Qatar's Minister of Transport, Communications Stresses Commitment to Integrated Digital Community in Qatar

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Doha, April 23 (QNA) - HE Minister of Transport and Communications Jassim bin Saif Al Sulaiti stressed the ministry's commitment to create an integrated digital community in the State of Qatar where all individuals have equal access to technology by providing as many opportunities as possible to enhance the readiness of the digital community to participate in building a knowledge-based economy.
HE the minister made the remarks in a speech delivered on his behalf by Reem Al Mansoori, the ministry's assistant undersecretary of digital society development, at the opening of the second edition of the Educational Conference of Assistive Technology for the Gulf Region 2018 (GREAT 2018), which is organized by Qatar Assistive Technology Center (MADA).
HE Al Sulaiti stressed the importance of investing information and communication technology (ICT) in launching the potential of people with disabilities and helping them to achieve independence and self-reliance, adding that, in this context, several strategies and plans have been developed to support people with disabilities, including the launch of the Digital Inclusion Strategy and the establishment of Mada, which is working hard to help them achieve their goals and to be able to live independently and have equal opportunities in education, work and independent living.
HE the minister pointed out that these efforts placed the State of Qatar at the same level as developed countries in the field of taking care of people with disabilities. He noted that this conference provides a valuable opportunity for the exchange of knowledge and experience and present the latest developments, best practices and ICT innovations and technology assistance in the areas of access and education so as to integrate and empower people with disabilities.
This technology provides better access to information and educational curricula, which allows equal educational opportunities for people with disabilities and others, opens up closed doors and breaks barriers to their aspirations for a future and a better life, HE the minister said.
HE Al Sulaiti stressed that the Qatari constitution stipulates that all citizens are equal in rights and duties, and that education is the right of every citizen without exception. The constitution also guarantees the protection of the rights of people with disabilities from all forms of discrimination so that they have opportunities to develop their abilities and involve them in the development of society.
The State of Qatar was one of the first countries to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2008, he said, adding the country has taken a number of actions and measures in its ongoing efforts to promote and protect the rights of persons with disabilities, their full integration into society and their involvement in the development process.
HE the minister added that these efforts were an affirmation of the State of Qatar's respect for its international obligations and come in implementation of the directives of HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani and the embodiment of Qatar National Vision 2030, which stipulates equality and justice for all segments society.
Mada Chief Executive Maha Al Mansouri said that attention to the support, integration and care for persons with disabilities is a fundamental requirement of international and domestic charters in order to optimize their knowledge and social potential, especially that their number is estimated to be one billion, which makes up 15 percent of the world population.
Al Mansouri stressed that the State of Qatar pays special attention to the rights of people with disabilities and providing them with all services that guarantee them a dignified life. It also believes in the importance of technology to help empower them and build their capacities to achieve Qatar's national vision of human development, she added.
Mada chief executive stated that due to the rapid and progressive developments in technology and ICT, and also because learning about the latest trends and best practices are critical to service delivery and achieving integration and access, Mada is hosting the conference in the hope of developing these services, disseminating knowledge and raising awareness of the impact of technology on the lives of persons with disabilities.
She highlighted Mada's important role in discussing the latest technological and educational innovations and orientations with a view to educating and familiarizing specialists from different fields with the technology and its uses as well as the latest developments in the field of digital and physical access.
In conclusion of her speech, Al Mansouri expressed hope that the conference would achieve its objectives and provide an interactive environment in a scientific atmosphere in which all participants would share experiences and learn about the latest developments in the field of technology assistance.
This year's edition of GREAT conference and the accompanying exhibition focus on four main axes related to technology assistance support for the integration of persons with disabilities, namely: education, independent living, e-accessibility and innovation. Another axis is dedicated to autism disorder in cooperation with Qatar Center for Autism and Special Needs, with the three-day conference offering a chance to share information, experiences and opinions across its multiple platforms, and learn about the new trends in the field of tech-aid.
The activities of the first day included a range of interactive zones, including Mada zone, auxiliary technology zone and a specialized assistive technology exhibition in which global companies offer their latest technology products and research. A special innovation theatre was set up in which experts, inventors and pioneers presented a number of workshops on the latest applications, programs and devices that have been successful in the field of technology assistance.
Meanwhile, Innovation Fair presents the most important and cutting-edge local and regional technological innovations with diverse uses, particularly since innovation is one of Mada priorities considering its position as the region's center of excellence in the field of auxiliary technology in the Arabic language.
Around 55 experts and specialists from different parts of the world are taking part in GREAT 2018 through 64 workshops and discussion sessions on the role, uses and latest trends and developments of technology in the fields of education, digital access and independent living without neglecting to bring the global best practices to the table.
The conference concludes with a wrap-up ceremony that includes honoring 67 graduates from a range programs to train advanced users in auxiliary technology, besides announcing the winners of Mada's digital accessibility award. (QNA)