EU Conference on Inclusivity for the Disabled in the Workplace (February 2017)
February was indeed a very busy month wherein the Saint Lazarus Foundation, as active members of the European Disability Forum, was one of the co-hosting organisations responsible for a four day conference in Malta which saw all the major non-governmental organisations and European institutions meeting in Saint Paul's Bay and debating the need for action for more inclusivity for the Disabled in the Workplace.
More than 200 delegates from all the various related NGOs, organizations and institutions throughout Europe participated in this high level conference, organised during Malta's EU Presidency and also whilst celebrating the 20th anniversary of the founding of the European Disability Forum which represents 80 million European citizens in the highest EU institutions.
The conference featured the top officials and leaders of the main European and International civil society pillars in the sector in question, including the European Disability Forum, the European Union of Supported Employment, the World Association of Supported Employment, the European Association of Service Providers for the Disabled, Inclusion Europe, the European Network for Independent Living and many other institutions, apart from all the EU national disability federations and organizations specialising in employment for the disabled. Experts from various established UK universities, the World Health Organisation, the European Commission and many other international institutions also participated in the Conference.
The conference was opened on Thursday 16th February by the Parliamentary Secretary for the Disabled and the Elderly, the Hon. Dr. Justyne Caruana MP. Other speakers on the day included the National Commissioner for Persons with Disability and the National Commissioner for Persons with Mental Health Issues. On Friday the 17th, the top officials of the leading European institutions present for the Conference were represented in a meeting with the Prime Minister of Malta in the Auberge de Castille. On Saturday the 18th of February, H.E. The President of Malta opened the official EDF Committee Session, whilst MEPs Miriam Dalli and Roberta Metsola also addressed the Conference.
Simultaneous interpretation was given in the English and French languages throughout the Conference and Sign Language and Digitally Enhanced simultaneous captioning was also available for all the speakers. During these four days, the Saint Lazarus Foundation was also responsible for the hosting of the bi-annual investiture service and the investiture gala dinner.