On 3 February 2015, Disabled People’s Association (DPA) attended a conference on Education for Inclusive Workspaces held at the Singapore Management University (SMU). The GLUE conference was jointed organised by SPD and SMU’s Diversity and Inclusion team.
The conference commenced with an opening address and welcome speeches from the President of SMU, Mr Arnoud De Meyer, the President of SPD, Ms Chia Yong Yong, and the Minister of State, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Communications and Information, Ms Sim Ann. The Associate Director at University of Arizona’s Disability Resource Centre, Dr Amanda Kraus, then shared her knowledge on the issues facing persons with disabilities.
Following that, four distinguished speakers – Dr Wong Meng Ee, an Assistant Professor at National Institute of Education, Ms Angela Chung, a Senior Social Worker at SPD, Mr Jeffery Goh, an SMU Alumnus, and Mr Albert Lee, a Senior Lecturer at Dyslexia Association of Singapore – explored key questions surrounding inclusion and disability within the education system.
At the second panel session, three international business representatives – Mr Rajan Raju, the Head of Retail Clients Singapore at Standard Chartered Bank (Singapore), Ms Anika Grant, APAC and ASEAN Human Resources Director, Accenture, and Ms Charlotte Park, CEO at Mercer Singapore – addressed the issue of workplace biases and also highlighted the benefits of inclusive workplaces.
On the following day, 4 February 2015, Dr Amanda Kraus and Dr Marissa Medjeral-Mills co-presented a workshop, ‘Framing Disability: From Words to Action’ at SMU. This three hour workshop was designed to build on what was discussed at the first day of the conference and explore contemporary portrayals of disability in universities, at work and in society. Dr Kraus led participants in a discussion about the medical, charity and social models of disability and Dr Medjeral-Mills spoke about how those models of disability have informed disability policy in Singapore.
The workshop was an interactive forum in which participants were encouraged to reflect on their personal experiences of disability and how they perceive and speak about disability. Participants were also asked to look at practices and policies within their institutions or organisations and how they can be made more inclusive by incorporating the social model of disability.
Overall DPA was delighted to be part of this interactive conference and was glad to see a diverse mix of individuals from different sectors, backgrounds and professions coming together to discuss pertinent issues affecting persons with disabilities.
DPA congratulates SMU and SPD for a job well-done, and hopes to see more dialogue on disability issues so that disability activists have an avenue to discuss and share experiences. This will bring us closer to our goal of making Singapore a more inclusive society.