The goal of bolstering quality of life, dignity and justice for people with diverse needs brings together nearly a thousand prominent leaders and advocates from civil society, indigenous backgrounds, academia, government, business and other areas at the 33rd Annual Pacific Rim International Conference on Disability and Diversity at the Modern Honolulu and Hilton Hawaiian Village. Presented by the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s Center on Disability Studies, 20 percent of those attending are from UH Mānoa.
Held October 9–11, this year’s conference encourages creating inclusion and commitment to taking transformative steps, urgently needed to shift the world onto a resilient path. It seeks to eliminate poverty, oppression and marginalization that disproportionately burden persons with disability, who make up 15 percent of the population worldwide. The conference interweaves the expertise of many with to build a knowledge base in order to advance opportunity and equality for people with disabilities.
The conference offers more than 200 seminars, workshops and professional development opportunities and cutting-edge research. Session topics cover: K–12 educational justice and reform, transition to adulthood, employment and disability, self-care and living well, aging with dignity, the power of art, advocacy and reform, accessibility in the built environment, assistive technology and breaking stigma. Highlights include an aging with dignity forum, film festival and first-ever book pavilion featuring Oscar winning directors and bestselling authors.
Keynote speakers include top neuroscientists such as bestselling author, James Doty, Massachusetts Institute for Technology’s Emile Bruneau, Hawaiʻi Department of Education Superintendent Christina Kishimoto and lead designer at Microsoft Kat Holmes.
“The purpose of the conference is to connect people, share what we consider cutting edge information, practical suggestions, to have a good time and celebrate the diversity that is represented among people with disabilities and their families,” said Pac Rim Conference co-chair and UH Mānoa Center on Disability Studies Director Patricia Morrissey.
The conference gives UH students the opportunity to take advantage of national and international expertise in disability studies. Center on Disability Studies faculty, students and researchers presented their academic contributions for an international audience.
“This conference is unbelievable, all the diversity that’s here, not just research but the services that are available to a very diverse population,” said Vania Simmons, graduate student in the Center on Disability Studies certificate program for disability studies.
For more information, visit the conference website.