In tribute to building legacy around Special Olympics World Games 2019, NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) hosted the People of Determination Support Training workshop, a new inclusion program which took place on April 5 and 6. The event was organized by NYUAD’s Office of Community Outreach in collaboration with Fatma Al Jassim, UAE youth delegate to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities for the United Nations (UN) and an advocate of people of determination.
The People of Determination Support Training workshop was offered to students passionate about supporting people of determination. The workshop was attended by over 25 participants in 2018-2019 this year, including Special Olympics volunteer ambassadors, students from NYUAD’s Public Health Think Tank conference, and students from other universities.
The People of Determination Support Training is designed to be holistic. It opens the doors for everyone in the community to not only understand the perspectives of people of determination, but also experience it starting from etiquette, to accessibility, reaching the global context and challenges in the disability sector.
The event developed the participants’ core practical skills through training about disability etiquette and accommodation for people with determination. It also offered participants an overview of disability insights and challenges in a global context, and provided them with insights on the development and application of disability policies.
Through the training, Fatma revolutionized my thinking by teaching me new modes of conceptualizing and understanding the experiences of people of determination. This opened my eyes to the many ways in which our environment is implicitly and explicitly ableist, broadening my perspective and allowing me to critically reflect on the nature of the world around me.
Another participant in the workshop Hafsa Ahmed, NYUAD Student Class of 2020, said: “It's easy to go by everyday life with minimal or very superficial and service-level engagements with people of determination in your community. Taking the workshop with Fatma and getting to know her wonderful personality not only allowed me to critically analyze the kinds of easily overlooked structural barriers faced by people of determination but also gave me the chance to make a new friend.”