Professor of special education visits center for special needs children in Qatar
Hank Bersani, professor of special education recently returned from a visit to Doha, Qatar where he was invited to tour the Shafallah Center for Children with Special Needs, and to participate in an international forum on disability issues.
The Shafallah Center was established at the behest of the First Lady; Her Highness Skiekah Moza bint Nasser, wife of His Highness the Emir of Qatar, to meet the demands of the Qatari society to establish a center that provides comprehensive services to children with disabilities.
Periodically the first lady sponsors international forums on important issues relating to disability. This year Bersani was invited to participate in the Fifth International Forum titled “Crisis, Conflict and Disability: Ensuring Equality.” Under the patronage of Her Highness, nearly 300 leaders in disability issues are invited from across the globe. This year, Bersani was one of the invited experts from over 30 nations who were hosted for the three days of meetings, as well as a day of cultural experiences in Doha. Invitees also included several other current and past first ladies, including the former first lady of the United Kingdom, Cherie Blair; Dr. Ernestina Naadu Mills, first lady of Ghana, and the first ladies of Shri Lanka, Namibia, and Macedonia.
Sessions at the forum reviewed the United Nations Charter on the Rights of People with Disabilities, and the issues facing people with disabilities in Iraq, Afghanistan and Haiti. Much of the forum was directly relevant to the work Bersani is doing in Vietnam with the Forgotten People Foundation.
The city of Doha and the nation of Qatar have been in the news quite a bit recently, including a recent segment on 60 Minutes. Doha is the home of Al Jazeera Radio, and has recently agreed to be the host for the political headquarters of the Taliban. This was Bersani’s second trip to Doha. Previously he was invited to the Third International Forum on Sport and Disability.