G3ict’s Smart Cities for All Country Representative Program Expands Global Network with Appointment of Three New Experts
The global Country Representative Program now features 23 Country Representatives including new appointments from India, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates.
ATLANTA (November 10, 2020) – The Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies (G3ict) announces three new Country Representatives through its Smart Cities for All global initiative. The following people have been appointed: Maisa Obeid (United Arab Emirates), Nasser Kettani (Morocco) and Subhash Chandra Vashishth (India).
G3ict’s global network of expert Country Representatives collaborate with disability advocates, governments, civil society, international organizations, industry leaders, and policy makers to make societies and communities more inclusive in the context of the UN SDGs (#11), the UN Habitat III New Urban Agenda, and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). As G3ict Country Representatives, these recognized experts are able to support their in-country leadership on accessibility and universal design for technology, transportation, and built environments in partnership with G3ict and its Smart Cities for All global initiative.
"I strongly believe in 'Collective Wisdom'. The idea of country representation for G3ict and Smart Cities for All gives us all an outstanding opportunity to open doors for sharing expertise and best practices from the subject matter experts around the globe. This can only advance us towards more inclusive cities to empower People of Determination as we in the UAE refer to the persons with disabilities," said Maisa Obeid, Accessibility Specialist. "Joining G3ict/SC4A Country Representative Program for the UAE is a great privilege for me! The government of UAE has undertaken several steps to empower persons with disabilities by implementing initiatives that ensure equal access to services for persons with disabilities. The UAE represents such a great centric place in the region that could promote ICT accessibility in a diverse community. I am very excited about the opportunity!"
Maisa Obeid is an accessibility specialist with nearly 12 years of experience in Assistive Technology and Accessibility. For a decade, she has been working with government and private organizations to promote Universal Design Standards and ensure disability inclusion. Currently, Maisa is an Accessibility Technology Specialist for Zayed University and is also pursuing her PhD graduate studies in e-Research and Technology Enhanced Learning with focus on digital accessibility at University of Lancaster (UK).
"Accessibility generally and ICT Accessibility specifically are major topics as our countries, cities, private and public sector institutions embark on a journey of Digital Transition. G3ict has pioneered inspiring work in this space since the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2007," said Nasser Kettani, Technologist and Digital Transformation Consultant. "I am honored to join the amazing G3ict/SC4A community as the Country Representative for Morocco and contribute to making an impact in my country."
Nasser Kettani has more than 30 years of international experience and is the former Microsoft Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for Middle East and Africa (MEA). He is a graduate from Orsay University (France) in Cognitive Science and Artificial Intelligence (AI). In his roles as a technologist, digital transformation consultant, ExO Coach, Certified DPO, teacher, author and entrepreneur, Nasser advises private and public sector institutions through their Digital Transformation journey as well as policy and regulatory engagements.
"I have joined the network of G3ict/SC4A Country Representatives to leverage my work of helping and building capacities of communities and practitioners to strategically implement the mandate of inclusion through accessibility not just across India but also in other developing economies," said Subhash Chandra Vashishth, Access & Diversity Inclusion Specialist. "Accessibility based on universal design has the potential to promote an equitable world by providing a level playing field for persons with diverse abilities. Together we can better ensure that this gets adopted and cherished by states, cities, towns and villages so that no one is left behind."
Subhash Chandra Vashishth is an Access and Diversity Inclusion Specialist and works on standards, capacity building, access audits and advocacy. As an Expert Member on Bureau of Indian Standards Committees for National Building Code and Smart Cities, he has contributed to standards formulation incorporating universal accessibility. He litigates disability rights cases before courts and is empaneled as Trainer for Access Audits as a part of Accessible India Campaign. Currently, he serves as the Director of Svayam.
"We are honored to welcome these three leaders into our global network of expert Country Representatives," said James Thurston, Vice President of G3ict. “We look forward to new and exciting collaboration opportunities with them that support greater inclusion in the UAE, India, and Morocco.”
In 2019, Global Alliance for Accessible Technologies and Environments (GAATES) redeployed its activities under G3ict and its Smart Cities for All global initiative. G3ict launched Smart Cities for All in 2016 in partnership with leading organizations from civil society and industry.
G3ict – the Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies – is an advocacy initiative launched in December 2006, in cooperation with the Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at UN DESA. Its mission is to facilitate and support the implementation of the dispositions of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) promoting digital accessibility and Assistive Technologies. Participating organizations include industry, academia, the public sector and organizations representing persons with disabilities. G3ict promotes good practices in digital accessibility policies and programs and provides tools for advocates around the world, including its Digital Accessibility Rights Evaluation Index (DARE Index) designed to benchmark countries' progress. Through its division IAAP, the International Association of Accessibility Professionals, G3ict offers professional development resources and certification to more than 2,000 members in 46 countries. Since 2011, G3ict has organized the M-Enabling Summit in cooperation with E.J. Krause and Associates which promotes innovation in accessible technologies and environments. For more information, please visit the G3ict website.
About Smart Cities for All
In 2016, G3ict partnered with leading civil society and industry organizations to launch the Smart Cities for All global initiative. Since then, Smart Cities for All has defined the state of ICT accessibility in cities worldwide and created tools and a path forward to improve the digital inclusion of persons with disabilities and older persons. Our goal is to eliminate the digital divide for persons with disabilities and older persons in Smart Cities around the world. We are partnering with leading organizations and companies to create and deploy the tools and strategies needed to build more inclusive Smart Cities.
Udita Singh, Communications Manager, G3ict, firstname.lastname@example.org
Promoting the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the Digital Age
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