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Assistant Professor, King Saud University, College of Education, Department of Special Education
Accessible Information and Digital Accessibility Specialist
Heads of the Biomechatronics at the MIT Media Lab
Chair, Special Education University of Kansas
Professor of Human Genetics at the College of Medicine, Alfaisal University
Senior Consultant at King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research
Professor of Neurological Surgery and Neurology, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California
Visiting Associate, Division of Biology and Biological Engineering, California Institute of Technology
Lead Economist, World Bank
Distinguished Professor of Special Education and Co-founder/Co-director of the Beach Center on Disability at the University of Kansas
Co-founder and co-director of the Beach Center on Disability, the University of Kansas
Chief Medical Officer at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center
Communication and Projects Coordinator, Global Alliance on Accessible Technology and Environments, (GAATES), Canada
Academic and Training Director, Prince Salman Center for Disability Research
Staff Pediatric Neurologist - The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Assistant Professor - Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland,Ohio, USA
Chairperson, Committee of Family Support – Arab Network for Autism
Chairperson, Charitable Society Autism Families, KSA
Chairperson, Saudi Charitable Society for Schizophrenia Patients
Saudi Arabian Shoura Council Member
Professor of Inclusive Education in the UK
Editor of the world leading international journal Disability & Society
Supervisor of Visual Eurotium at General Authority for Special Education in the Ministry of Education
Assistant Professor at IRCCS Santa Lucia Foundation, Rome Italy and at Lumsa Dept of Human Studies, Rome, Italy
Practicing expert and consultant for social responsibility and corporate governance
President and Founder of Fatin al-Yafi office for consultancies
Emeritus President, World Federation of the Deaf
Ph.D. in Education - Special Education – 1410 H. 1990 AD. United States of America. Masters of Science - Education and Special Education 1402 H. 1982 AD. United States of America. Bachelor of Science – Sciences and Mathematics 1401 H. 1980 AD. United States of America.
Dave Gunn is an internationally recognised expert on making information accessible for people with disabilities, and advisor to commercial, non-profit and education sectors, with regular invitations to present at conferences around the world. After 15 years in the sector, including 9 years at RNIB (the Royal National Institute of Blind People, UK), Dave’s accomplishments include bringing about a step-change improvement in access to educational resources throughout the UK (both texts and images), and directly improving global eBook technologies support for accessibility. Dave now runs a specialist access consultancy advising major technology firms and publishers on next-generation eBook accessibility and usability, and working to improve access to education for people with disabilities around the world, with a specific focus on developing countries.
As a seasoned strategist, technologist and usability expert, Dave is unique placed to advise on both the immediate implementation of accessibility solutions, but also to make recommendations of progressive strategies for long term benefit.
Hugh Herr, who heads the Biomechatronics research group at the MIT Media Lab, is creating bionic limbs that emulate the function of natural limbs. In 2011, TIME magazine coined Herr the “Leader of the Bionic Age” because of his revolutionary work in the emerging field of biomechatronics—technology that marries human physiology with electromechanics. A double amputee himself, he is responsible for breakthrough advances in bionic limbs that provide greater mobility and new hope to those with physical disabilities. Herr’s research group has developed gait–adaptive knee prostheses for transfemoral amputees and variable impedance ankle–foot exoskeletons for patients suffering from drop foot, a gait pathology caused by stroke, cerebral palsy, and multiple sclerosis. He has also designed his own bionic legs, and the world’s first bionic foot and calf system called the BiOM. Herr is the author and coauthor of over 80 peer–reviewed manuscripts and patents, chronicling the science and technology behind his many innovations. The computer–controlled knee was named one of TIME magazine’s Top Ten Inventions in 2004; the robotic ankle–foot prosthesis, which mimics the action of a biological ankle and, for the first time, provides transtibial amputees with a natural gait, was named to the same list in 2007. Also in 2007, Herr was presented with the 13th annual Heinz Award for Technology, the Economy and Employment. Herr’s story has been told in the biography Second Ascent, The Story of Hugh Herr; a 2002 National Geographic film, Ascent: The Story of Hugh Herr; and in 2013 was featured in CNN, The Economist, Discover, and Nature.
Dr. Elizabeth B. Kozleski’s work theorizing systems change for equity, inclusive education, and professional learning for urban schools is well recognized nationally and internationally. She was awarded the UNESCO Chair in Inclusive International Research in 2005, received the TED-Merrill award for her leadership in special education teacher education in 2011, and the Scholar of the Century award from the University of Northern Colorado in 2013. Her research interests include the analysis of models of systems change in urban and large school systems, examining how teachers learn in practice in complex, diverse school settings, researching multicultural educational practices in the classroom improve student learning and the impact of professional learning schools on student and teacher learning. She is a member of SWIFT, the national technical assistance effort from the Office of Special Education Programs focused on creating, sustaining, and scaling inclusive schools nationwide. She is a senior advisor on the Collaboration for Educator Development, Accountability, and Reform (CEDAR), the OSEP funded project on teacher education. Professor Kozleski co-edits a book series for Teachers College Press on Disability, Culture, and Equity with Professor Alfredo Artiles. Her recent books include Ability, Equity, and Culture (with co-author Kathleen King Thorius) published in 2014 by Teachers College Press and Equity on Five Continents (with Alfredo Artiles and Federico Waitoller) published in 2011 by Harvard Education Press.
Fowzan S al-Kuraya is a Professor of Human Genetics at the College of Medicine, Alfaisal University, and a Principal Scientist and Senior Consultant at King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research. He graduated as the valedictorian of his class from College of Medicine, King Saud University in 1999. He completed his pediatric residency at Georgetown University Hospital, and his clinical and molecular genetics fellowship at Harvard Medical School where he also completed a postdoctoral research fellowship in developmental genetics.
Prof. al-Kuraya is the recipient of numerous awards, including first class honors from King Saud University, Fellow’s Outstanding Research Award from Harvard Medical School and Children’s Hospital Boston, Tamayoz Award from Dubai-Harvard Foundation of Medical Research and William King Bowes Award in Medical Genetics from Harvard Medical School. He has authored nearly 180 peer-reviewed articles and is on the editorial board of a number of prestigious genetic journals including the American Journal of Human Genetics. He is a frequently invited speaker in local, regional and international conferences on human genetics.
Dr. Liu completed his undergraduate education in Chemical Engineering at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and went on to receive his PhD in Chemical/Biomedical Engineering at Rice University. He then attended the Yale University School of Medicine, receiving his MD degree. He trained in neurosurgery at the University of Southern California Affiliated Hospitals. He is presently professor of neurosurgery, neurology, and biomedical engineering at the USC Keck School of Medicine and Viterbi School of Engineering. In addition, he holds the Apuzzo Professorship for Advanced Neurosurgery. He has long-standing collaborations at the California Institute of Technology, where he is appointed to the faculty as a Visiting Associate in the Division of Biology and Bioengineering. He is also Director of the USC Center for Neurorestoration, which functions to bring scientific advances in the laboratory and engineers new tools to restore function to the injured and diseased nervous system. He also serves as the Surgical Director of the USC Comprehensive Epilepsy Program, one of the premier and highest volume surgical epilepsy programs in the world. He has received numerous research awards and made a large number of visitorships/invited lectures throughout the world. He also serves as Associate Editor of the journal, WORLD NEUROSURGERY. He is a principal neurosurgical consultant for the NCAA USC Trojans Athletics Department. In addition, he serves as the Chair of the International Division on the Executive Committee of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons. At Rancho los Amigos, Dr. Liu is Chair of the Department of Neurosurgery, Associate Chief Medical Officer, and he is developing cutting-edge programs in restorative neurosurgery, collaborating with scientists at USC, Caltech, UC Irvine, amongst others.
Aleksandra Posarac is a Lead Economist with the World Bank. She is currently posted in the Philippines where she is leading the World Bank program in Health, Education, Social Protection and Labor, Social Development and Poverty. From 2008 to 2013 she served as the World Bank Advisor for Disability and Development. During her tenure, she led the World Bank analytical and advisory work on Disability and Development. She is a co-executive editor of the World Report on Disability published in 2011 by the WHO and the World Bank. She has provided high level policy and strategic advice and led projects and analytical studies in more than 20 countries across the world, including Russia, Albania, Kyrgyzstan, Jordan, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Lebanon, Fiji, Ecuador, Argentina, Seychelles, Mozambique, Malaysia, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Her areas of specialization include social security, social assistance, social protection, and public expenditures.
Dr. Turnbull is a Distinguished Professor of Special Education and Co-founder/Co-director of the Beach Center on Disability at the University of Kansas (United States). The Beach Center on Disability is a vital hub of research and development on quality of life issues for individuals with disabilities and their families. Dr. Turnbull has been the Principal Investigator on over 25 federally funded research grants.
In 1999, Dr. Turnbull was selected by seven U.S. professional and family organizations as one of 36 individuals who “changed the course of history for individuals with intellectual disabilities and their families across the 20th century.” She also received the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy International Leadership Award in 1990. Dr. Turnbull has been the President of the American Association on Intellectual Disabilities. In addition to her professional credentials, she is the parent of three children, one of whom, Jay (1967-2009), was an adult son with multiple disabilities who Ann considers to be her “best professor.”
Professor Turnbull is a lawyer whose research, training, technical assistance, and advocacy is intended to dignify individuals and families affected by disability, and to enhance their lives by changing the policy contexts and communities in which they live. He co-founded and co-directs the Beach Center on Disability, the University of Kansas, with his wife, Ann. Alone or with his colleagues, he has been author or editor of more than 350 articles, books, chapters, technical reports and monographs, and a memoir about his now-deceased son, who had multiple disabilities. He is a Distinguished Professor and law/special education educator.
He has been a national leader of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (president), Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law (chair, board of trustees), American Bar Association Commission on Disability Law (chairman), The Arc of U.S.A. (secretary/director), and TASH: The Association for the Severely Handicapped (treasurer/director). His peers have recognized him as one of 36 individuals who “changed the course of history for individuals with intellectual disabilities and their families across the 20th Century.”
Dr. Mindy Aisen is currently Chief Medical Officer at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center, where she participates in research, administration, direct patient care and medical education activities.She is also Clinical Professor, Neurology and Chief of Neurorehabilitation at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine. She is Principal Investigator Southern California Spinal Cord Injury Model System Site. Dr. Aisen graduated from MIT with a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering and received her M.D. degree from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Su rgeons She completed her post-doctoral clinical training in Neurology at the New York Hospital/Cornell University and is Board certified in Neurology. She was faculty at Cornell becoming Associate Professor, providing neurological care and conducting research in rehabilitation engineering. Dr. Aisen was Director and Chief Executive Officer of the United Cerebral Palsy Research and Educational Foundation (now known as CPIRF). She served as National Director of rehabilitation Research and Development for the Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington, D.C. She is a former President of the American Society of Neurorehabilitation. And former member of the Board of Directors of the American Society of Experimental Neural Therapeutics. Also, former member of the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Neurology. She has served as Editor in Chief of the Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development, and a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of Paralyzed Veterans of America. Dr. Aisen has spent her entire adult life involved in research and medical care related to improving the lives of persons with disability; this includes designing electronic toys for children with learning disorders as an undergraduate mechanical engineering student at MIT, and throughout her career as a Neurologist. This year she will be named as a Fellow of the American Society for Neurologic Rehabilitation, in recognition of her contributions to the field.
Andres Balcazar is a Mexican architect involved in the disability movement since 1995. He’s an independent accessibility consultant working for the Global Alliance on Accessible Technologies and Environments (GAATES9).
He has conducted accessibility audits for several private and governmental facilities, including Mexico’s Congress Building and another public an private institutions. We worked for five year at the Mexican National Council for Persons with Disabilities, in charge of monitoring implementation of disability related polices and programs and specifically developing accessibility federal policies and regulations.
He has been external consultant for national and international non-governmetnal organizations. His last works include: A study about the situation of schools’ accessibility in Mexico and Accessibility Guidelines for the Ministry of Public Education. Diagnostic on the Situation and Monitoring of Human Rights of People with Disabilities in Mexico, for the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Seminar on legal capacity in Mexico, for Rehabilitation International.
He was part of the panel of experts for the Universal Design Best Practices Study, developed by ICTA and the Canadian Human Rights Commission.
He is also a professor of urban accessibility at the Faculty of Architecture of the Mexico’s National Autonomous University since 2006.
Dr. Brent Eugene Betit is a graduate of Dartmouth College, B.A. magna cum laude, with Highest Distinction in English Language and Literature (1979). He later received his doctorate in Education at Fielding Graduate University. His dissertation, “Participatory Action Planning,” which included the development and empirical testing of a simplified, inclusive methodology for enterprise strategic planning, received the Society for College and University Planning’s [SCUP] award for the best graduate dissertation on planning in 2004, and he was subsequently invited to present his model and findings at SCUP’s 39th annual international conference and expo in Toronto, Canada.
After a diverse early career that included founding a still-extant technology company at age 26, working as a journalist and staff editor of a bi-monthly national magazine, and teaching in the public school system, Dr. Betit moved on to become a staff founder of the world’s first college for students with learning disabilities in 1985. Dr. Betit spent his early career building Landmark College, over nearly three decades successfully serving in every senior management role within the President’s Cabinet and firmly establishing Landmark College as the premier two- and four-year college for students with learning disabilities in the world. During his tenure as the longest-serving senior administrator in the College’s history, the college generated excess revenue in every fiscal year, growing enrollment six-fold, ultimately employing nearly 250 full time faculty and staff, and serving more than ten thousand students, who have advanced to extraordinary accomplishments throughout the entire world – in careers including artist, musician, actor, attorney, business CEO, inventor, journalist, politician, fireman, policeman, teacher, professor, professional athlete, technology innovator, and entrepreneur. This student legacy is Dr. Betit’s most profound and enduring contribution to humanity to date.
Appointed the Executive Director of the Landmark College Institute for Research and Training, during his tenure Dr. Betit quintupled the size of Institute staffing and increased its gross revenue tenfold over a 6-year period, securing over $5 million in federal grants and a Congressional Award (directed grant) focused on integrating assistive technology into the postsecondary teaching environment – obtained with the assistance of United States Senator Patrick Leahy (VT).
Dr. Betit has presented on topics related to learning disabilities and assistive technologies around the world, including a session on Assistive Technologies at CHADD’s 2005 annual International Conference in Dallas, Texas, a further presentation on Assistive Technologies at the International Academy of Research in Learning Disabilities 2005 annual conference in Valencia, Spain, a 2009 Symposium on postsecondary learning disabilities in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and most recently a 2013 webinar, “Helping Students with Learning Disabilities Succeed,” hosted by Inside Higher Ed and co-presented by Dr. Manju Banerjee of the Landmark College Institute for Research and Training.
On the personal side, Dr. Betit has colorful and illustrious progenitors. France is the Betit family's ancestral home. Charles François Bétille – one of Dr. Betit’s ancestral Grandfathers – was a seasonal fisherman – pêcheur – who captained a cod fishing vessel off the coast of Nova Scotia in the mid-1700s. His ship was destroyed by the British during the Seven Years ' War in the early 1760s, and Charles never returned to France, instead founding a prolific clan that dispersed Bétille (later, Betil, then Betit) descendants throughout Canada, Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, New York, and many other States.
A 7th generation Vermonter, Dr. Betit also maintains a home in the house he was born in, within the small mountain village of Whitingham, Vermont – birthplace of Mormon Church forefather and founder of Salt Lake City, Brigham Young – where Dr. Betit’s two sons currently reside. While his French surname descends from his paternal side, his ancestral maternal line includes his 11th Grandfather, Stephen Hopkins, the only Mayflower passenger who had previously visited the New World and one of the 41 signatories to the Mayflower Compact, and his daughter Constance (Constanta) Hopkins – Dr. Betit’s 10th Grandmother – who at age 14 stepped off the Mayflower with her father in December, 1620, onto the beach of what would later become known as Provincetown, Massachusetts, thereafter marrying Nicholas Snow and giving birth to 12 children, all of whom survived into adulthood, producing the genealogical line that occasioned Dr. Betit’s later birth.
In June, 2014, Dr. Betit enthusiastically accepted an executive role at the Prince Salman Center for Disability Research [PSCDR], where he oversees the Academic and Training division and serves on Executive Director Dr. Sultan bin Turki Al-Sedairy’s senior management team.
Dr. Mohammed Aldosari has recently joined the Center for Pediatric Neurology at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and Case Western Reserve University, both in Cleveland, Ohio, USA. He specializes in the evaluation and management of pediatric behavioral disorders especially Autism and ADHD and collaborates closely with Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Autism. In addition, he evaluates and manages spasticity in children with various neurological disorders using advanced techniques for chemo-denervation and ITB. Prior to joining the Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Aldosari established and directed the Center for Autism Research, Riyadh , Saudi Arabia which is a novel collaborative venture between the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center and the Saudi Basic Industries Company (SABIC) commissioned to transfer knowledge and technology to Saudi Arabia and the region. He also directed autism clinics at several private and public institutions. Dr. Aldosari is American Board Certified in Pediatrics and in Child Neurology. He has multiple publications and presentations in national and international journals and meetings in the field of autism and spasticity. He is the principle investigator of several ongoing studies including “Prevalence of Autism in Qatar” which is funded by Qatar National Research Foundation, and “Accelerating the Language Development of Saudi Autistic Children using LENA ( Language ENvironment Analysis ) Systems” which is funded by King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology.
Samira Bint Abdullah Al-Faisal Al-Farhan Al-Saud, Chairperson of Committee of Family Support and Chairperson of Saudi Charitable Society for Schizophrenia Patients (the first association of this class in the Arab world) founded Mother of Faisal Autism Center (MFAC) and a member of many relevant regional and international associations. She holds the Medal of Sharjah for Volunteer Work in the Arab world. She sponsored many of the national events specialized in the fields of special education. She organized a number of workshops for people with autism and people with schizophrenia. She got a large number of science courses and certificates and awards. She made numerous contributions in the fields of science and volunteering for more than two decades. She participated in a number of local, Arab and international conferences as well as in many areas of media whether radio, television, press or social networking. She represented Saudi Arabia in many scientific meetings in the field of special needs outside the Kingdom.
Head Committee of Health and Environmental Affairs, Member of Shura Council, Member of Human Rights Association, Head of Welfare Committee, Member of Board at Association of Disabled Children, Member of Board at Saudi Charity Association for Genetic Diseases.
He has developed an apparatus for separation of blood proteins and carried out research in Blood Genetic Disorders, where he discovered Hb Riyadh and Hb Helsinki . He Mapped the frequency and distribution of common Blood Genetic Disorders, Diabetes and Disability among Children in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Developed methods of prevention and care, including Pre-marital Screening and established Working Groups and Care Centres for Blood Genetic Disorders in Saudi Arabia and abroad.
Her background is in critical psychology and education and she has a track record of high quality disability research, theory making and practical and policy development in many regions of the world stretching over some 30 years. She has authored and edited 14 books as well as articles and chapters on different aspects of disability, diversity and inclusion. She is the mother of two teenagers with impairments who have consolidated her commitment to raising the voices of disabled people to build equality and promote human rights through her work and life.
Masters Degree from Oregon State University in the United States of American in 1987 AD.
Specialized in Education (Special Education). Certified Train-the-trainer (TOTs) entitled” Protection of the Arab Child from Abuse), Cairo, Egypt. Deputy Chairman of Charitable Association for The Blind in Riyadh. Educational Supervisor in the Visual Impairment Department at the Special Education Department in the Ministry of Education.
Dr. Margherita Di Paola is currently Assistant Professor at IRCCS Santa Lucia Foundation and Lecturer at LUMSA University in Rome. She is Principal Investigator for a Grant of the Italian Ministry of Health on Degenerative Disease and NeuroImaging.
NeuroImaging is indeed her field of Research, with many International publications on impacted peer-journals. She has a background as Neuropsychologist. She graduated in Psychology at University of Palermo, (Italy). She specialized in "Neuropsychology" at University of Rome “La Sapienza” (Italy). She obtained her PhD at Policlinico Agostino Gemelli Rome (Italy).
Marcelo Rivolta qualified in Medicine and Surgery in Argentina and did his fellowship and doctoral work at the NIDCD, NIH in the USA. He has held postdoctoral positions at the NIH and at the Universities of Bristol and Sheffield in the UK. He is now Professor of Sensory Stem Cell Biology at the University of Sheffield, where he leads a research group dedicated to study human auditory stem cells, trying to develop their therapeutic applications for the treatment of hearing loss.
For more than twenty years has explored the development and differentiation of the mammalian inner ear. In the late nineties did pioneering work regarding the isolation and immortalization of auditory progenitor cells from the mouse cochlea. During the past decade has focussed his efforts in developing a stem cell based therapy for sensorineural deafness. His laboratory identified and isolated a population of stem cells from the human foetal cochlea, a seminal work in human auditory stem cell research. This work paved the way to develop protocols to coerce human embryonic stem cells and bone marrow stem cells into auditory cell types. His lab was the first to generate a robust technique for otic progenitor induction from hESCs and to establish the proof of concept that otic progenitors derived from hESCs can be used to functionally repair the damaged cochlea. His program of research has been continuously supported by the MRC, the EU, charities like Action on Hearing Loss and industrial collaborations with Pfizer, Cochlear and Acousia.
Practicing expert and consultant for social responsibility and corporate governance, president and founder of Fatin al-Yafi office for consultancies. Fatin al-Yafi has more than 35 year experience in both public and private sectors, one of the few experts in the Arab world in the field of social responsibility and corporate governance, member in the regional working team related to the improvement of social responsibility in the middle east region which is an initiative taken by the Ministry of Investment in Egypt for providing foundation for the practices of the social responsibility to the companies in region.
Fatin al-Yafi entered the field work when she engaged the office of Executive General Manager of the administration of social responsibility and public relations in Safola group. She supervised all affairs of public relations program, communication, media and social programs related to the group.
Fatin al-Yafi has achieved the experience certificated in the field of social responsibility, sustainability and corporate governance from the Center of Sustainability and Excellence which is the leading international center in the field of developing programs for social responsibility and sustainability. She was also chosen as one of the best 100 business leaders who deserve the society's trust at the level of Europe and Middle East region for the year 2011 AD.
Appreciating her expertise and achievements, Fatin al-Yafi won the International Challenge for social responsibility and corporate governance, supervised by the Center for Sustainability and Excellence in San Francisco among the three winners only at the level of the Middle East and North Africa and originally among nine winners at the world level. She was also chosen and the exemplary mother at the occasion of Autism Day in Kuwait City at the level of Gulf Cooperative Council Countries in 2009.
Al-Yafi was chosen as member in the Advisory Committee of the Minister of Labor for the Affairs of the Disabled that aims to improve the plans and systems of integrating the disabled persons in the Saudi labor force. She was also chosen as founding member and practicing consultant for responsibility of networking between the business men and disabled persons in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia which is one of the initiatives of the Ministry of Labor. In addition of this, Fatin is considered an active member in various big scientific charity and social societies locally and in the Gulf. She participated in various local, Gulf and international conferences as an expert and practicing consultant for social responsibility. Al-Yafi was chosen as a representative for GAATES international organization for the comprehensive and easy reaching technique to the disabled persons. She is also a member in PEARL initiative for corporate governance and a member in the management of Board Directors Institute. GCC (in the Gulf Cooperative Council Countries).
Al-Yafi has executed training programs for specialists in social responsibility and corporate governance in a number of Gulf countries, guardians of autism patients and application of Guide and Colleague systems in the sector of employing autism patients locally and regionally.
Emeritus President, World Federation of the Deaf, 2003 President, World Federation of the Deaf, 1995-1999 and 1999-2003 General Secretary, World Federation of the Deaf, 1987-1995.