A Welcome From Jordie: Retired Guide Dog Of Australia’s Human Rights and Disability Discrimination Commissioner

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Vision Rehabilitation International

Guide Dogs NSW/ACT

Subject: Health Care Sciences & Services, Medicine, Rehabilitation

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VOLUME 1 , ISSUE 1 (April 2008) > List of articles

A Welcome From Jordie: Retired Guide Dog Of Australia’s Human Rights and Disability Discrimination Commissioner

Citation Information : International Journal of Orientation & Mobility. Volume 1, Issue 1, Pages 5-5, DOI: https://doi.org/10.21307/ijom-2008-015

License : (CC-BY-NC-ND-4.0)

Published Online: 14-May-2018

ARTICLE

ABSTRACT

Welcome to this the first volume of the International Journal of Orientation & Mobility (IJOM). This journal is about your professional development, and I’m sure that all of you, who place great importance on honing and renewing your professional skills, will value it. I share that view, but thought that I should open the journal from a different perspective. The perspective of what your professional development, and for that matter your career, is all about.

During the last six years or so I sat patiently through all eight negotiating sessions at the United Nations in New York. These led to the development of the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. I endured the long plane flights, the tedium and indignities of US airport security in a post 9-11 world, and the traffic in New York being on the “wrong” side of the road. I tolerated the changes in diet and environment, and learned to negotiate my way around what is arguably the busiest city on the planet, or at least, in Sinatra’s words, “the city that never sleeps”.

The debates over the 50 articles of the Convention were lengthy and arduous, however, for the 650 million people with disabilities in the world, they were very important. The Convention’s founding stones are independence and equality, in which the impact of disability is minimised, and inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of mainstream society is the outcome for which we all aim.

However, having such a Convention is of little value if it is not put into practical effect. And, for people who are blind or have low vision, such independence cannot be achieved without the gaining and maintenance of orientation and mobility skills. This, in turn, is not achieved without the development, by you, of your professional skills, and by your ongoing support. So, as you read and appreciate the articles in this new journal, remember that the development of your professional skills has a much broader purpose: greater independence and inclusion for your clients.

Some of you provided me with my initial training, and others refreshed it over the years. As I lay beneath the desk of the Australian delegation at the UN while that Convention was negotiated, in the quieter moments of the debate, I thought that we wouldn’t have had quite the same input from Australia if your training hadn’t assisted me to get myself and my owner safely to and from those negotiations.

So thank you, enjoy and benefit from the content of this journal, and continue to facilitate that independence and inclusion.

Jordie (Retired Guide Dog)/of Graeme Innes AM

Human Rights Commissioner and Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Sydney, Australia.

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