ms. Susan E. Rice, Permanent Representative of the United States to the U.N. and H.E. Sheikh Meshal Hamad M.J. Al-Thani , Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar to the U.N. Autism Speaks Co-founders Suzanne and Bob Wright thanked everyone in attendance and honored six-time Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Toni Braxton as an Autism Speaks Global Autism Ambassador.
Global affairs anchor for ABC News Christiane Amanpour served as moderator of the panel discussion. Panelists included Geraldine Dawson, Ph.D., Chief Science Officer, Autism Speaks; Shekhar Saxena, M.D., Director, Mental Health and Substance Abuse, World Health Organization; Saima Wazed Hossain, Chair of the National Advisory Committee on Autism in Bangladesh; Toni Braxton; and Michael John Carley, Executive Director of the Global and Regional Asperger Syndrome Partnership, Inc. (GRASP). (Read Michael John Carley's reflections on the panel here). The panelists discussed a variety of topics ranging from current autism treatments to the use of the internet as a training tool for parents and professionals. Towards the end of the program, the panelists participated in a question and answer session with members of the audience.
The evening ended with a lovely reception at the Bangladesh Mission hosted by Dr. A.K. Abdul Momen. For everyone in attendance, it helped raise international awareness and support for the millions of families affected by autism around the world.
Mark Roithmayr, Westchester/Fairfield Walk Now for Autism Speaks Walk Chair Doris Perez, her son Emil Jensen, Dr. A.K. Abdul Momen, and Peter Jensen
Geraldine Dawson, Ph.D, Dr. Shekhar Saxena, Professor Saima Wazed Hossain, Christiane Amanpour, Michael John Carley
H.E. Susan E. Rice, Permanent Representative of the United States to the UN
UN Postal Administration Autism Awareness Stamp Artists, J. A. Tan and his parents
UN Postal Administration Autism Awareness Stamp Artists, Trent Altman and his mother, Jackie
H.E. Dr. A.K. Abdul Momen, Toni Braxton, Professor Saima Wazed Hossain, and Bob Wright
Bob Wright, H.E. Dr. A.K. Abdul Momen, Dr. Shekhar Saxena, Suzanne Wright
Suzanne and Bob Wright, Co-founders of Autism Speaks
Bob and Suzanne Wright after presenting Toni Braxton as Autism Speaks' new Global Autism Ambassador