Strasbourg Freedom Drive 2013 Speakers

Strasbourg Freedom Drive 2013 Speakers

ENIL are honoured that there will be many distinguished speakers and experts on Independent Living and disability related topics at the Strasbourg Freedom Drive 2013 and over the next couple of months we will be telling you more about them.

John Evans, OBE
One of the opening speakers at the Freedom Drive Conference on the first day, 9th September 2013 will be John Evans, OBE. John Evans was one of the first people to set up an Independent Living scheme in the UK with funding to organise his own Personal Assistance. He has now been running his own scheme for over 25 years. He is a Disability Rights, Equalities and Diversity Consultant, Trainer and Researcher in the UK, specialising in Independent Living, Direct Payments, Disability Equality, Disability Rights and Human Rights. He commissioned the first piece of research on Direct Payments in the UK within BCODP (British Council of Disabled People). This was called “cashing in on independence” which was carried out by the Policy Studies Institute. He is a founding member of the European Coalition of Community Living (ECCL). He is a member of the advisory group of the European Network on Independent Living (ENIL) and is on the board of European Disability Forum (EDF).
In 2001, he was awarded the Order of the British Empire, OBE for services and work in Disability Rights and Independent Living. He was also awarded the Silver Banner Award by the Tuscany Regional Government in Italy in 2003, the European Year of Disabled People, for his distinguished international work in Independent Living and Human Rights for Disabled.

Adolf Ratza, Ph.D
Adolf Ratza will talk about Independent Living and the Elderly in the first session of the Freedom Drive Conference. Adolf Ratza was born in 1961 in Germany. At the age of 22 he won a scholarship to California. At that time the United States was the only country with personal assistance. In 1973, he moved to Sweden where the facilities were limited at the time. Ten years later, in 1984 he founded STIL Cooperative. STIL, the Stockholm Cooperative for Independent Living has become an international model of user-run personal assistance services based on direct payment system. Adolf Ratza is now Director of the Swedish based thinktank Independent Living Institute Sweden which formulates policy in the field of disability. Adolf Ratza is also the co-founder of the European Network on Independent Living (ENIL).

Judith Heumann
Judith Heumann will speak about Independent Living and International Development Cooperation at first session of the Freedom Drive Conference on the 9th September 2013. Born in the United States of America, Heumann is a disability rights advocate for people with disabilities. In 1970, Heumann along with several friends with disabilities founded Disabled in Action, an organisation that focussed on securing the protection of people with disabilities under civil rights laws. In 1983, she co-founded the World Institute on Disability with Ed Roberts and Joan Leon and served as co-director there until 1993. Heumann then served in the Clinton Administration as Assistant Secretary of the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services at the US Department of Education from 1993-2001. Between 2002 and 2006 she worked as the World Bank Groups first Advisor on Disability and Development leading the Worlds Bank work on disability. She then went on to become the Director of the Department of Disability Services for the District of Columbia. In 2010, she became the Special Advisor on Disability Rights for the US State Department under President Obama. Judith Heumann was the first recipient of the Henry B. Betts award from the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.

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