World Down Syndrome Congress begins in Dubai

UAE was one of the first countries to sign international charter on rights of people of determination

By Staff Report

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Published: Thu 18 Nov 2021, 7:22 PM

The 14th World Down Syndrome Congress Dubai 2021 (WDSC) began on Thursday, bringing together 1,500 delegates, including people with Down Syndrome, their families and advocates, experts, specialists and researchers in the field.

The largest global congress of its kind, WDSC is a family-based event that provides an opportunity to share the challenges facing people with Down syndrome, hear their inspiring success stories and exchange knowledge and experiences about self- advocacy, empowerment and social inclusion.

Organised virtually on November 18-20 by the Emirates Down Syndrome Association, the event is being hosted for the first time by a country in the Middle East and North Africa region.


In a speech delivered at the opening ceremony, Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Higher Committee for the Protection of the Rights of People of Determination, highlighted the directives of the UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, to place the highest priority on meeting the needs and ensuring the welfare of people of determination.

He noted that the UAE was one of the first countries to sign the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2008.

He stressed the UAE’s keenness to provide protection, care and empowerment for ‘people of determination’, a term given by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to recognise their capabilities and achievements in various fields.

Sheikh Mansoor added that significant efforts have been made and several initiatives have been launched to transform Dubai into a city that is friendly to people of determination.

Hessa bint Essa Buhumaid, Minister of Community Development, said: “We are here to meet with, talk to, interact and integrate people with Down Syndrome into our community. We hope and always strive to support them and gain their confidence. We are committed to supporting all the families seeking to achieve their children’s dreams and aspirations.”

The three-day Congress sessions feature a rich agenda presented by an elite group of experts and specialists, including doctors, academics, researchers and self-advocates. The Congress presents the latest developments and research on Down Syndrome over the last three years. Topics of interest being discussed at the Congress include health, education, employment, sports, recreation and leisure.

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