Autism and Down syndrome know no borders: mothers, families and professionals laying the foundation for protection and fulfillment

On Friday, March 17, 2023 at 1:15 - 2:30 PM

Friday, March 17
1:15 – 2:30 PM
UN Headquarters Conference Room 2

Event pass required to attend without UN credential. RSVP to by March 13, 2023. Event passes will be distributed one hour before the event outside the UN entrance at 45th and 1st Avenue. Passes are not transferable. 


To commemorate the 18th anniversary of World Down Syndrome Day – WDSD 2023

This side event will bring together Down syndrome and Autism advocates and experts to discuss the challenges women and families face raising children with development disabilities. It will address concrete cultural, legal, and policy changes that can help families welcome and care for children with Down syndrome and Autism including with their transition from youth into adulthood.



Welcome: Lisa Correnti, Executive Vice President, C-Fam

Opening Keynote:

Marie Catherine Ondoua Abena, Minister of Women’s Empowerment and the Family of the Republic of Cameroon


Video Address:

The Honorable Steve Daines, Member of U.S. Senate, Sponsor of legislation to protect babies with Down syndrome, “The Protecting Individuals with Down Syndrome Act”

Confirmed Panelists:

“Trisomy Triathlete,” Eighteen-year old Gabriel Cobb who has Down syndrome shares his passion for life and competing in triathalons

“My name is Everett and I am Autistic,” Seven-year old Everett McKiernan and his mom Emily share how early development intervention and inclusive education have helped him thrive

“Embrace – Don’t Erase Down Syndrome,” Kurt Kondrich and his nineteen-year old daughter Chloe, discuss how he became a Dad-vocate and their work in passing legislation in Pennsylvania (Chloe’s Law) to assist parents that receive a pre-natal diagnosis of Down syndrome which is now being replicated across the United States

Promoting the dignity and value of people with disabilities in Uganda, Clare Byrne, Founder and Director, Imprint Hope

Positive strides and challenges in making Sierra Leone a disable – friendly country, Ms Sia Fasuluku, Dir. Research, Planning and Development, Min. of Technical and Higher Education (MTHE), Government of Sierra Leone

The importance of research to improve the lives of those with Autism and Down syndrome, Michelle Sie Whitten, President, Global Down Syndrome Foundation

Video: Frank Stephens Congressional Testimony

Frank Stephens Video Address to the UN



“A testimony of living with Autism or Down Syndrome in Cameroon: As if the Damn of the Earth, left further behind, being cursed and helpless”, Mrs. Helene MINKOULOU, Parent and President of ASEVIMAR, Association for the Supervision of Child Victims of Rare Diseases

“Looking ahead: Support, education, and socio-professional integration of people with autism and Down Syndrome in a developing country: challenges and prospects”, Zaboya Dama Adele Judith Epse Makomra, Msc Biology, Environment and Sanitation, Promoter in the implementation of a day-care and socio-professional training center for Autistic and people with Down Syndrome in Yaoundé

Combatting prejudices and stereotypes against Down Syndrome and Autism: together, let’s raise awareness to ensure the social inclusion of autistic and People with trisomy, Yves Akamba, Vice President of the Center for Applied Research on Sustainable Development, and artist musician advocacy for social inclusion, and Pascaline Ngono Etoundi, Member of GIC Oyili in favor of socioprofesional integration of people with disabilities in the agriculture sector.


Closing Remarks by Permanent Representative of the Mission of Cameroon to the UN


Sponsoring Member State: Permanent Mission of Cameroon to the United Nation

Sponsoring Organization: Center for Family and Human Rights (C-Fam)