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International conference to discuss inclusion of children with disabilities in society

BAKU/GENEVA/BERLIN, 15 September 2011 - UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, The Berliner Philharmoniker, visits Baku to raise awareness

A one-day international conference focusing on early detection, early childhood development, inclusive education, health care, urban planning to meet disability standards and stigma reduction will be held in in Baku, Azerbaijan on 20 September 2011. UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, the Berliner Philharmoniker, will also lend their name to support an ongoing public awareness campaign to raise awareness for supporting the inclusion of children with disabilities in all aspects of society.

The Government of Azerbaijan, UNICEF and the Heydar Aliyev Foundation

Key speakers include: 

  • Mrs. Mehriban Aliyeva, First Lady, President of the heydar Aliyev Foundation and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador  
  • Ms. Ivana Petricevic, Adviser for International Economic Cooperation and Structural Reform to the Prime Minister, Montenegro
  • and experts such as UNICEF Senior Advisor on Children with Disabilities, Rosangela Berman-Bieler.

Four musicians from the Berliner Philharmoniker will visit Baku to perform with the Azerbaijan National State Symphonic Orchestra on the evening of 20 September. The next day they will play music alongside children from a boarding school for students with visual impairments and see a live-in institution for children with psychological and neural disabilities. The following day, they will go to a day care where children with disabilities receive education while remaining to live with their families – a model that UNICEF supports.

There is a need for policy reforms and a change in attitude in much of Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States. Parents here still tend to hide children with disabilities because fear of stigmatization by society.  Parents of children without disabilities do not want their children to share classes, particularly with children who have mental disabilities. The overwhelming policy approach in the region has been to place children with disabilities in an institution and away from society even though studies show this is harmful, particularly for the development of children under three years of age. Often excluded and invisible, these children`s rights are often violated.

For media organizations interested in interviews with any key speakers or the Berliner Philharmoniker during and after the events, please contact:






The First Baku International Conference on Disability

(PDF documents require Acrobat Reader to view.)

Related links

Video: Find out more about the visit of the Goodwill Ambassador to help advocate for the rights of children with disabilities. Click here.

Profile: The Berliner Philharmoniker is one of the world’s finest orchestras with more than 120 full-time members. In 2002, led by Sir Simon Rattle, Artistic Director, the orchestra became a charitable foundation and with the support of Deutsche Bank established an education program to bring the music of the orchestra to a younger audience. The Orchestra and Sir Simon have been a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since 2007. Read more

The campaign: Read more on the "Abilities are Limitless" and see the campaign video.

(PDF documents require Acrobat Reader to view.)

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