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Disrupting Disability: Innovating, Implementing, and Influencing

April 24, 2018

Preston Auditorium, World Bank HQ, 1818 H Street NW, Washington, D.C.


Photo via Shutterstock

  • Join us online at 9:30 am on April 24 ET in three ways: 


    Disruptive technologies such as the Internet of things, artificial intelligence, robotics, cloud computing, and big data can radically change how persons across the spectrum of disabilities control and interact with their surroundings, access and create information, and manage and receive services. Digital technologies are a catalyst for promoting equity and inclusion for persons with disabilities in all aspects of life, including independent living, education, employment, access to financial services, and disaster risk management. When digital development is not inclusive of persons with disabilities, existing social and economic barriers may persist, and new barriers may arise, leading to an uneven distribution of benefits among all people in society.

    On April 24th, 2018, speakers from Microsoft, AT&T, Benetech, World Enabled, G3ict, USAID, and the World Bank Group will showcase the potential of technology for disability inclusion in development, present pioneering innovations that are solving real-world problems, and discuss practical ways to implement technology solutions in resource-limited contexts.

  • Thursday, April 24th, 2018 | Washington, D.C.

    9:30am – 9:45am: Opening remarks by Maninder Gill, Director, Social, Urban, Rural and Resilience Global Practice, World Bank

    9:45am – 11:00am: Active discussion between technology innovators from the private sector (Microsoft, AT&T, Benetech confirmed), and development implementers (USAID, DFID, WBG), sharing bold ideas on “Innovation and Promise” – followed by Q&A

    Megan Lawrence, Accessibility Technical Evangelist, Microsoft
    Susan Diegelman, AT&T Director of Public Affairs
    Betsy Beaumon, President, Benetech
    Axel Leblois, President, The Global Initiative for Inclusive ICTs (G3ict)
    Tony Bloome, USAID Senior Education Technology Specialist

    11:00am – 11:15am: Coffee Break

    11:15am – 12:20pm: Panel discussion “Putting Accessibility into Action” moderated by Charlotte McClain-Nhlapo, Global Disability Advisor, World Bank – followed by Q&A

    Victor Piñeda, President and Founder, World Enabled
    Jane Treadwell, Practice Manager, Transport and ICT Global Practice, World Bank

    12:20pm – 12:30pm: Closing remarks by Ede

    12:30pm – 1:30pm: Lunch

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    Betsy Beaumon

    Technology Social Entrepreneur, Benetech

    Betsy Beaumon is a tech social entrepreneur and engineer who leads all of Benetech's programs - across education, human rights, poverty and the environment. She is the co-founder of two software companies and an authority on accessible materials. She defined the concept of “Born Accessible,” a vision where all digital content is made accessible to everyone when created.


    Tony Bloome

    Senior Education Technology Specialist, USAID

    Anthony Bloome is the Senior Education Technology Specialist at USAID. He has worked as a distance education specialist at USAID since 2009 where he provides technical advice to HQ, missions and counterpart agencies regarding the appropriate uses of technology to support quality educational outcomes in developing countries. He is the campaign director for All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development, a global competition to catalyze innovations to advance early grade reading, and is the founder of the Mobiles in Education (mEducation) Alliance, an international stakeholder initiative designed to evaluate and dramatically accelerate the scalable utilization of appropriate technologies to support education. Prior to joining USAID, he was Peace Corps' technology for development specialist for three years and a distance education specialist for the World Bank in Washington, D.C. and Zimbabwe for eleven years where he focused on technology for health, education, and youth and workforce development among other topic areas. He has a MA in International Telecommunications from George Mason University.


    Maitreyi Das

    Practice Manager, SURR Global Practice, World Bank

    Maitreyi Bordia Das is the World Bank's Practice Manager for the Social, Urban, Rural and Resilience Global Practice. Previously, she was the Global Lead for Social Inclusion. Based in Washington DC, she works on issues of inequality and exclusion and on the design and implementation of social policy and programs. Among other publications, Dr. Das is also the lead author of the 2013 report, "Inclusion Matters: The Foundation for Shared Prosperity" and most recently of "Scaling the Heights: Social Inclusion and Sustainable Development in Himachal Pradesh". She started her career as a lecturer in St Stephen's College, University of Delhi, has been a MacArthur Fellow at the Harvard Center of Population and Development Studies and worked as advisor to the United Nations Development Program. She has a PhD in Sociology (Demography) from the University of Maryland. Before joining the World Bank, Dr. Das was in the Indian Administrative Service (IAS).


    Susan Diegelman

    Director of Public Affairs, AT&T

    A veteran of the enterprise software, cloud computing and mobile technology industries, Susan collaborates with teams across AT&T to ensure products delivered to market are fully accessible. Bringing a background in market strategy and stakeholder relations, Susan joined AT&T in 2006. She currently works closely with stakeholders in the rural, senior and disability communities to partner and work toward mutual policy objectives. Susan earned her Bachelor’s degree in Cultural Anthropology from Mount Holyoke College and a Master’s degree in Social Anthropology from the University of Kent in Canterbury, England. Susan serves on the Board of Directors for the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) and the Mount Holyoke Club of the National Capitol Region.


    Maninder Gill

    Director, SURR Global Practice, World Bank

    Maninder S. Gill is Director for the Social, Urban, Rural and Resilience (SURR) Global Practice at the World Bank Group. In this position, Mr. Gill leads the Practice’s engagement on Social Development. Prior to this assignment, he was the Director responsible for the design and implementation of the World Bank’s internal institutional reforms. Mr. Gill joined the Bank in 1995, and has held several positions in the social development sector over the years, including as Sector Manager for the social development units in the Bank’s Europe and Central Asia Region, and the Latin America and Caribbean Region. Earlier in his career, Mr. Gill worked in the Indian civil service, where his assignments included being the chief executive of a medium sized town, director of rural development programs at the district level, and project manager for the resettlement program associated with a large hydro-cum-irrigation project. Mr. Gill is an Indian national and holds an MBA in Finance and Marketing from Punjabi University.


    Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez

    Senior Director, SURR Global Practice, World Bank

    Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez is the Senior Director for the World Bank Group’s Social, Urban, Rural and Resilience Global Practice. In this position, Mr. Ijjasz-Vasquez leads a team of over 600 technical experts deployed across the world, leveraging global knowledge and collaborating with partners to help tackle the world’s most complex development challenges in: social inclusion and sustainability; mainstreaming resilience in all dimensions development; territorial and rural development; and urban planning, services and institutions. Before this, he was Director for Sustainable Development of the Latin America and Caribbean Region since November 2011, covering infrastructure, environment and climate change, social development, agriculture and rural development, disaster risk management, and urban development. From 2007 to 2011, he was based in Beijing, where he managed the Sustainable Development Unit for China and Mongolia. Earlier in his career, he managed the global trust-funded programs ESMAP and WSP in energy and water and sanitation, respectively. Mr. Ijjasz has a Ph.D. and a M.Sc. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in civil and environmental engineering, with specialization in hydrology and water resources. He has been a lecturer at the Environmental Science and Policy Program at Johns Hopkins University, and at Tsinghua University. He is a Colombian and Hungarian national.


    Megan Lawrence

    PhD, Microsoft

    Megan Lawrence is an Accessibility Technical Evangelist at Microsoft. Dr. Lawrence builds trusted relationships with customers, NGOs, and Assistive Technology partners to further Microsoft’s mission of empowering every person and organization to achieve more through the lens of inclusion. Megan keeps customers and the disability community up-to-date on the latest at Microsoft Accessibility including how we continue to build a culture of inclusion and how built-in accessibility is the lens of innovation in Microsoft technology. Megan leads the Accessibility User Research Collective, a partnership with the Shepherd Center, as a way for users with disabilities to provide feedback to Microsoft and help shape the future technology.


    Axel Leblois

    President, G3ICT

    Axel Leblois is the president of G3ict, the Global Initiative for Inclusive ICTs, a global advocacy organization he founded in 2006 in cooperation with UNDESA, the IT industry and organizations of persons with disabilities to promote the digital accessibility and assistive technologies dispositions of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Prior to leading G3ict, Axel Leblois spent over 20 years at the helm of information technology companies in the United States including as CEO of Computerworld Communications, CEO of IDC - International Data Corporation, Vice-Chairman of IDG - International Data Group, President of Bull HN Worldwide Information Systems - formerly Honeywell Information Systems, CEO of ExecuTrain and President of W2i, the Wireless Internet Institute while serving on the board of several publicly traded technology companies.


    Charlotte McClain-Nhlapo

    Global Disability Advisor, World Bank

    Charlotte McClain-Nhlapo is the Global Disability Advisor for the World Bank Group. She supports operational teams across the institution to ensure that Bank policies, programs and projects are disability inclusive. In 2011, she was appointed by President Obama to lead USAID’s work on disability inclusive development. Prior to this, she worked as a senior operations officer at the Bank in the East Asia Pacific and Africa regions. She has served as a Commissioner to the South African Human Rights Commission and project officer on child protection for UNICEF. Charlotte holds Law Degrees in Public International Law and Administration from the University of Warsaw, Poland and Cornell Law School.


    Victor Piñeda

    President, World Enabled

    Dr. Victor Santiago Pineda is the President of World Enabled and the Global Alliance for Accessible Technology and Environments (GAATES). He is a recognized leader in inclusive urban development and human rights. Dr. Pineda was appointed by US President Barak Obama to the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board and serves as the Co-Chair of the Global Network for Disability Inclusive and Accessible Urban Development. He teaches as an Adjunct Professor in City & Regional Planning at University of California, Berkeley. His research explores the theory and practice of inclusive development through urban policy, planning and design. Dr. Pineda’s work helps improve equity based outcomes in urban resilience, inclusion and sustainability. Previously he held positions as the UC Berkeley Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow, Fulbright-Hays Fellow, and Senior Research Fellow at the World Institute on Disability. He has received numerous grants and awards, including a National Science Foundation (NSF) Innovation research grant, Jefferson Award, and the AAPD Paul G. Hearne Leadership Award. Dr. Pineda holds a Master’s in City and Regional Planning from UC Berkeley, and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles.


    Jane Treadwell

    Practice Manager, Transport and ICT Global Practice, World Bank

    Jane Treadwell is the World Bank’s ICT Practice Manager in Digital Services and Platforms. She leads the digital development teams in many parts of the world including Europe and Central Asia, to work with clients and partners to assist in understanding and shaping their digital economies and societies. Jane has enjoyed a successful career in government and in management consulting, spanning the areas of government transformation and reform, service delivery, design and IT management. She held senior executive roles in national and state governments in Australia and was the first CIO and Deputy CEO of Digital Business in Centrelink, Australia’s one-stop shop. In this role she pioneered a range of citizen-driven services and shared platforms across government in e- payments and emergency responses. Her variety of experiences and digital leadership led to consulting and advisory assignments with a number of international development organisations around the world. Jane has been recognised for her contribution to innovative and public sector leadership. She received the Australian iAwards Woman of the Year in 2011, is a Fellow of the Institute of Public Administration of Australia and was named National CIO of 2005.


    Siddhartha Raja

    Digital Development Senior Specialist, World Bank

    Siddhartha Raja is Digital Development senior specialist at the World Bank Group. He manages policy dialogue and investment programs focused on digital development. He has assisted governments design and implement policies and programs that connect more people to information, markets, and public services. Siddhartha’s work has led to the expansion of broadband connectivity, to people developing their digital skills and working online, and to exponential improvements in international connectivity in countries across Europe and Asia. He has written and has published regularly with the World Bank on telecommunications policy and digital work. Mr. Raja has a bachelor’s degree in telecommunications engineering from the University of Bombay, a master’s degree in infrastructure policy studies from Stanford University, has studied media law and policy at the University of Oxford, and has a doctorate in telecommunications policy from the University of Illinois.


    Timothy P. Shriver, Ph.D.

    Chairman of Special Olympics

    Timothy Shriver is the Chairman of the Board of Directors for Special Olympics International, and in that capacity, he serves with over 5.6 million Special Olympics athletes in 172 countries, all working to promote health, education, and a more unified world through the joy of sports. Before joining Special Olympics in 1996, Shriver was and remains a leading educator focusing on the social and emotional factors in learning. He co-founded and currently chairs the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), the leading school reform organization in the field of social and emotional learning. He is Co-Chair of the National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development, President of the Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation, member of the Board of Directors for the WPP Group, LLC, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and is a co-founder of Lovin’ Scoopful Ice Cream Company. Shriver earned his undergraduate degree from Yale University, a Master's degree from Catholic University, and a Doctorate in Education from the University of Connecticut. He has produced 4 films, is the author of the New York Times Best Selling book Fully Alive – Discovering What Matters Most, written numerous published articles, and has been rewarded with degrees and honors which he happily accepted on behalf of others. Shriver and his wife, Linda Potter, reside in the Washington, D.C. area and have five adult children.