World Blindness Summit:

What it means to be blind and visually impaired

Host: ONCE, Spain

World Blindness Summit Program 2021

Note; all times are in GMT and as per the Madrid time zone, we encourage people to check their local time.

Also please note that all interactive sessions will be posted on the websites of World Blindness Summit, WBU and ICEVI for those who cannot attend due to time difference.

Thursday June 17

WBU Executive Committee meeting -  13.00 – 16.00  Madrid Time (MT) 11.00-14.00 GMT

Languages: English.

June 21 - 25

World blind Union internal business

During this first week, all WBU accredited delegates will have access to a dedicated website containing relevant documentation and information related to the internal business of the  World Blind Union.

In addition, WBU elections will be conducted this week through a specific online system.

A user guide for this first segment of the event will be shared in the coming weeks

Languages: English, French and Spanish.

Wednesday june 23

Plenary meeting of the Executive Committee of the Ibero-American Braille Council (CIB) - 14:00 - 17:00 Madrid Time (MT) 12.00-15:00 GMT.

Annual meeting of the CIB Executive Committee with the coordinators of the Technical Commissions. It will be addressed the progress of each of the working groups in the areas of Mathematics and Didactics of Braille. Topics of interest to the Executive Committee will also be discussed, such as the reactivation of the CIB web page, and the approval of the "Biannual Plan 2020-2021". Authorities representing the three member organizations of the Council will be present: ONCE (Spain), ULAC (Latin America and Brazil) and ACAPO (Portugal).

Language: Spanish.

Friday June 25

GTAC, Global Technology & Accessibility Conference 16:00 - 17:30 Madrid Time (MT) 14:00 - 15:30 GMT

Some of the greatest experts in accessibility and technology, from all over the world and the more innovative and disruptive companies, come together in a shared physical and virtual stage to discuss and contribute their diverse perspectives on the future for blind and partially sighted persons in the matter of consumer electronics and technical avant-garde. Topics such as Artificial Intelligence, new ways of maximizing technology by blind or low vision persons, real cutting-edge products that make life easier.

Mobility, leisure and culture, home automation and ambient intelligent webinar - 12:00 - 14:00 Madrid Time (MT) 10:00 - 12:00 GMT


  • Identify different areas in which mobility has a special impact for people with visual impairments. Difficulties in moving independently indoors, outdoors, public transportation...
  • Show how technologies might help to minimize or solve these situations. Wide range of solutions such as GPS to specific applications such as Moovit, Aroundme, routes identifications…
  • Different perspectives: software providers, developers, manufacturers, public sector, users experiences

Leisure and Culture

  • There are many recreation and leisure activities that can be adapted for people who are blind or have low vision, or for seniors who are losing their sight.
  • There is a wide range of recreational, social, and craft activities blind and visually impaired persons to consider, including crafting, card and board games, cultural activities, gardening, videogames, sports….
  • There are different solutions towards equal opportunities in this field. Manufacturer, developers, social agents.. are working to achieve it.

Home automation and ambient intelligence

  • There is going to be a dramatic disruption in the way we live in our homes through ambient Intelligence.
  • Manufacturer and developers are working in a digital home that proactively but sensibly, supports blind and visually impaired persons in their daily lives at home and provides the needed assistance through human centric technology. In addition AmI will find applications in several domains including retail, healthcare, manufacturing, smart cities and more
  • Ambient intelligence (AmI) represents the future vision of intelligent computing where explicit input and output devices will not be required; instead, sensors and processors will be embedded into everyday devices and the environment will adapt to the user’s needs and desires seamlessly. While the promise of AmI is exciting, it is important to recognize that there are many challenges.

Languages: English, French and Spanish.

Saturday, June 26

Youth Summit 16.00-18.00 Madrid Time (MT) 14.00-16.00 GMT

This meeting will provide a meeting point for future blind and low vision leaders. An opportunity for youth people to share initiatives, ideas and get to know each other in these challenging times.

Languages: English, French and Spanish.

Monday, June 28

Inaugural Session 11.00 – 12.00  Madrid Time (MT) 09.00-10.00 GMT

  • Welcome Remarks – President ONCE, D. Miguel Carballeda
  • Welcome Remarks – President WBU, Dr. Fredric Schroder
  • Welcome Remarks – President ICEVI, Dr. Frances Gentle
  • Inaugural Address (Government officials from Spain)
  • Keynote Address 1 (To be invited)

Languages: English, French and Spanish.

Partnerships for Change – Book Launch 12.00 – 12.30  Madrid Time (MT) 10.00-10.30 GMT

[A Book jointly prepared by ICEVI and the Overbrook Nippon Network on Educational Technology (ON-NET) highlighting the impact created by The Nippon Foundation (TNF) on the lives of persons with visual impairment in the East Asia Region with the application of Technology]

About the book: Larry Campbell, President Emeritus, ICEVI

Perspectives of the Alumnus: My education, my world


  • Sohankumar Motwani, Philippines
  • Vina Dipoirawan, Indonesia

Book release and Special Address: Mr. Yohei Sasakawa, Chairman, TNF

Languages: English, French and Spanish.

Plenary Session

12.30 – 14.00 Madrid Time (MT) 10.30 – 12.00 GMT

International cooperation and inclusion: a path to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Languages: English, French and Spanish.

CONCURRENT THEMATIC WEBINARS 14.30-22.00 Madrid Time (MT) 12.30-20.00 GMT

Session 1:

28-6-2021 - 14.30-16.00  Madrid Time (MT) 12.30-14.00 GMT

Work with Persons with MDVI – Challenges and Opportunities

The session will deal with the importance of communication, self-esteem and empowerment of persons with MDVI in poor and developing countries – over riding the limitations through immaculate planning and execution of programs in collaboration with the stakeholders.  It will show how government policy can be influenced to bring about the rights of persons with MDVI and how transition planning is important in their economic empowerment and self-worth.  Sharing of good practices, simple and common sensical adaptations and capacity building measures will be discussed. The Panel consisting of four experts addressing the work with persons with multiple disabilities and visual impairment (MDVI) brings together more than 100 years of experience amongst the three of them!  All 4 persons on the panel will share their knowledge and expertise gathered over 4 decades of conceptualizing, planning and implementing various programs for persons with MDVI and deaf blindness.  The panel will highlight the reality but will also give practical guidance and learning gleaned from working with persons with MDVI and deaf blindness. 


  • Nandini Rawal, Treasurer of the ICEVI and Executive Director of Blind People’s Association (India), a premier NGO

Languages: English, French and Spanish.

Higher Education for persons with Visual Impairment

The higher education program of ICEVI being implemented in Indonesia, Philippines, Cambodia, Myanmar, Mongolia, Vietnam and Laos with the support of The Nippon Foundation, is one of the flagship activities of ICEVI.  This program has made a profound impact in the field of higher education in the ASEAN region.  The project is implemented with the objective of creating inclusive environments at the higher education institutions and improving the technology skills of visually impaired students to cope up with their studies.  The program, which was started in 2007 in Indonesia and is currently operating in the seven countries, has assisted more than 2500 students with visual impairment in pursuing higher education. 

After being successful in increasing the number of blind and visually impaired students to enter universities, the Project is currently focusing on soft skills development and creation of employment opportunities for visually impaired graduates. To date, the project has also facilitated employment for more than 300 graduates.

The project partners underline that to develop inclusive labour market, intervention should be from two sides. The first one is the environment, which includes development of proactive government policies, sensitization of employers for creating jobs for visually impaired individuals and also making  reasonable accommodation in the work environment to bring out the best skills in visually impaired employees. The second is intervention with visually impaired individuals by improving their skills which enhances their employability and empowerment. 

Through this webinar, the project partners of Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam share their experience in increasing higher education opportunities for visually impaired students and also the strategies adopted by them in maximising their employment opportunities with a special focus on how they organised activities during the COVID 19 pandemic. 


  • Aria Indrawati, Regional President, ICEVI East Asia

Languages: English, French and Spanish.

Disability and Intersectionality: Joint efforts in promoting full inclusion

As stated in the CRPD articles 4, 5 and 6. Issues such as gender, multiple discrimination ETC. along with core elements of the Sustainable Development Goals constitute a large area of advocacy that still require further action by OPDs and other stakeholders.

This session, will deeply explore the current situation of disability and intersectionalities and how OPDs can play a unique role to eliminate existing forms of discrimination.

With the presence of high level experts and OPDs representatives who will bring the experience from regions around world, we will try to understand the challenges ahead of us and how to be better equipped for our national level advocacy.


  • Gertrude Oforiwa Fefoame, (WBU)

Languages: English, French and Spanish.

The future of work, new working environments post COVID-19

This session focused on reflecting, debating and disseminating good practices related to the future of work, from a disability-inclusive perspective. Different trends of the future of work will be considered, such as digital transformation, the skills revolution, cultural and demographic changes and the new “green” economy.

Each of these trends poses challenges and opportunities that need to be taken into account in order to guarantee that the future of work leaves no one behind and benefits all, including people with disabilities -more than 1 billion people in the world. The 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals remind us that people with disabilities are a vulnerable group. This perspective is essential to achieve a sustainable future and, in the end, and inclusive economy.


  • Fernando Riaño Riaño, WBU

Languages: English, French and Spanish.

Session 2:

28-6-2021 - 16.30-18.00  Madrid Time (MT) 14.30-16.00 GMT

Accessibility and role of OPDs in Building Back Better for/with everyone in the Decade of Action

Over the next 30 years, cities will shape every aspect of global development, including the way in which fundamental human rights are promoted, protected, and realized.

Already today more than half of the world’s population live in cities, and more than 15 percent of them are diverse persons with disabilities. Recent examples of global crisis like the Covid-19 pandemic, reminds us that much remains to be done to address discrimination and accessibility barriers which sustain inequalities and exclusion in urban areas. By 2050, 70 percent of the world’s population will live in cities, including 2 billion persons with disabilities and older persons. With 60% of urban settlements remaining to be built, there is a unique opportunity to shape a sustainable future that is inclusive of and accessible to all in line with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the Agenda 2030.

This session will discuss why engagement around inclusive and accessible urban development is critical to build back better, and the indispensable key role of OPDs to influence how our cities are planned and designed to ensure that accessibility barriers are removed, and no new ones are created. This session will open up for discussion on the potential of the New Urban Agenda as a locomotive to accelerate realisation of the CRPD at community levels, along how critical frameworks are supporting WBU’s and our partners’ work towards ensuring disability inclusion, accessibility and universal design are integral parts of urban policy and practice.


  • Hannes Lagrelious

Languages: English, French and Spanish.

Inclusive Education

The objective of this webinar is to reflect on the landscape of Inclusive Education and how it has developed over the past five decades, where we are at present in terms of including children with visual impairments in inclusive classrooms and how different stakeholders can advocate for effective implementation of inclusive education in practice, globally. The focus will be on how to facilitate overall systemic change to ensure inclusion, equity and quality education in compliance with the provisions of sdg4 and Article 24 of the UNCRPD.

The webinar will be addressed by a panel of experts from different regions of the world.  The diversity in the experience and knowledge of this esteemed panel allows for a multi-faceted discussion, ranging from academia and research, finance and resources, policy and practice as well as advocacy and implementation concerning inclusive education initiatives in developed and developing countries. Reference to the IDA Flagship Report, the Gem Report, and other national and international reports of relevance will also be made.


  • Dr. Praveena Sukhraj-Ely, First Vice President of ICEVI and representative of the World Blind Union on the International Disability Alliance Inclusive Education Task Team.

Languages: English, French and Spanish.

Parental Involvement

Parents of children who are blind or visually impaired, including those with multiple disabilities, share an emotional bond from the initial diagnosis, the need to understand how visual Impairment will affect their children’s development, and how to ensure that their child receives the medical care and special education to meet their needs. There is no stronger power than a parent’s love for their child. Come and join us to hear stories finar rom parents around the world about the significant role they have played in their children’s lives and the impact they have made collectively with their voices to advocate and support other families on the local, regional, national and international levels. This webinar is hosted by: The International Association of and for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments (IAPVI), a living entity and network of individual parents and parent organizations to encourage and educate families in raising their children with connection to resources for their children.


  • Susan LaVenture, North America and Caribbean Region ICEVI
    International Association of and for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments, (IAPVI) Chair

Languages: English, French and Spanish.

Accessible Learning Materials

Webinar Description:

More than 20 years ago Kofi Annan underlined that accessibility in education was much more than the school buildings. “Schools must be accessible, have qualified teachers and offer such amenities as textbooks". So how far have we come in the last two decades on the journey to ensure that textbooks are accessible to blind and partially sighted learners? This session will discuss national and international experiences from industrialized and less developed countries. It will present how an international capacity building programme has increased the availability of locally relevant resources, and outline how the model has adapted in response to the global pandemic. It will describe how the Bookshare programme has enabled access to nearly a million accessible books to nearly half a million people in over 90 countries. Attendees to this session will learn about practical resources to enable educators and other stakeholders to get more accessible books into the hands of learners with sight loss, and can decide whether real progress has been made toward to goal of accessible learning.


  • Richard Orme, Visionary Learning

Languages: English, French and Spanish.

Session 3: 

28-6-2021 - 18.30-20.00 Madrid Time (MT) 16.30-18.00 GMT

Partnerships as key element in the disability movement

Throughout all our years of existence we have witnessed that alone we have not achieved anything or at least our main objectives. It has been thanks to alliances with other organizations, with different governments and administrations that we have been listened to and have managed to put disability on the political agendas around the world. All organizations of and for people with disabilities have managed to improve and achieve their objectives thanks to alliances and sit at the negotiating tables to first of all claim their rights. All this was seen with the process of the United Nations Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Furthermore, collaboration between the different sectors of society has become one of the fundamental keys to sustainable development. Its importance has been fully recognized by the United Nations, by the private sector and by all leading institutions in international development. In fact, it has been valued through the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 17), which explicitly recognize all sectors of society as key development actors and allude to the need for an unprecedented level of cooperation and collaboration between civil society, companies, public administrations and the third sector for its achievement. We will seek in this webinar / workshop to promote and share good practices in matters of strategic alliances for disability to defend our rights and how to improve our relations with public and private entities.


  • Fernando Riaño Riaño, WBU

Languages: English, French and Spanish.

COVID 19 lessons learnt for a more inclusive and accessible world - How to build back better

WBU has documented a comprehensive report examining the extent to which COVID-19 pandemic has exposed some deep structural inequalities in society, and more so, how they play out when crisis strikes. Data gathered from the study is evidencing that persons with disabilities, older persons, and persons from lower socioeconomic status backgrounds are among those hardest hit by the pandemic. While this report puts a spotlight on the voices of blind and partially sighted persons, many of the experiences shared strongly resonate with numerous other studies that are also highlighting how marginalized groups have been affected by this crisis. Through this report, WBU hopes to raise awareness on the specifics of what those challenges have meant in reality for its constituents, as well as shed light on what have been effective resilience strategies for them.

This webinar will present the result of our WBU covid-19 Amplifying voices:Our Lives, Our Say report. And will give participants to exchange on some of the opportunities and challenges faced in time of pandemic.


  • Yana Zayed, WBU

Languages: English, French and Spanish.

Participation of people with disabilities and educators in the achievement of SDG 4

This webinar will explore the role of people with disabilities and educators of people with disabilities in ensuring education policy is inclusive. It will look at how the SDGs provide a framework for engagement with policy, particularly policy which requires multiple ministries and stakeholders to work together for a coherent objective. The panelists will discuss the frameworks for participation, and what meaningful participation looks like, and will then look at examples of how inclusive education policy can be improved through a collaborative and participatory approach. The objective of the session will be for attendees to understand how the SDGs can provide a framework for participatory decision making, and how to use them to ensure no one is left behind in education.


  • Andrew Griffiths, Head of Advocacy, Sightsavers 

Languages: English, French and Spanish.

Low vision innovation, trends and advancements in the prevention of blindness

Inherited retinal degenerations

Visual Disability. Support services.

ONCE membership and Ophthalmology advances.

European societies of rare diseases.

Languages: English, French and Spanish.

Session 4: 

28-6-2021 - 20.30-22.00  Madrid Time (MT) 18.30-20.00 GMT

Low Vision

We examine three aspects of persons with low vision in this topical webinar. Dr. Penny Rosenblum from the American Foundation for the Blind discusses research conducted last year on the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the education of infants, children, and youth with low vision. The studies resulted in information that helps families and professionals better understand the challenges and successes students with visual impairments, including those with additional disabilities and deafblindness, experience when educational services are delivered in unique ways. The AFB research also investigated how teachers and orientation and mobility instructors provided services when they did not have access to their usual instructional tools and methods. Martin Kieti discusses the “psychosocial gap” and highlights the challenges that students with low vision face as they struggle to fit into the classroom and learn at the same time.  To provide a life span perspective, Prof. Maria Rodrigues examines the quality of life of older persons with low vision. Questions will follow each presentation. 


  • Penny Rosenblum, Director of Research, American Foundation for the Blind
  • Kay Alicyn Ferrell, North American/Caribbean Regional President

Languages: English, French and Spanish.

Corporate responsibility and OPDs


  • Fernando Riaño Riaño, WBU

Implementing the Marrakesh Treaty: WBU training initiative

One of the World Blind Union’s key priorities is to advocate for accessible information and communications. We believe that increased information and greater knowledge improves the lives of all.This webinar aims at presenting some of the most recent developments carried out by WBU in favor of our community. We will explore from a set of training oportunities to national level advocacy and regional efforts to promote the Marrakech Treaty.


  • Scott Labarre, (WBU)

Languages: English, French and Spanish.

Tuesday,  June 29

Parallel Business sessions of WBU and ICEVI from 11.00 to 02.00 pm Madrid Time (MT) 09:00-12.00 GMT

Program Outline of WBU

Languages: English, French and Spanish.

11.00 – 12.30 Madrid Time (MT) 09:00-10.30 GMT:

  • Welcome by WBU president
  • Presentation of reports, resolutions, constitutional amendments, budget and other business adopted in the week of June 21/25
  • Obituaries
  • Presentation of election results
  • Any other business 

12.30 – 02.00 Madrid Time (MT) 10:30-12.00 GMT: 

Regional Reports by Regional Presidents

  • ABU
  • AFUB
  • EBU
  • WBU-AP
  • NA-C
  • ULAC

Program Outline of ICEVI

11.00 – 12.30 Madrid Time (MT) 09:00-10.30 GMT

Regional Meetings and Special Interest Groups

12.30 – 14.00 Madrid Time (MT) 10:30-12.00 GMT

ICEVI General Assembly

CONCURRENT THEMATIC WEBINARS 14.30 – 22.00 Madrid Time (MT) 12:30-20:00 GMT

Session 5:

29-6-2021 - 14.30-16.00  Madrid Time (MT) 12.30-14.00 GMT

Youth Leadership

Creating a demand for education was one of the key principles of the global campaign on education for all children with visual impairment (EFAVI) implemented by the International Council for Education of People with Visual Impairment acting in partnership with the World Blind Union.  As a result the campaign aimed at bringing youth leaders among persons with visual impairment to organise national networks and work with the parents thereby influencing them to value the education of their children with visual impairment.  ICEVI has been implementing higher education programme for visually impaired students in the East Asia region with the support of The Nippon Foundation and a program under the title country champions program was organised in the Philippines in 2017 involving visually impaired graduates who spoke on becoming change agents, coping with education and job situations, influencing legislations, etc. Encouraged by the positive impact created by this program, ICEVI regions conducted a number of youth leadership programmes in the last Quadrennium and the global ICEVI also included youth leadership as one of the strategies going forward. ICEVI believes that the youth leadership programme is one of the key strategies for empowerment. This Webinar brings some of the participants who attended the youth leadership program to share their experiences on how their networks are making an impact in the education of persons with visual impairment at the country level and also increasing opportunities for visually impaired students in both education and employment sectors.


  • Marie Joyce Lopez, Resources for the Blind, Philippines

Languages: English, French and Spanish.

COVID 19 intervention in services for person with Visual Impairment

In most countries in West Asia, lock-down was declared in the last week of March, 2020 without any scope for any specific preparations. COVID is an extraordinary situation with hardly any preparedness on the part of Government, NGOs, educational institutes, individuals, and even parents to cope up with education needs of children with special needs. All residential schools, hostels, and inclusive schools were completely closed. In many cases, students did not even have the opportunity to retrieve their Braille books and audio materials. Even after 1 year of lock-down of educational institutes, the situation is still not clear as to when schools shall open again.

The ICEVI West Asia motivated its partner organizations to develop online methods of teaching, evaluating performance and conduction examinations using the technology, audio material and virtual means of accessing the material. Due to hard work and persistent efforts of Special Educators and school management – 4 innovative initiative options in terms of teaching computer operations to children with visual impairment through the use of Mobile App; sharing of audio material through virtual means and providing access of audio material through internet; and seeking participation and involvement of parents in developing short videos on teaching functional skills to children with multiple disabilities have emerged. While all these approaches have been developed and implemented in India, these are relevant and can be replicated adopted in any developing country around the globe. The purpose of this webinar shall be to share these techniques with the participants and motivate them to evolve such cost effective and innovative means of reaching children at their home through virtual means. The presenters will also be sharing their experience, providing demonstration in respect of use of Apps and sharing social media links to enhance understanding of participants and to promote use of these virtual initiatives for ensuring education of such children during situation like covid.


  • Bhushan Punani, Regional President, ICEVI West Asia

Languages: English, French and Spanish.

Where’s Waldo? Where’s Wally?

Where's Waldo or "Where's Wally" outside of North America, is a series of children's books depicting a cartoon charter dressed in bright unique clothing who hides in plain sight in a crowd, hoping that you'll find him! The challenge is more difficult that one might imagine. The parallel in the non-cartoon world are electric vehicles.  You want to discover where they are, yet through their silence, remain hidden in plain sight, particularly when parked. A new product, aptly named "WALDO" enables ANY vehicle to be discovered providing automatic alerts of their presence, whether moving or parked, in a manner that supports the identification of location, with precision - for persons who are blind/partially-sighted.


  • Rob Nevin, WBU

Languages: English, French and Spanish.

Importance of employment to achieve the sustainable development goals

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a global blueprint to improve health and education, reduce inequality, and encourage economic growth in order to end poverty and other deprivations. There is no clearer path to ending poverty than meaningful and appropriately compensated employment. In this session, a panel comprised of businesspeople, disability activists, and service providers will discuss strategies for enhancing employment opportunities for people who are blind or have low vision. The panel presentation will by followed by a designated Question and Answer segment for attendees.


  • Karen Wolfe, WBU

Languages: English, French and Spanish.

Session 6: 

29-6-2021 - 16.30-18.00  Madrid Time (MT) 14.30-16.00 GMT

Climate Change in education of persons with disabilities

Persons with disabilities are amongst the most resource-poor groups in the world. Covid-19 has highlighted that they are also amongst the most likely to die from the virus. People with disabilities are at risk of further marginalization within society due to intersecting factors such as their gender, sexuality, ethnicity, religious adherence, level of education, and geographical location. It is not surprising therefore that they are most at risk people to the impacts of accelerating climate change. Practically, this means they and their communities are living with significant climate-related issues such as increasing storms, floods and landslides; droughts; wildfires; resources, infrastructure and living environments; extremes of temperature.

This session will focus on what this means specifically to the population of people who are blind or have low vision. It will draw on the ICEVI-IDDC led desk research into impact on climate change on the lives of individuals with visual impairment and their families and share best practice. It will explore the importance of accessible information; health and wellbeing considerations, working in disability inclusive partnerships in disaster risk reduction and much more.


  • Sian Tesni, Global Advisor – Education, CBM

Languages: English, French and Spanish.

Mathematics education for persons with visual impairment – Mani MNG (ICEVI)

Mathematics is one of the important subjects in the learning of any child as it contributes to skills in analytical thinking and also provides basic foundation for many technology related jobs. It is a pity that mathematics education is considered difficult for visually impaired children and as a result they have been denying opportunities to learn this subject. With the growth of inclusive education, learning of mathematics becomes inevitable and as a result efforts are underway in various parts of the world to devise strategies that would contribute to the learning of mathematics by visually impaired children. It is also encouraging that research areas have started focusing on the possibilities of higher education specialisation in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects by visually impaired students, which is building confidence among them that learning of mathematics is possible. The STEM strategies emphasise the need for teachers of visually impaired children to understand the methodologies of teaching mathematics effectively and to address this, many instructional materials are also emerging world over.  In this Webinar the presenters will highlight various instructional strategies and materials that include teaching methods, converting visual ideas into non-visual experiences, strategies to develop mathematics skills in preservice teachers of visually impaired students, video instructional materials on mathematics concepts that will promote learning of mathematics by visually impaired children, technology driven instructional strategies for interactive learning in mathematics, to name a few.


  • M.N.G. Mani, Chief Executive Officer, ICEVI

Languages: English, French and Spanish.

WBU Employment report launch

Employment of people with visual disabilities has been an ongoing concern and the WBU Employment Committee responded with a worldwide survey to clarify the facilitators and barriers to working faced by people who are blind or have low vision. The surveys were disseminated online in three languages: English, Spanish, and French. Responses were received from over 2400 people in 85 countries. Many respondents (62%) were currently employed and almost all (93%) had worked at some point in their lives. Both quantitative and qualitative responses were collected and analyzed. In this session, an overview of the survey results will be presented and discussed by panelists from the WBU Employment Committee, followed by a designated Question and Answer segment for attendees.


  • Karen Wolfe, WBU

Languages: English, French and Spanish.

Audio description around the globe

In November 2018, the World Blind Union and the American Council of the Blind released its “Survey of Worldwide Audio Description Activity” revealing for the first time the extent of audio description activity in various genres around the world.  This session brings together leaders in audio description from nine countries to discuss the extent to which audio description has become a meaningful method for improving access to the arts and other events.


  • Joel Snyder, WBU

Languages: English, French and Spanish.

Session 7: 

29-6-2021 - 16.30-20.00 Madrid Time (MT) 16.30-18.00 GMT

Social responsibility and leadership, the private sector and OPDs collaboration


  • Fernando Riaño, WBU

Languages: English, French and Spanish.

Orientation Session Accessibility Go! a guide to action

In this session, the World Blind Union (WBU) and CBM Global Disability Inclusion will give an orientation on the Accessibility GO! A Guide to Action. This is a practical resource to make change happen – supporting organisations at all levels to take action towards accessibility. With this guide, organisations will learn how to progressively achieve 7 core accessibility commitments across built environments, information and communications, procurement of goods and services, training and capacity development, programmes, meetings and events, recruitment and human resource (HR) management.

Through interactive dialogue and the sharing of lessons learnt and experiences, the session will provide WBU members with information on how to use the guide and kick-start the journey towards comprehensive accessibility. The components of the session include:

  • The business case for accessibility: understanding why accessibility, as a human right, is critical for building resilience, long-term sustainability of any community or organisation, and paramount to achieve inclusion.
  • The 7 accessibility commitments: understanding what accessibility means for an organisation and how to apply it across all areas of their work.
  • The 3-step process: understanding the main steps of the journey towards accessibility, from preparing and undertaking an assessment, to putting your accessibility plan into action and evaluating it.


  • Benjamin Dard, (WBU)

Languages: English, French and Spanish.

Visionary Learning Enabled by Technology

In many countries, technology has transformed education, and the pace of change has accelerated during 2020. What then are the opportunities and skills that will transform the life chances of blind and partially sighted learners? How can we ensure that technology is truly enabling education and is not a distraction or worse, a waste of scarce resources? This session will hear how the ICEVI Visionary Learning framework provides a simple model to place technology in a holistic context. We will learn how ICT for inclusive education helped to sustain the education of learners with visual impairment even during the pandemic. How essential IT skills are integrated into the curriculum in a South African school. And how a European NGO and a West African blindness organisation are working together to transform access to learning and employment in a multi-year project. Finally, we will hear from Kenya how stakeholders came together and are using the Visionary Learning model to develop and deliver improved education outcomes powered by accessible technologies.


  • Praveena Sukhraj or Gertrude Fefoame or Martin Keiti

Languages: English, French and Spanish.

Session 8:

29-6-2021 -20.30-22.00 Madrid Time (MT) 18.30-20.00 GMT

Early Childhood Care and Education

UNESCO identifies early childhood as the first and most critical stage of lifelong learning and development. This webinar is moderated by Dr Frances Gentle, President ICEVI, and presents perspectives on early childhood care and education for young children with visual impairment.


  • Dr. Frances Gentle, President, ICEVI

Languages: English, French and Spanish.

Innovative Approaches to Teacher Education - Kay Ferrell (ICEVI)

Sustainable Development Goal #4 envisions a world where an inclusive and equitable quality education is available to all.  Without trained personnel, however, there is no guarantee that inclusive education will be equitable for students with visual impairment, whose disability changes the manner in which they acquire information for learning.  The foundation of teacher education is that blindness and visual impairment affects how children learn, not what they learn.  Yet, even after more than 170 years of, teachers and community workers who understand this tenet remain few and far between.  If we are to meet the basic principle of SDG4, we will need more personnel who understand and know how to assist children with visual impairment to achieve their educational goals.  This webinar will present different models of teacher preparation that can help ensure an equitable quality education for all children who are blind and visually impaired.


  • Kay Alicyn Ferrell, North American/Caribbean Regional President

Languages: English, French and Spanish.

 New ways of getting from here to there, between floors

For persons who are blind, partially-sighted or deafblind, independent travel can be a challenge, though always desired!  This is worse in these days of COVID, where none are anxious to come in contact with signs, buttons, doors that may have previously been touched by strangers.  One common truth is that everyone, in routine travel, will eventually need to use an elevator.  This can be a problem for persons who are blind as a) one needs to learn the location of the elevator, b) find the button to call the elevator (contact) c) know of the arrival of your elevator d) find the interior controls and select your destination e) know of arrival at your destination and more.

KONE, a Finnish mega-manufacturer of "people moving equipment" with a daily service count of over 1 billion, has partnered with BlindSquare to address the problems head on,  simplifying travel inter-floor and beyond, with ease.  By touch on your own device, or command, using your own voice.

This panel will bring insights and describe the practical benefits.


  • Rob Nevin, (WBU)

Languages: English, French and Spanish.

Inclusive leadership and proposal

In a world where companies and organizations are increasingly global and at the same time closer to citizens, we have to be able to develop leadership based on diversity, promoting inclusion as the general norm of organizations. The idea of inclusive and purposeful leadership affects all stakeholders within an organization and all stages of the value chain of the organization. In order to promote inclusion and diversity, it is the top managers of the organizations themselves who must promote inclusion, stop acting as managers and exercise their leadership, leadership with purpose, not only in their environment but in everything that their entity projects. (brand, reputation, sustainability, responsibility, etc ..). With this webinar / workshop we seek to share ideas and experiences to foster inclusive and purposeful leadership development. We will have a panel of leaders from different organizations who have implemented actions, or who have managed to lead different teams so that their entity becomes a responsible company with inclusion and diversity.


  • Fernando Riaño, WBU

Languages: English, French and Spanish.

Wednesday,  June 30

Valedictory Session  12.30 – 14.00 Madrid Time (MT) 10:30-12.00 GMT

  • Welcome Remarks – President ONCE     
  • Welcome Remarks – President Elect, WBU     
  • Welcome Remarks – President Elect, ICEVI
  • Introduction of new regional presidents of WBU and ICEVI
  • WBU Awards     
  • Valedictory Address (To be invited)

    Incoming WBU executive Committee meeting  14.30 – 16.30 Madrid Time (MT) 12:30-13.30 GMT


  • June 18: Webinar Forum Nueva Economía. High level webinar with spanish CEO’s and president.