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Invited Faculty

Keynote Speaker

Ms. Venus M. Ilagan   
Position:Secretary General
Organization:Rehabilitation International, RI
Country:Philippines

VENUS M. ILAGAN from the Philippines, currently serves as Secretary General of

Rehabilitation International - the first person with a disability from a developing country to serve in that capacity since RI’s establishment in the United States in 1922. She was the first woman World Chairperson of Disabled People’s International, a global cross-disability organization with members in 143 countries. Prior to joining RI, Venus was the project manager of a national rehabilitation program that provided services to over 14,000 children and youth with disabilities in the Philippines. She has been a member of the Editorial Committee for the World Report in Disability – an initiative of the World Health Organization and the World Bank which established that there are one billion persons with disabilities worldwide. She also participated in the development of WHO’s Community-Based

Rehabilitation and Wheelchair Guidelines and was a member of a team which produced reports on disability for the Asian Development Bank and the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Venus actively took part as a member of Civil Society in the elaboration of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). She is an advocate for inclusive and accessible tourism at various levels. She chaired multiple times, Civil Society initiated events at the United Nations. She was moderator for the two-segment opening program for the December 3rd celebration of the 2017 International Day of Persons with Disabilities at the UN and similarly tasked to moderate the High-Level Panel on disability and development at the 56th Session of the UN Commission for Social Development held on January 31, 2018. Venus Ilagan is based at the RI Headquarters Office in New York, U.S.A.


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