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Calls to Action

United Nations Panel Discussion on Global Awareness of Autism: Challenges, Responsibilities, Actions

April 23, 2008


To celebrate the first ever United Nations (UN) sanctioned World Autism Awareness Day, the UN held a Panel Discussion on autism. The event was sponsored by the Government of the State of Qatar in collaboration with the World Health Organization and Autism Speaks. H.E. Ambassador Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar to the UN gave the opening remarks followed by

View highlights from the UN panel
YouTube Vidoe ~ 3 minutes


H.E. Sha Zukang, Under Secretary General of Economic and Social Affairs. Riz Khan of Al Jazeera International served as the panel moderator.

The international group of speakers discussed the global aspect of autism and the role of member states as well as the role of the UN and other international organizations. Bob and Suzanne Wright, co-founders of Autism Speaks talked about the role of U.S. non-governmental organizations in the quest to raise awareness and fund research into the causes and treatments for autism. Renowned scientists addressed the audience including Prof. Tony Monaco, director of the Wellcome Trust Center of Human Genetics at Oxford University in the United Kingdom and Dr. David Shaffer, Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at Columbia University and NY State Psychiatric Institute.


The event ended with a lively question and answer period and then guests departed for the UN Art Exhibit which features artwork by artists with autism. . Click here view an archived webcast of the event. (Requires RealPlayer)

Ambassador Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser of the State of Qatar opened the panel