The CEO of AsIAm, Ireland’s National Autism Charity, Adam Harris will address the United Nations Observance of World Autism Day (2nd April) at an online event that will take place on 8th April 2021 at 10am. The event is the annual, formal recognition of the autistic community by the UN.
The Observance, which usually takes place in the UN Headquarters in New York, is set to be attended by in excess of 3, 000 participants from all around the world. The theme of this year’s observance is ““Inclusion in the Workplace: Challenges and Opportunities in a Post-Pandemic World.” The event comes just days after AsIAm launched a report on “Autism in the Workplace” in partnership with IrishJobs.ie.
Speaking ahead of the event, Mr Harris said “It is a major honour to be invited to participate in this event which is the central focus that the international community provides to the issue of autism each year. As an autistic man and advocate, it is a wonderful opportunity to set out what I believe must change in order for us to create workplaces that truly empower autistic people. 85% of autistic people in Ireland are presently under or unemployed, and this figure holds in many countries across the globe. This is a great injustice and loss of real talent and potential to global society and the economy. We believe we must push our understanding and inclusion of autistic people beyond the school gate and into wider society and I can’t think of a better platform to advance this goal than the United Nations.”
Adam will participate in the first panel discussion of the observance which will explore the ““Disparities and Discrimination Exposed by the Pandemic” in the context of the workplace. The panel will be chaired by Charlotte Valeur, Chair of the Board of Blackstone and one of the leading openly autistic business leaders globally.
“I am particularly excited to discuss the issue of autism employment in the context of the pandemic. COVID-19 has created unprecedented challenges for autistic people, problems which have long existed from social isolation to poverty, mental health to under investment have been seriously compounded. That said, we must be optimistic. All that we once took for granted about the workplace has been thrown into question from where we work, to what we wear and how we communicate. Many of these changes can be utilised to allow us to create workplaces which can affirm and celebrate autistic people and benefit from our skills and abilities.”
The event will be streamed live on UN TV at 10am EST.