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"My Research on Disability Studies"

NAGASE Osamu July 23, 2012

"My Research on Disability Studies"

In July I visited Myanmar (Burma) to learn about the development of self-advocacy group of persons with intellectual disabilities. My previous visit there was three years ago and things are so different now. For instance, the office room of self-advocates is full of photos of Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been elected a member of parliament.This would not have been possible.

The name of the group is Unity, which was formed in 2010. This is the second group within the Mekong-river countries after Daoru Ang in Thailand, which was formed in 2009. They have been born with the support of Asia Pacific Development Center (APCD) in Bangkok, Thailand. As a council member of Inclusion International, which is a family-based-organization of persons with intellectual disabilities and their family members, it has been my great privilege to work with APCD to promote self-advocacy in this part of the world, which is undergoing a rapid change. The challenges are enormous but there are encouraging signs as well.

One challenge of disability studies has been the issue of intellectual disability. The application of the social model to intellectual disability has been sometimes problematic, to say the least. The motto of gnothing about us without ush does not seem to apply to some persons with intellectual disabilities. Working on issues like this, through combing research and advocacy, such as through Inclusion International, Japan International Cooperation Agency as well as the Committee for Disability Policy Reform of the Cabinet Office (machinery for the harmonization with the CRPD), has been very interesting and exciting. The work with Unity in Myanmar is such an example. Meeting self-advocates and their family members was another learning opportunity.

I look forward to continuing the combination of research and advocacy in the field of disability studies, particularly from the perspective of the international implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

Special Visiting Professor, Research Center for Ars Vivendi, Ritsumeikan University
Overseas Editor, Disability & Society
Distinguished Fellow, Review of Disability Studies
Editor, International Journal on Developmental Disabilities
Member, International Committee, Japan Disability Forum
Member, Advisory Committee on Disability, Japan International Cooperation Agency

UPFJuly 26, 2012@REV: July 30, 2012

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