02.12.2009 -

The UNESCO/Emir of Kuwait Prize rewards two champions of special needs education

UNESCO/Olav A. Saltbones

Two women who have devoted their lives to working in education for the disabled are to be awarded the UNESCO/Emir Jaber al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah Prize to Promote Quality Education for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities in Kuwait on December 8, 2009.

Two women who have devoted their lives to working in education for the disabled are to be awarded the UNESCO/Emir Jaber al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah Prize to Promote Quality Education for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities in Kuwait on December 8, 2009. 

The UNESCO/Emir of Kuwait Prize was created in 2002 through the generosity of the government of Kuwait. Every two years it rewards one person or institution from the Arab States and another from a different part of the world for their outstanding activities in fields relating to education for the intellectually disabled. The award consists of a sum of USD 40,000 equally divided between the two prize winners and certificates.  

Judith McKenzie from South Africa is a speech and hearing therapist who has worked in the disability field since 1980 addressing issues such as exclusion and poverty.  

In 1993 while working as a researcher in early childhood development involving the inclusion of disabled children, she gave birth to her youngest child who has Down syndrome which redoubled her efforts in this field. As a fellow of the Kellogg International Leadership Programme, she has visited inclusive education programmes for intellectually disabled children worldwide and influenced early policy debates on inclusive education in South Africa’s transition to democracy.  

From 1995 to 2008 she lived in East London in the Eastern Cape where she helped found the Down Syndrome Association. From January she will be employed as a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Stellenbosch examining sexuality education, reproductive health and HIV/AIDS amongst persons with intellectual disabilities. Her son is due to start at a school selected for its inclusive ethos in Cape Town next year. 

Hatoum from Lebanon has worked for over 35 years in the field of disabilities as a teacher and consultant with expertise in the areas of assessment, curriculum development, positive behavioural support, inclusive education, teacher training, and research. 

She has taught students with disabilities in schools and institutions for 10 years (Lebanon, UK, and USA).

As a Programme Specialist at the Florida Department of Education, Bureau of Education for Exceptional Students, she has developed programmes for students with severe or profound disabilities and for those who are homebound or hospitalized due to acute or chronic illnesses.

In addition, she has taught university courses in special education and designed and implemented training programmes to prepare teachers to include students with disabilities in their classrooms.

 

Related Links

Award ceremony programme

Interview with Judith Mckenzie | Biography

Biography of Rima Hatoum

UNESCO Inclusive Education website




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