22–26 September 2002, Melbourne, Australia
The 13th World Congress of Inclusion International was attended by 900 delegates from all over the World with the title of ‘Life! Liberty! Security!’ There was a major input by self-advocates from Australia and New Zealand, where they have very vocal and strong self-advocates’ organisations. A very moving video was shown outlining the story of a person with an intellectual disability who was placed in a psychiatric hospital at a very early age. The main theme throughout the self-advocates’ programme was to get people with intellectually disabilities out of psychiatric hospitals and institutions.
With a total of 262 workshops, the programme of the Congress was wide-ranging, although severe learning disability and challenging behaviour was not discussed to any degree. Teresa Mallon and Brigid Butler, from the St John of God Menni Services in Dublin, gave a workshop on best practice in supported employment. Stephen Kealy, Moore Abbey, took part in the workshop on the contribution of science to the field of disability. Michael Noone of Sunbeam House Services was one of a panel of four who spoke on the Personal Outcomes service quality system.
There was a ‘policy research brief’, given by the Disability Foundaiton of Australia, on individual funding, entitled ‘Flavour of the Day, or Sea Change?’ This may be a forthcoming issue for us in Ireland.
Ireland should become more involved in such world conferences, as we could play a major role in helping emerging countries. Although in Ireland we still have no right to a service and there are many problems, many other countries are at the stage we were at perhaps twenty years ago.
The General Assembly of Inclusion International approved a new constitution with several changes in Council membership. Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe, Interamerica and the Arab region will now be represented on the Council, along with three self-advocates, the President, Past President, General Secretary and Treasurer. Jean Spain had put forward her name for nomination, supported by John O’Gorman who has retired from his long-standing role in the organisation, but because of the changes to the Constitution, voting did not take place. Don Willis, the out-going president of Inclusion International, presented an award (in absentia) to John O’Gorman for his many years of service to the worldwide organisation.