The International Educational Rehabilitation Forum “Vladivostok 2019” was held on the territory of the Far Eastern Federal University (Vladivostok, Russia) from September 23 to 28, 2019.
The Forum was organized by the All-Russian Association of the Blind (VOS), VOS Cultural and Sport Rehabilitation Center (CSRC VOS), Foundation for the Support of Creative Initiatives of Persons with Disabilities “In the Name of Good”, and the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education (UNESCO IITE).
The forum provided a platform for dialogue and discussion on information communication technologies in education, with a military-patriotic bloc being one of its dimensions. Over 100 delegates attended the forum from Russia, India, and China. The forum brought together visually impaired people – young people mainly, specialists working with visually impaired and blind people, managers and employees of the Administration of Primorsky Krai, Ministries of Education, non-profit, international, and private organizations.
The networking and dialogue at the forum aimed to discuss issues of improving the rehabilitation activities for the visually impaired in Russia, India and China by sharing best practices, technologies and techniques, building reliable partnerships between public organizations of the three countries, as well as aspects of further development of military-patriotic education of young people in light of the fact that during the Second World War, Forum member countries heroically fought against one common enemy.
At the opening session of the Forum, Mr. Tao Zhan, Director of UNESCO IITE, welcoming the participants, drew their attention to the fact that since ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities by the Russian Federation on 25 September 2012 “… the country has been making significant efforts to rehabilitate people with various health restrictions and integrate them into modern society. Particular attention is being paid to ensuring equity and quality education, as well as continuing educational opportunities for all, without exception. UNESCO, as the leading UN specialized agency in the field of education, fully shares these aspirations … Inclusive education is an integral part of the fundamental principles of equality and active social integration”. Mr. Tao Zhan expressed confidence that modern technologies and tools significantly contribute to the practical implementation of these principles, and concluded that “in this regard, UNESCO IITE highly appreciates building cooperation with the All-Russian Society of the Blind and “The Culture and Sport Rehabilitation Center” based on shared commitment and goals”.
Within the events of the forum, round tables, master classes and seminars with priority topics on rehabilitation of visually impaired people, creative, intellectual and sports competitions using the most advanced information technologies (intellectual games, sports, board games and etc.), evenings of meetings, concerts with the participation of professional artists, visually impaired people, members of delegations, and ceremonies with the participation of honored guests, including heads of delegates from Russia, India and China were organized.
On September 26, UNESCO IITE, in partnership with CSRC VOS and Elita Group LLC, inaugurated the Center for ICT Competencies in the city of Vladivostok (Far Eastern Federal District, the Russian Federation) on the basis of the Primorsky regional OSI organization for educational, enlightening, as well as other social work for the disabled by sight, members of their families, teachers and specialists working with visually impaired and blind people. To equip the center, Elita Group LLC provided a range of specialized software and hardware for free, including laptop computers with input/output Braille and a speech synthesizer “ElBraille”, electronic video magnifiers and other typhlo-technical devices.