The Pacific Rim International Forum on the Human Rights of People with Disabilities


Pre/Post Conference Events
International Forum
Saturday, April 23, 2016

Start Time: 

8:00 AM

End Time: 

5:00 PM
Hilton Hawaiian village, TAPA TOWER, Honolulu ROOM 1,2,3, SECOND FLOOR

Registration Fee: 


Beyond Ratification The 2016 Forum seeks to engage participants in a meaningful discussion on key areas that support and facilitate the realization of fundamental human rights for the hundreds of millions of persons with disabilities.

What meaningful changes have occurred in the last eight years since the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities went into force? How have individuals, communities and nations benefitted from the Convention? What reforms are needed? How can we use the media more effectively? How can we be more broad based so that we can achieve a tipping point, a surge in positive human rights action? Critically self-reflective and ambitious in its vision, the Forum will give a nod to the past but focus on how we, as change-makers, can push the envelope forward to ensure full inclusion and equality for our brothers and sisters in the world.

We will look at the ways in which we can ‘think out of the box’ as it relates to human rights approaches to righting the wrongs in the world. We want to find new ways to collaborate and operationalize human rights. It should be an ethical and moral imperative for all of to eliminate poverty once and for all. But it does not seem to be that way as the data reflects this: there is more economic inequality, no less realizing the promise of rights enumerated in the CRPD requires action—individual and collective human action. Political will and the commitment of state actors, local government, and civil society, including grass roots and local communities can push us to achieve the goals set forth in both the CRPD and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Advocacy is a key to bridging vision to action.

What models are working to ensure social benefits and human rights are upheld for our community members? How are advocates most effective in these models? With digital technology local communities can garner support of the international community- what roles do individuals, non-governmental organizations and leaders play in ensuring that human rights are upheld. Let’s build upon the successful actions taken to date and ask if they can be enhanced or adapted. Significant progress has been made in the last decade but some initiatives failed, for the most part, in reaching the most marginalized. The forum will bring in some of the most enlightened thinkers and doers in the field of human rights including Yasmine Sherif, UN diplomat and reformer. We hope you can attend. It is a wonderful way to kick off the PACRIM 2016 Conference week.

Forum Agenda

Download the Forum Agenda

Forum Leaders

Laura Blum

Photo: Laura Blum
Laura Blum is a curator, journalist and producer based in Manhattan. Laura has curated numerous film series, including a critically acclaimed Czech film retrospective at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. She covers movies and art for the Grumbacher arts site and writes a film blog at

Charmaine Crockett

Photo: Charmaine Crockett
Charmaine Crockett is Special Projects Coordinator at the Center of Disability Studies where she Co-Chairs the Pacific Rim International Conference on Disabilities, manages a conference training outreach unit at the Center and drums up good local and global ideas for outreach and community participation. Previously, she worked in the area of human rights where she conducted human rights education trainings and enhanced the capacity of organizations in developing countries.

Ruby Dhand

Phott: Ruby Dhand
Ruby Dhand is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Law at Thompson Rivers University. She has an undergraduate degree from the University of Western Ontario, an M.A. from Carleton University, an LL.B. from the University of Ottawa, an LL.M. from University of Toronto, and is nearing completion of her Ph.D. at Osgoode Hall Law School. Ruby has been awarded the CIHR Fellowship and the SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship.

Setareki Macanawai

Photo: Setareki Macanawai
Setareki Macanawai is one of the pioneers of the disability movement in the Pacific and one of the DPO leaders who established the Pacific Disability Forum. He was our 1st staff member in 2006 charged with the responsibility of setting up the PDF Secretariat in Suva, Fiji in January 2007. He has lead the PDF team, and fostered the disability movement across the Pacific since then. Setareki was recognised for his contributions by the UN in 2012 with an Asia-Pacific Disability Rights Champions Award.

Yasmine Maria Sherif

Photo: Yasmine Maria Sherif
Yasmine Maria Sherif was born in Stockholm in 1964 to a Swedish mother and Egyptian father. She graduated from Stockholm University in 1987 with a Master of Laws, specialized in international humanitarian law and international human rights law.

Risnawati Utami

Photo: Risnawati Utami
Risnawati Utami is a gender and disability rights activist since 1999. Graduated from the Faculty of Law, University of March, Solo, Central Java, Indonesia. She has been active in various activities related to disability issues, human rights, policy advocacy and development in Indonesia and international level. In 2006, she was awarded a Ford Foundation International Fellowship Program to accomplish Master Degree in International Health Policy and Management at Brandeis University, Massachusetts, USA.

Cyndi Rowland

Photo: Cyndi Rowland
Dr. Cyndi Rowland is the Associate Director at the Center for Persons Disabilities (CPD) housed at Utah State University. The CPD has a special distinction as one of only 68 University Centers of Excellence in Disability Research, Service, and Education across the U.S.A. The CPD is nationally known for its work on the accessibility of both the built environment and Information and Communications Technology (ICT).

Alex Ghenis

Photo: Alex Ghenis
Alex Ghenis is a Policy and Research Specialist at the World Institute on Disability (WID). He is currently managing the New Earth Disability project, which addresses how climate change will affect people with disabilities and which actions can protect our well-being. The project has compiled over twenty resources, and features research and policy recommendations on heatwaves, climate-related migration, and more.

Jane Flanagan

Photo: Jane Flanagan
Jane Flanagan is the Senior Research & Policy Officer at the National Ethnic Disability Alliance (NEDA). NEDA, a Disabled People’s Organisation (DPO), is a member of the Australian Cross-Disability Alliance (ACDA) and is the national peak that advocates at a federal level for people living with disability, their families and carers, from culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) and non-English speaking backgrounds (NESB).

Kozue Kay Nagata

Photo: Kozue Kay Nagata
Kozue Kay Nagata, Ph.D is a Professor (Faculty of International Cooperation) at Nagoya-Gakuin University in Nagoya Japan. Dr. Nagata is a 30-year United Nations service veteran, and during her tenure with the UN family, she had been extensively involved in “disability inclusive development cooperation”. During her tenure with the United Nations ESCAP in Bangkok, she had contributed, together with various stakeholders in the region, to drafting the Bangkok Draft of CRPD, which became later on the base of CRPD.

Lester T. Ferguson

Photo: Lester T. Ferguson
Lester T. Ferguson heads the Secretariat of the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities, a government unit tasked with implementing The Bahamas' disability legislation - The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities) Act, 2014. As the chief administrative officer, Lester helps ensure that the Secretariat effectively administers the affairs of the Commission as well as provides the technical functions the Commission needs to carry out is mandate.

Rebecca Rude Ozaki

Photo: Rebecca Rude Ozaki
Rebecca Rude Ozaki, Ph.D., Associate Professor at the University of Hawaii – Center on Disability Studies (CDS) has more than 35 years of experience in the area of disability, federal and state grants and contracts, program design and implementation, strategic planning, management, and systems change initiatives. Formally, president of Winners at Work an award winning non-profit providing employment services to individuals with disabilities; Dr Ozaki has been with CDS since 2002.

Robert Stodden

Photo: Robert Stodden
Dr. Robert A. Stodden is a past president of the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) board of directors. Professionally trained in Psychology, Special Education, and Rehabilitation, he has served more than twenty-five years as an international and national leader in the fields of special education, school to adult community living and transition, postsecondary education, and employment for persons with disabilities.

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