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POLAND HONOURED WITH INTERNATIONAL DISABILITY AWARD AT UNITED NATIONS

Sep 18, 2006
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Mary Dolan
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Carolyn Myles
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POLAND HONOURED WITH INTERNATIONAL DISABILITY AWARD AT UNITED NATIONS

Poland President Lech Kaczyñski Accepts Award

New York, September 18, 2006 - The Republic of Poland today was honoured at the United Nations with the presentation of Franklin Delano Roosevelt International Disability Award, an honour bestowed on a country that has promoted and protected the rights of their disabled population. The award was presented to Poland’s President Lech Kaczyñski by Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, granddaughter of the late president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, at a ceremony held at the United Nations.

Poland has undergone dramatic political, social and economic changes in the past 17 years since the fall of the Iron Curtain. During this time, they have made phenomenal progress in disability inclusion. Their constitution, drawn in 1997, guarantees the full participation of people with disabilities in all facets of life, particularly in employment. This constitutional commitment has been translated into reality in the daily lives of people with disabilities.

The FDR Award consists of a bust of FDR, and a $50,000 cash prize which, this year, will be given to The Association for the Welfare of the Deaf and Blind, a Polish non-government organization that specializes in providing assistance to persons with hearing and vision impairments. Among the services are: rehabilitation and communication training; assistance with employment, purchase of rehabilitation aids, and organization of artistic workshops and events to help integrate deaf and blind persons into society.

“Poland is at the dawn of becoming an economic and social force in Eastern Europe. They are working diligently to ensure that their people with disabilities are included in the prosperity the country is now experiencing,” said The Hon. Michael R. Deland, chairman of the World Committee on Disability, a co-sponsor of the award.

The award was established in 1995 by the World Committee and the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute, and named after President Franklin Roosevelt who contracted polio at the age of 21, and was elected president of the United States four times.

Anna Roosevelt said, “My grandfather set an incredible example by showing a physical disability does not hinder the heights a person can achieve. I am sure my grandfather would be delighted to witness the accomplishments of the Republic of Poland in assisting their citizens with disabilities.”

Poland is the ninth UN member nation to be honored with this award. Previous winners include: Jordan, Italy, Ecuador, Thailand, Hungary, Ireland, Canada, and the Republic of Korea.

Ambassador William vanden Heuvel said, "We are delighted that Poland is receiving this distinguished Award and it is wonderful to see how the FDR International Disability Award has inspired governments to bring people with disabilities into the mainstream of life."

For more information on the award, visit www.worldcommitteeondisability.org or www.feri.org. Information on The Association for the Welfare of the Deaf and Blind may be accessed at www.tpg.org.pl (Polish only).

The Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute is a nonprofit organization headquartered at the FDR Presidential Library in Hyde Park, New York. Its mission is to inform new generations of the ideals and achievements of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, to inspire the application of their spirit of optimism and innovation to the solution of current problems and to provide financial and program support to the FDR Library.

The World Committee on Disability is the international arm of the National Organization on Disability, a U.S. non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C. N.O.D. founded the World Committee in 1985 to reinforce and strengthen the work of the United Nations in implementing worldwide the U.N. World Programme of Action Concerning Disabled Persons.

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